Laser V IPL
When it comes to unwanted hair, stop that private plucking and consider a more permanent choice. Trudi Brewer spoke to Nicky Shore owner of OFF Wax & Laser bars about the confusion that surrounds laser and IPL.
What is the difference between laser and IPL?
IPL, (or and anything with an ‘L’ after it e.g. VPL, BBL, SPL, EPL) are pulsed light devices, not a laser. In IPL (intense pulsed light) the treated area is blasted with light from a broad spectrum - some of which transfers heat, which affects hair growth. In comparison, in laser, the energy is concentrated through just one wavelength that specifically targets hair follicles. Only laser light enters the skin and can target hair. One of my biggest frustrations and concerns is the misunderstanding that they are the same thing, and often IPL is passed off as a laser.
What areas of the body are best treated with Laser V IPL?
I can say hand on my heart; a laser is far superior. IPL is not specifically designed to target the base of the hair follicle to in turn disable it from growing back. However the cost of IPL equipment is a lot cheaper, and IPL is an 'all-in-one' machine that can perform more than just one type of treatment, so 'generalist beauty salons' employ them to be a ‘jack of all trades’. If you want laser hair removal, the clinic should be using either: Alexandrite, Diode or Nd:Yag lasers.
Compare the pain of both?
IPL has to generate a lot more heat across a broader area, and hence a lot of people describe the pain much like snapping an elastic band against the skin. I can confidently say that it is far less painful than waxing or IPL. The laser, we use, Candela’s Dynamic Cooling Device™ sprays cryogen gas into the skin pre-treatment, and has a cooling device, so you don’t have to feel the heat as much. Our clients describe it as a ‘sensation’ rather than pain.
Compare the downtime of both?
Redness (erythema) and slight swelling (edema) is very normal after a laser session and usually, resolves after a day or two. With IPL due to the heat generation being more superficial and higher, this can increase the risk of burning and pigmentation. The key with both is not generating more heat in the area treated, so avoid exposure to sun.
What results can you expect from Laser v IPL?
On average you need 15 plus sessions with IPL, whereas a standard laser course is six to eight treatments for results. It is also generally safer than IPL for hair removal, especially in regards to skin damage and pigmentation.
Finally, what can you expect to pay?
When it come to permanent hair removal, you do get what you pay for. People get mislead and very frustrated in both time and money when they have to invest in IPL for results or lack thereof. IPL may come across cheaper, but to get results, it is more expensive due to the ‘hit and miss’ element of its effectiveness. However pricing does vary from place to place, and this reflects the quality, technology, skill, and education.
OFF pricing vairies from $99 for underarms and $60 for upper lip per session. A consultation is essential before commencing treatment.