IPL vs laser hair removal explained

IPL vs laser hair removal explained

Understanding the difference between IPL and laser treatment

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a type of light treatment that works by stimulating various areas of concern to treat an issue. One advantage of IPL claimed by some salons over other hair removal techniques like waxing or plucking, is that the treatment destroys living hair follicles to prevent the hair from growing back.

However, it is neither safe nor effective option in hair removal. Do your research and don’t get tempted by cheap "laser" hair removal from therapists who don’t even use lasers.

Both laser hair removal and IPL treatment have been available commercially since the mid 90’s, yet they are distinctly different. The issue here is that many clinics that claim to provide Lasers, when in fact they only use IPL.

So what is the difference?

When it comes to laser hair removal, IPL is not an option! IPL is not a laser, it uses an Intense Pulsed Light and is a great solution in treating many skin concerns such as thread veins, rosacea and pigmentation. But, when it comes to the most effective and long term hair removal – lasers are the preferred option.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion and many customers get attracted by cheaper IPL hair removal prices. Do your research and don’t waste your money!

What is laser hair removal and how does it work?

Lasers work by emitting a specific wavelength of light to target the hair follicle at the root. Most clients obtain significant results within three to eight treatments.

The pulses of highly concentrated light are emitted from the laser into the hair follicles and the pigment in the follicles absorbs the light, therefore, destroying the hair. 

Lasers are far more precise and can selectively target dark, coarse hair which can be problematic during other methods of removal. 

Discover everything you need to know about laser hair treatment here.

How does IPL hair removal work?

IPL uses a source of broad-spectrum, visible light. This light is specially controlled to remove shorter wavelengths and devised to target the melanin pigment in the hairs.

There are many therapists claiming that IPL uses scattered light approach which treats larger area compared to lasers, therefore sessions are much quicker. But it is important to note that even though IPL is quicker and cheaper, it is not as effective, therefore you will need more sessions.

IPL has the advantages in skin rejuvenation. It can directly target pigment and vascular skin concerns, while also giving the benefits of strengthening the skin and stimulating fibroblast activity and reducing inflammation.

What kind of equipment does The Skin Lab use?

At The Skin Lab, our experienced therapists use the medical grade Cynosure to efficiently remove unwanted hair from all skin types.

We do not use it’s inferior IPL, as results aren’t long lasting and the hair would return much quicker. It is unethical to sell IPL as laser hair removal, sadly some clinics do.

Always do research when getting any type of laser treatments.

The ultimate laser hair removal checklist


  • Make sure you shave 12-24 hours prior to your appointment
  • Complete at least 6 treatments one month apart to ensure you get the most out of your laser hair removal – hair goes through a resting, falling out and a growth phase, meaning not all of the hair will respond to the pulses
  • Use SPF 30+ moisturiser daily on treated areas that are exposed to sunlight. This helps prevent hyperpigmentation (skin discolouration) and skin sensitivity.



  • Remove hair from the roots – you should avoid waxing between treatments as the roots of your hair need to be present for the treatment to be successful. Shaving, trimming, or depilatory creams may be used between treatments. If you do decide to wax you’ll need to wait 4-6 weeks before you have another treatment.
  • Expose the treated area to direct sun for a minimum of two weeks before and after your laser hair removal treatment. This also applies to spray tan applications and solariums


Is laser hair removal permanent?

Laser hair removal is the perfect alternative to shaving or tweezing, as the latter forms of hair removal can be tedious and time consuming. However, though laser hair removal treatment will effectively remove unwanted hairs, regrowth is inevitable. 

Typically, an individual may expect regrowth around 6-8 weeks post treatment which for most, is much longer after shaving or tweezing. When the hairs do grow back, they'll be lighter, fairer and there won't be as much of them. 

If you want to know more about this treatment, or any of the procedures we offer at The Skin Lab, book a skin consulation today.