IPL Hair Removal: Compare IPL and Laser Hair Removal

Why we use Medical Grade Lasers for hair removal

Quick facts of IPL Vs Laser Hair Removal

  • IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. We do not use IPL for hair removal at Victorian Cosmetic Institute. We only use lasers. For more information about Laser hair removal, please click here.
  • The terms ‘IPL’ and ‘laser’ are often mistakenly used interchangeably
  • IPL produces a broad bandwith of light wavelengths, whereas laser produces a single band of light.
  • Laser is more specific to a given target than IPL, and therefore is more effective than IPL and has fewer side effects and complications.
  • Different lasers can be used for different skin types in laser hair removal.
  • Often IPL machines are purchased by clinics, as they are significantly cheaper than purchasing a series of lasers

What is IPL and how is it used for hair removal?

IPL is an acronym for Intense Pulsed Light. It is a machine that is commonly used for long term hair removal, and skin rejuvenation.   Often IPL is mistaken as being a type of laser, however, IPL and laser are actually very different technologiesAt Victorian Cosmetic Institute, we do not use or own IPL machines, but instead we use a series of lasers.

For more information on laser hair removal, click here.

Different wavelengths of light are preferentially attracted to different structures in the skin. In regards to hair removal by laser or IPL, when the correct wavelengths are used, the light energy is taken up by the hair follicle and converted to heat energy,  and minimal energy is transferred to the skin. This preferentially heats the hair and its DNA, and reduces the chance of hair regrowth in the future.

What is the difference between IPL and laser?

IPL uses a flashlamp (an extremely bright light source) that is fired through a series of light filters to produce a band of light wavelengths.

Each laser however, produces only a very specific single wavelength of light rather than a band of wavelengths. Unlike IPL, as each laser produces only one wavelength, multiple lasers are required for the treatment of different skin problems. For example, a specific laser may be used for the treatment of hair, pigment, capillaries, tattoos etc. Each laser is much more specific in the treatment of a particular skin problem than IPL.  IPL may therefore be more likely than laser to affect normal skin as well as the intended target and lead to skin damage and complications.

So why do some clinics have IPL rather than laser? One of the main reasons for this is to save on costs. A single IPL machine can treat a number of skin conditions, including excess hair, pigmentation, and capillaries, but does not treat them as well as a dedicated laser for the job.  Multiple lasers tend to cost a lot more than a single IPL machine. Having a single IPL machine is like having one pair of shoes for every situation. It will get you by, but sometimes, different shoes are more suited to different situations.


We use the latest lasers for hair removal including the Apogee Elite laser.  This enables us to safely and effectively treat hair on all skin types.

Our side effect/complication rates are very low due to the fact that we only use laser, and that all treatments are supervised by our doctors.

Dr. Gavin Chan
Dr. Gavin Chan

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