Laser vs IPL Hair Removal

Hair removal with lasers and IPL(intense pulsed light) devices is commonly performed in most dermatology practices. However, there have been few clinical studies directly comparing the efficiency of lasers and IPL devices in the same individual until recently.

IPL Hair Removal

A recent clinical study shows that although hair removal with lasers is highly effective as expected, treatment with IPL can cause less pain while showing efficacy equivalent to laser hair removals. This study was done by Dr. Snehal P. Amin & Dr. David J. Goldberg, skin laser and surgery specialists of NY & NJ, and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

In their study, Dr. Snehal P. Amin and Dr. David J. Goldberg evaluated the efficacy of four highly popular systems for laser hair removal. Ten subjects with skin types I–III, aged 18–55 years underwent treatments of unwanted hair removal on the back or thigh. All subjects were treated twice with:

  • an ipl with a red filter;
  • an ipl with a yellow filter;
  • a 810 nm diode laser;
  • a 755 nm alexandrite laser.

Evaluation of photographs at 1, 3, and 6 months revealed a significant decrease in hair counts (50%) and hair coverage (55%). There was no statistical difference in efficacy between the four different light devices. Minimal temporary adverse effects were noted from all systems, and the alexandrite laser showed the highest pain scores. The original article about this study was published at Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2006; 8: 65–68.

Another study (Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 2004; 150.) also found that the effects of diode laser and IPL exposures on hair follicles are similar. The minimum fluence to suppress the hair growth is the same for both devices.

The bottom line: find a hair removal service provider that uses the device and technology that is ideal for your skin type and your hair colour, and its staff has the knowledge and experience to choose the right settings, hand-pieces or filters for your specific conditions. Please also keep in mind: among the same types of lasers or IPLs, some brands may be much more effective than others in permanent hair removal.

Q Esthetics is one of the first laser clinics to use Palomar lasers and IPLs to remove unwanted hair for men and women of all skin types and hair colors, so we have the most experienced staff and the greatest number of satisfied patients in the Greater Toronto Area. Please call one of our two convenient clinics today and book your complimentary consultation to find out how we can assist you*.


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