Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is laser or IPL treatment better for hair removal?"
I'm trying to get rid of hair on my underarms, and I'm choosing between laser removal and IPL. What are the costs and benefits of each method? Is there any science showing that one way is safer than the other? Is either one more effective in the long term?
IPL stands for intense pulsed light. It is similar to laser treatments for hair removal, in that intense light is used to 'burn' hair follicles, resulting in permanent hair loss. The difference is that laser using a single wavelength of light, whereas IPL uses multiple wavelengths. Laser treatments and IPL in general for hair removal are safe and effective. The side effects of all these treatments for hair removal are generally mild, and include a sunburned effect. Occasionally, more serious side effects can occur, such as loss of color in the treated area of skin (hypopigmentation); this side effect is more common in those with darker skin tones. The difference between laser and IPL is that IPL is less effective on darker skin tones and may have slightly less efficacy in producing permanent hair loss. This is balanced by the fact that it is less costly. In comparison to laser and IPL hair removal methods, do not forget that another safe and effective method for removing hair is electrolysis. Electrolysis has been around longer than either laser-based therapy or IPL and is much less costly. Therefore, it is another attractive option that many people find works well for their budgets.
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