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Laser Hair Removal Vs IPL – What’s The Difference?


eleven11 laser + skincare's guide to Laser Hair Removal Vs IPL

Laser Hair Removal Vs IPL. They Both Do The Same Thing, So How Are They Different?

Although the term Laser Hair Removal is familiar to many, it’s actually FDA-cleared as Permanent Hair Reduction. While IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) has become most prevalent in recent years, other terms have emerged that may be confusing – BBL or broadband light and OPL or optimized pulsed light are all synonyms for IPL.

Some of the differences between the two is that laser hair removal technology  refers specifically to one wavelength of light that targets the follicle . Though they work similarly on a technical level, these two technologies each come with unique advantages and disadvantages worth considering before making a choice when you’re ready for permanent hair removal!

laser hair removal VS IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Therapy

Similarities Of Laser And Intense Pulsed Light:

Laser hair removal and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) have several similarities, including:

  1. Both are non-invasive procedures.
  2. Both methods target the melanin in the hair follicle to reduce or eliminate hair growth.
  3. Both can lead to permanent hair reduction with a series of treatments.
  4. Both can cause redness, swelling, and discomfort during treatment.
  5. Both are typically performed by licensed professionals in a clinical setting.


It’s important to note that while both methods aim to achieve similar results, laser hair removal is generally considered more effective and efficient due to the precise targeting of the laser light.

laser hair removal vs IPL whats the difference?
laser hair removal vs IPL whats the difference?

DIFFERENCES of Laser Hair Removal Vs IPL

Laser hair removal and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) are both methods of permanent hair reduction. The difference between the two is the type of light used:

  • Laser hair removal uses a single wavelength of light that is highly targeted to the melanin in the hair follicle.

  • IPL uses a broad spectrum of light that can penetrate deeper into the skin and target larger areas at once, but it’s less effective in removing hair because the light is not as precisely targeted.

Both methods can have similar side effects, such as redness, swelling, and mild discomfort during treatment. However, laser hair removal is generally considered more effective and efficient in comparison to IPL.

The effectiveness of laser or IPL hair removal treatments depends on the color of the hair. Darker, thicker hairs are easier to target and therefore, they tend to yield better results. Both methods use heat to damage the cells responsible for hair growth. However, as hair grows in stages, not all the cells may be present during a single treatment session. Hence, multiple treatments, spaced about 4 to 6 weeks apart, are typically needed for optimal results.

types of lasers

Monochromatic – Made up of photons of a single color of light.

Collimated beam of light – Light rays travel in a single direction and parallel to each other with minimal spreading. This makes the laser beam highly focused.

Coherent – The laser light moves together in the same space and at the same time, such as a laser pointer.

types of ipl

Polychromatic: with a range of wavelengths and more than one color of light.

Non-collimated: with a large flash of light.

Incoherent: with scattered light providing broader skin coverage within each pulse.

Laser Hair Removal Vs IPL - What's The Difference?

summary of difference between Laser Hair Removal Vs IPL

To break down the differences, Laser treats hair at a specific wavelength, which can be more intensified. IPL offers the ability to target a large wavelength spectrum. The spot size of a laser tends to be smaller then the spot size of IPL. The conversion of light to heat with both IPL and LASER treatments can make the treatment feel like a rubberband snap and therefore causes some discomfort during treatment. Different brands of these technologies offer different approaches for client comfort and safety.

should skin be protected during laser hair removal and intense pulsed light therapy?

At Eleven11 Laser + Skincare, we use advanced Laser technology to help our clients achieve long-term hair removal results. To ensure a comfortable treatment experience for everyone and all skin types, special measures are taken:

• Aloe Vera is applied to the target area pre-treatment
• Cooling bursts of air reduce heat on the skin after each pulse

To learn more about our laser hair removal process click here.
Learn more about skin types and pigmentation here


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