IPL is similar to a laser treatment. However, a laser focuses just one wavelength of light at your skin, while IPL releases light of many different wavelengths, like a photo flash.
The light from IPL is more scattered and less focused than a laser. IPL penetrates down to the second layer of your skin (dermis) without harming the top layer (epidermis), so it causes less damage to your skin.
Pigment cells in your skin absorb the light energy, which is converted into heat. The heat destroys the unwanted pigment to clear up freckles and other spots. Or, it destroys the hair follicle to prevent the hair from growing again.
You can use IPL anywhere on your body, but it may not work as well on uneven areas. It isn’t recommended for people who tend to get thick, raised keloid scars or who have darker skin tones. It’s also not as effective on light-colored hair as it is on darker hair.
Which Method Is More Cost Effective?
Permanent removal options are notorious for being expensive. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, one session of laser hair removal at a beauty salon or clinic can cost $285 on average, and most people will need at least six treatments to notice a difference.
Fortunately, at-home laser or IPL devices can give you the same results for a fraction of the price. These machines use the same technology as professional beauty salon units and produce incredible results. The only difference is that hair removal machines designed for home use don’t have the same intensity, so you’ll probably need a few more sessions