The Difference Between IPL and Laser Hair Removal & Which One Is For Me

E-Flash Hair removal IPL

Difference Between IPL and Laser Hair Removal zipple
  • The key difference between IPL and laser hair removal is the type of light used.
  • IPL allows you to remove hair for longer in the comfort of your own home whilst laser requires you to go to a salon.
  • The Zipple IPL E-Flash features the added dimension of “regulation” for safer and more effective hair removal.
  • Rosacea can be treated with IPL as well as some other cosmetic procedures.

If you’ve been looking for a more permanent solution to hair removal than shaving or waxing, chances are that you have heard of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and laser hair removal. Both IPL and laser hair removal use light to remove unwanted hair at the follicle and prevent regrowth.

Read on as this article will help you distinguish between the two popular hair removal methods and help you decide which one is best for you.


Type of Light Source Used In IPL and Laser

The key difference between IPL and laser hair removal is the type of light source. These differ in both colour and intensity, equipping both laser and IPL with their own unique advantages.

Laser uses a monochromatic coherent light source, which means that there is only one colour or wavelength of light. This colour is most often seen as red. 

The laser beam is focused on a small area of your skin and allows for more precision to target each hair follicle rather than the surrounding skin. Because of this increased precision, laser hair removal works slightly faster in removing hair and preventing regrowth compared to IPL. This means fewer laser sessions are required. However, the individual sessions will take longer as the laser device can only treat small sections at a time.

On the other hand, the pulsed light used in IPL is polychromatic, meaning it is comprised of multiple different colours or wavelengths (you should think of it as a spectrum, like a rainbow). This produces what we see as white light.

The IPL beam is less focused than a laser, meaning you can treat a wider surface area with each flash. As a result, this lower precision may lead to less effective hair removal.

To combat this, Zipple’s enhanced IPL device, the E-Flash 4C features the added dimension of “regulation” which increases both effectiveness and safety by ensuring the targeted area is heated in a constant and uniform matter. This significantly reduces the chance of potential burns, irritation, scarring and more, which is seen sometimes in laser hair removal


Hair Colour And Skin Tone Suitability

Your hair colour and skin tone will affect the results of IPL and laser so it is important that you choose the best hair removal method for you.

As you have just learnt, the types of light used in IPL and laser are different. However, they both work to remove hair in the same manner. Just like how wearing a black T-shirt in the summer makes you feel hotter than wearing a white T-shirt, the light in IPL and laser is best absorbed, and most effective, on dark hair. This is because both treatments produce light energy which is absorbed by the dark pigment found in your hair called melanin and converted into heat to damage the hair follicle. This causes your hair to fall out and weaken, preventing it from growing back. 

The difference here is when it comes to skin tones. Because darker skin tones contain a higher level of melanin, light is also absorbed by the surrounding skin of people with darker skin.

This is especially the case for IPL as the pulsed light is less focused than a laser. In this case, the light will reach the melanin in your skin before the hair follicle, producing little to no results in terms of hair removal. Therefore, IPL is only effective if you have a fair to medium skin tone.

Fortunately for those of you with darker skin tones, our professional laser products are much more focused, allowing only the hair follicle to be targeted, preventing damage to the surrounding skin. Laser settings can also be adjusted to better suit the hair and skin types of different people. This makes laser hair removal the superior option if you have darker skin. Just remember if you are not trained in laser hair removal, you should go to a professional salon for these treatments.


Hair Removal At The Salon vs At Home

Paying for a professional laser hair removal treatment might put your mind at ease and lead to faster results. However, depending on the area of your body that you want to be treated, a professional laser appointment at the salon can cost you over $200 per session. As you typically need eight to twelve sessions for effective hair removal, this cost can add up over time. Especially with stubborn hair that might keep coming back.

By comparison Zipple's E-Flash is about the cost of 1 to 2 laser hair removal treatments at a salon. This initial investment includes the device as well as one cartridge with more than 5,000 flashes. Plus, if you ever run out of flashes, you can easily replace the cartridge for only $49.

Unlike laser hair removal, the E-Flash can be used any time you want in the comfort of your own home by following 5 simple steps. In both cases, you will remove your unwanted hair.

 So which one do you prefer? The professional salon experience or convenient, low-cost at-home hair removal option provided by the E-Flash?


The Skin Rejuvenation Properties of IPL

One of the unique advantages of IPL is its ability to treat people with rosacea. If you have this skin condition, you will know it appears as broken or dilated capillaries, resulting in a red flushing on your face. IPL is effective in this case because its broad wavelengths are best absorbed by the red blood cells found in your capillaries. The light pulses increase the temperature of the red blood cells, destroying the broken capillaries of your rosacea, and reducing the appearance of redness.


What Else Can IPL Do?

Along with hair removal and treating rosacea, IPL can also be used for the following cosmetic procedures:

  • Reducing hyperpigmentation caused by age spots or sun spots
  • Tighten saggy skin and reduce wrinkles
  • Brighten skin
  • Clear freckles
  • Remove birthmarks

IPL and laser are both great methods for removing unwanted body hair where the main difference between the two is the type of light. These different lights lead to the unique advantages and disadvantages that you can see in the summary table below. However, both methods require multiple sessions for effective and permanent hair removal and will produce similar results.

IPL Laser 
Polychromatic light - less focused Monochromatic light - more focused
Broader wavelength treats a wider surface area including the hair and surrounding skin Single wavelength is more precise at reaching only the hair follicle
More suitable for fairer skin tones More suitable for darker skin tones
The investment is less than laser and the device is yours to keep More expensive
Features skin rejuvenation properties Requires fewer sessions
Can be performed at home with Zipple's E-Flash Needs to be performed by a professional such as at a salon


If you like the sound of achieving permanent hair reduction with IPL and are not already enjoying the benefits of an E-Flash, get yours now below. They come in five colours; coral, apple green, mint, navy blue and lilac.
Coral E-Flash from Zipple   Apple Green E-Flash from Zipple   Mint E-Flash from Zipple   Navy Blue E-Flash from Zipple   Lilac E-Flash from Zipple
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