Is there a difference between Laser and IPL for hair removal?

A lot of people come into the clinic and they are confused about what is Laser and what is IPL (Intense Pulse Light) and is there really a difference for hair removal? The answer to that is YES there is a big difference! Laser is more efficient, safer and the best way to remove unwanted hair. As a consumer it can become quite confusing when places call it “laser hair removal” but are in fact using an IPL machine.


  • Laser is monochromatic meaning that the light emitted from a laser is of one wavelength. In contrast, ordinary white light is a combination of many different wavelengths.
  • Laser is coherent, meaning the light is totally reinforcing and does not cancel itself out. The coherent light produced by a laser differs from ordinary light in that it is made up of waves all of the same wavelength and all in phase.
  • Laser is collimated; the light waves are parallel and divergent. This makes laser light very powerful, as nearly 100% of the light can be effective in the treatment of hair reduction

IPL (Intense Pulse Light)

IPL devices on the other hand are not lasers. These devices produce a broad spectrum of wavelengths (like a bulb) and cannot be focused to a concentrated beam. Because a range of different wavelengths is dispersed at a variety of depths. The advantages of using Laser over IPL:

  • IPL is a cheaper, less effective technology for reducing hair.
  • Lasers are far more precise and can selectively target hair.
  • Each laser pulse takes a fraction of a second and can treat several hairs at a time.
  • Laser settings can be adjusted to suit your specific skin tone and hair colour.
  • Lasers have the capability to be a lot safer than IPL

The main difference between Laser and IPL for hair removal purposes mainly lies in the technology that each use to generate light as well as the different properties of light being used. Laser technology is simply much more effective, and achieves substantially better results than IPL with most clients achieving optimal results of permanent hair removal of 80% or greater after 4-8 treatments.

IPL’s do however have an important place in the treatment of skin. IPL provides adequate treatment for skin problems such as superficial pigmentation, redness and capillaries but do not provide preferable results with hair removal. At Advanced Laser Clinic, we use only Medical Lasers, and we have several lasers to ensure our clients are receiving treatment on the appropriate laser for their skin and hair type.

To read more about our laser hair removal technology and get a free, no-obligation consultation, visit our Laser Hair Removal service page.

Recent Posts
How laser hair removal worksTattoo Removal