IPL (intense pulse light) has often been advertised as a laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). In fact they are not the same. The type of light emitted by a true laser is monochromatic, coherent and collimated. This means that it emits light at a single wavelength (one single colour or invisible) and the waves are in phase and parallel to each other. These properties permit lasers to be focused accurately to a very small beam of light, making them selective and very specific to the conditions they treat.
IPL on the other hand produces a broad spectrum of light and is marketed as a solution for many different types of conditions (so by definition it is not specifically designed to treat any of them). The IPL spreads throughout the skin, making it effective when the purpose of the treatment is to target different structures within the skin. This includes treating diffused facial redness and photo aging.
However, the IPL’s broad spectrum of light means that its energy can be delivered to unintended targets. This makes IPL prone to causing skin damage, particularly for people with more pigment (melanin) in their skin who are at higher risk of complications.
Lasers are also more powerful than IPL. They achieve higher peak energies such as the high power q-switched laser which is used to remove stubborn ink in tattoos and deep melanin in birthmarks. IPL cannot treat such conditions. For the same reason a laser treatment can provide a permanent change in conditions such as sun spots and freckles. Although IPL is very good at blanching such conditions, they fall short in permanently removing them.
In terms of laser hair removal, the settings on a medical grade laser can be adjusted to match different densities of hair and types of skin. This obtains optimum results and provides a safer, more effective laser hair removal treatment.
When looking for laser hair removal in north London, it is important to select the appropriate technology according to your skin type, knowing than some types of lasers (such us the Ruby laser) and all IPLs are not suitable to be used on darker skin types. Please contact us to book a free consultation at our laser clinic in Highbury and Islington.