As one of the most popular beauty treatments, hair removal is an entry point to the aesthetic world for both men and women. Advanced technology has changed public perception toward this beauty treatment, which is not quite effective and most of the time painful, especially when traditional hair removal methods like waxing, shaving and threading are applied. Light-based technology is now becoming the mainstream in beauty industry, and two of the most sought-after hair removal technologies are IPL and diode laser. This article will introduce and compare these two hair removal treatments and analyze their benefits.
Introduction of light-based hair removal technology
Light-based technology applies different wavelengths of light to specific skin area for hair removal. High energy is delivered by the emitted light and subsequently absorbed by melanin in hair follicles without damaging the surrounding skin tissues. When the pigment melanin is heated up, the energy damages the hair follicles and hindering or delaying future hair growth.
The first laser aesthetic technology, called ruby laser, was developed by Theodore Maiman in 1960. However, too many side effects and low effectiveness rendered it not widely accepted. Three decades later, during the 1990s, the first FDA approved laser hair removal device was available. It was effective to stop hair growth for up to 3 months but still couldn’t result in permanent hair reduction. During the same period, intense pulsed light (IPL) devices were launched. By using these new devices, treatment areas were increased with less time spent, therefore these new devices became popular in the industry. In 2008, at-home diode laser hair removal devices gain the FDA approval, making the latest laser hair removal technology available even to laypersons to the beauty industry.
IPL and diode laser technologies: Which one is better?
IPL technology is actually not a laser treatment. It uses a broad-spectrum light with different wavelengths falling between 400-1200nm. Most of the time, filters will be used for treating different skin types. Shorter wavelengths (400-550nm) can target lighter skin and hair tones, while longer wavelengths (>550nm) are usually applied on darker skin and hair.
In contrast, laser technologies typically use a single wavelength only. Diode laser is one of the most popular laser hair removal technologies and it uses wavelength 810nm primarily to treat light to mid-toned skin with dark hair.
As IPL emits light energy that is more dispersed and weaker, it is less effective in hair removal and will require more treatments to achieve the same result of using diode laser. The broad-spectrum light may result in waste of energy and increase the side effects over skin because of less selective absorption. On the other hand, a diode laser with specific wavelength can deliver energy solely to pigment in the skin, thus minimizing contact with surrounding skin tissue. With the use of a cooling system, a diode laser treatment can be both effective and comfortable for the patients. Generally speaking, IPLs are more suitable for lighter skin types and may not be very safe to treat darker skin tones, while diode lasers are good for all skin types.
The benefits of using advanced light-based hair removal technologies
Today’s light-based hair removal technology is much more advanced than its earlier version, capable to achieve 90-95% hair growth reduction. Such effectiveness is possible because the latest laser technology is able to deliver heat with a specific wavelength over a larger target area and at the same time shorten the treatment sessions. Side effects are minimized because the heat energy is mainly absorbed by melanin and not the surrounding skin tissue. Advanced cooling systems that are used with these treatments further improve the customer experience on hair removal procedure.
Diode lasers become even more popular in recent years because of the FDA-approved at-home diode laser hair removal devices. Some people may think such move will have negative effect on the beauty industry, however, the effectiveness of at-home devices is absolutely incomparable to in-office ones. Also, medical aesthetics clinic is able to provide professional services with a level of safety that is not attainable by laypersons.