Home IPL vs Laser Hair Removal

By Tom Price 15th April 2020 Category: Advice

What is the difference?

Would you love to have smoother skin for longer? If you would like to remove unwanted body and facial hair, then a hair removal treatment could be for you.

Two of the most popular light therapy treatment types that are available are home IPL and laser hair removal – but what is the difference between them?

If you are considering the benefits of an at-home treatment in comparison to a treatment performed in a clinic with a highly trained practitioner, read on to find out more.

What is light therapy treatment?

Light therapy treatment uses wavelengths of light that are targeted at the skin. The energy that is used penetrates the dermis (the second layer of your skin) to reduce hair regrowth, without causing damage to the epidermis (top layer of skin).

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal works by harnessing the effects of a specially designed and very powerful laser to target the hair follicles and prevent regrowth. It is performed by a qualified practitioner at sk:n, who has undergone four to six weeks of thorough training and had to pass a theory and practical test before they are allowed to carry out laser hair removal treatments.

How does laser hair removal work?

During laser hair removal treatment the hair follicle is targeted during its active growing cycle, which is known as the ‘anagen’ phase. Not all of your hairs will be in this phase at the same time (only 10-20%) and therefore a course of regular treatments will produce the most effective results.

What else do I need to know about laser hair removal?

In order to achieve the best results, you will need to ensure that all make-up is removed before treatment, that the hair has been removed by shaving (not waxing) and that the area is clean.

What is home IPL?

IPL (intense pulsed light) can be used to remove unwanted hair in the comfort of your own home, using a special hand held device or machine. It is less precise than some other methods of permanent hair removal, which means that it isn’t always suitable for hard-to-reach areas or darker skin tones, as the energy is emitted via different varieties of light waves.

How does home IPL work?

Home IPL uses a broad spectrum light to deliver long-lasting results. In a similar way to laser hair removal treatment, the energy from the home IPL device heats and destroys hair follicles, and disrupts hair growth as a result. With home IPL, it is important to be aware that the results you achieve will vary between individuals, depending on your hair and skin type.

What else do I need to know about home IPL?

In comparison to the machines that are used in clinics, the light energy that home IPL devices produce is much less concentrated, which means that you can use them safely in the comfort of your own home.

Depending on the type of home IPL device that you have, it can be used once every four weeks. This will help to ensure that new hair is targeted at the start of its growth cycle.

The difference between home IPL and laser hair removal at a glance


  • The energy is produced by a laser.
  • The energy from the laser is extremely focused and delivers precise, powerful and accurate results.
  • Lasers can be calibrated depending on hair or skin type, although it is important to note that people with red, blonde or grey hair will have less effective results.
  • A course of treatment is recommended for the best value and results.

Home IPL

  • A hand held device is used and the energy is produced by a lamp that is similar to a light bulb.
  • Generally less powerful than those devices used in clinic procedures.
  • A variety of light waves are produced which are less powerful and accurate than a laser.
  • IPL is not suitable for all skin types.
  • Desired results will take much longer to achieve than with laser treatment.
  • Home IPL is also not suitable for people with red, blonde or grey hair

Frequently Asked Questions:

What skin type is laser hair removal suitable for?As the laser is attracted to the pigment in the follicle of the hair, for darker skin types a longer wavelength is required in order to avoid the laser targeting surface pigment in the skin as opposed to the hair follicle. One of the main benefits of laser hair removal treatment is that a variety of lasers can be used to treat different skin types and tones in a safe way

How do I know which laser hair removal treatment is suitable for me? Before treatment, a sk:n practitioner will use the Fitzpatrick scale to determine your skin type. You will also have a consultation where your practitioner will discuss the results you can expect from treatment with you.

Is home IPL painful? Home IPL is less painful than other at-home hair removal methods such as epilation.

What do I need to do after home IPL? After your home IPL treatment it is important that you use plenty of sunscreen and also avoid the use of perfumes, deodorants and hot showers for 24 hours.

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