Hair removal with lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices is commonly performed in most dermatology practices. However, there have been few clinical studies directly comparing the efficacy of multiple hair removal systems in the same individual until recently. And some hair removal service providers announced that they prefer using lasers over IPLs, because they think that lasers do a better job of targeting hair follicles, and therefore reduce hair more effectively than IPLs.
But a recent clinical study shows that although hair removal with lasers is highly effective as expected, treatment with IPLs can cause less pain while showing efficacy equivalent to laser systems. This study was done by Dr. Snehal P. Amin & Dr. David J. Goldberg, skin laser and surgery specialists of NY & NJ, and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.
In their study, Dr. Snehal P. Amin & Dr. David J. Goldberg evaluated the efficacy of four highly popular systems for laser hair removal. Ten subjects with skin types I–III, aged 18–55 years underwent treatments of unwanted hair removal on the back or thigh. All subjects were treated twice with:
- an ipl with a red filter;
- an ipl with a yellow filter;
- a 810 nm diode laser;
- a 755 nm alexandrite laser.
Evaluation of photographs at 1, 3, and 6 months revealed a significant decrease in hair counts (50%) and hair coverage (55%). There was no statistical difference in efficacy between the four different light devices. Minimal temporary adverse effects were noted from all systems, and the alexandrite laser showed the highest pain scores. The original article about this study was published at Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2006; 8: 65–68.
Another study (Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 2004; 150.) also found that the effects of diode laser and ipl exposures on hair follicles are similar. The minimum fluence to suppress the hair growth is the same for both devices.