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Différence épilation au laser et lumière pulsée.

Difference between laser hair removal and intense pulsed light.

Laser hair removal and intense pulsed light (IPL) are both designed to permanently eliminate hair from parts of the body. They differ in a few criteria, including the technique and devices used. This article focuses on the differences between these two techniques.

Why opt for permanent hair removal?

Permanent hair removal involves removing the hair at its root, that is, by destroying the hair follicle. The principle is based on a beam of light that will be captured by a pigment present in the hair, melanin. This energy will be transferred along the hair to the hair follicle, causing its apoptosis (cell death).

This technique has numerous advantages, not least of which is a long-lasting result. It notably reduces the risks of irritation and inflammation caused by conventional hair removal methods (shaving, waxing, etc.). Although permanent hair removal sessions are costly, they represent a long-term investment, especially since appointments are spaced out. Therefore, it is a way to save money.

Permanent hair removal also has therapeutic benefits, as it eliminates ingrown hairs and maintains skin softness. Moreover, it can be performed on all body areas without causing unbearable pain. It is also suitable for sensitive or mature skin. However, this method of hair removal does not work on gray or white hairs, as they lack melanin.

Laser Hair Removal and Pulsed Light: Are there differences?

The differences between these two hair removal techniques touch on several points to consider.

  • The method used.

    The first difference between laser hair removal and pulsed light hair removal lies in the wavelength of the light beams acting on the hair. The pulsed light emits variable, short, and polychromatic waves : therefore, the radiations are less powerful and less precise.

    Laser hair removal, on the other hand, utilizes monochromatic rays, making it a more powerful and precise technique. This method is performed by a professional, whereas pulsed light hair removal can be done at home, provided that the appropriate equipment is available.

  • The subjects addressed.

    laser hair removal is suitable for all skin types and complexions, as this technique is more precise due to the power of its rays. On the other hand, pulsed light hair removal is only suitable for those with dark hair on light skin, as it does not distinguish between skin and hair. However, in both cases it is not possible to perform these types of hair removal on light hair as they lack melanin and lasers or pulsed lights are not sensitive to it.

  • The cost of the service.

    Laser hair removal is an expensive technique, with a session costing around 80 € for the underarms and 180 € for the lower legs. By choosing pulsed light hair removal, expect to pay approximately 50 € for the underarms and 130 € for a lower leg session.

  • The effectiveness.

    Laser hair removal is considered more effective with a long-term efficiency rate of 90% compared to 80% for pulsed light.

  • The side effects.

    Hair removal using pulsed light presents a higher risk of burns, as it is less precise than laser hair removal. This method tends to target a larger surface area, which can result in skin burns.

What are the similarities between laser hair removal and pulsed light hair removal?

Laser hair removal and pulsed light hair removal only act on hairs in the growth phase and require between 6 and 8 sessions of 20 to 60 minutes to eliminate the hair follicles. These two hair removal techniques function to prevent hair regrowth in the treated area. However, hairs on the hormone-dependent areas, including the lips, chin, lower abdomen, and chest, grow rapidly. They thus require more sessions. Given that both techniques act in depth, avoid any sun exposure. Photosensitizing medications should also be avoided. The same goes for the application of certain essential oils and the intake of dietary supplements to stimulate tanning or hair growth.


  • DIERICKX C. C. Hair removal by lasers and intense pulsed light sources. Dermatologic Clinics (2002).

    HAEDERSDAL M. & al. Laser and intense pulsed light hair removal technologies: from professional to home use. British Journal of Dermatology (2011).

  • HOVENIC W. & others. Laser hair reduction and removal. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America (2011).

  • IBRAHIMI O. A. & others. Laser hair removal. Dermatologic Therapy (2011).

  • GAN S. D. & al. Laser hair removal: A review. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (2013).


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