Laser Hair Removal vs. IPL Hair Removal: Which One is Best?

Laser hair removal debuted in the 1960s. However, at that point, the treatment was ineffective and known for causing severe skin damage. Throughout the years, laser hair removal has been perfected, continues to be effective, and no longer causes severe burns. Two main methods are commonly used: laser hair removal and IPL hair removal. So, which method is the best laser hair removal technique in NY?

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. And with laser hair removal it’s used as a treatment that emits light energy to target unwanted hair and inhibit it from growing.

How it Works

This treatment works by the hair’s melanin absorbing the light energy released by the laser. The light energy goes through a conversion process where it turns into heat. The heat then damages the hair follicles and prevents them from growing hair in the future. It doesn’t usually stop the hair from regrowing permanently. It does, however, inhibit growth for an extended period. Some individuals don’t have hair regrowth for ten years or longer, although others will notice their hair regrowing sooner.

What to Expect

You can expect laser hair removal to take an hour or less. However, the exact time of the treatment depends on your unique situation, particularly the size of the area being treated.

When laser hair removal is performed on the body, it usually takes eight to 10 sessions. If you have a darker skin tone, it may take up to 12 treatments to see full results. Facial hair is more difficult to treat with laser therapy and usually requires 12 to 16 treatments. Keep in mind that people with dark hair tend to see better results because the light energy targets the hair’s melanin. And if you have dark hair, you have more melanin for the laser.

Potential Side Effects

While side effects of laser hair removal aren’t common, they are possible. For instance, you could have skin irritation. With skin irritation, you may have redness, swelling, and discomfort. This side effect is temporary and will heal within hours of your treatment.

The laser could cause skin pigment changes. Although the treatment is aimed at the hair follicle, it does have some contact with the skin. As a result, it could cause the skin to become darker or lighter. While this side effect could be permanent, there’s also a chance it’s only temporary. It’s more common if you have sun exposure before or immediately following the treatment. It’s also common in those who have a darker skin tone.

Although less rare, other potential side effects include the following:

  • Blistering
  • Scarring
  • Crusting
  • Changes in skin texture
  • Graying of affected hair
  • Excessive hair growth

What Is IPL?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is similar to laser therapy because it uses light energy. However, this treatment uses more than one wavelength of light, unlike laser therapy which uses only one wavelength.

How it Works

With IPL hair removal, the device emits pulsating light energy to the melanin. Keep in mind that a laser can give off pulsating light energy but will still only be in one wavelength.

At this point, the light energy turns to heat energy and targets the papilla — a part in the hair follicle’s base that plays a role in the induction and growth of hair. Once the heat destroys the papilla, the hair can’t continue to grow and won’t return for a period.

What to Expect

While the average treatment time depends on the size of the area being treated, IPL tends to take between 20 and 30 minutes. It may take half an hour or possibly longer if it’s a larger region. Since multiple areas may be treated at once, it could take up to an hour. You’ll need at least six to 12 sessions as a general rule. Typically, it takes more IPL sessions to see the same results as laser hair removal since the light energy isn’t as intense with IPL.

The results of IPL tend to last between one to five years. After that, you may require a touchup to maintain the results.

Side Effects

As with laser hair removal, side effects are possible with IPL. Typically, they’re mild and temporary. For instance, you might have pain during your treatment. This can be combated by your practitioner cooling the area or applying a topical anesthetic. Your skin may become irritated, sore, or turn pink. Some people experience peeling, swelling, or redness for the first few days after the treatment.

Cost of Laser Hair Removal and IPL?

When determining the best laser hair removal in NY, it’s vital to consider the cost. On average, as of 2020, the price of laser hair removal is $389 per session, as noted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). However, this figure varies based on the location, the practitioner’s fees, and the treatment area size. For example, a large area like your back could cost you over $600. Prices also vary based on the body part where you’re having the procedure.

The price of IPL also varies based on your location, the treatment area size, and the practitioner’s fees. The location of the treatment impacts the price as well. Typically, though, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,100.

Bear in mind that when you’re searching for a practitioner for laser hair removal in New York City, price shouldn’t be the only criteria you use. Just because a practitioner is inexpensive doesn’t mean they’ll live up to your expectations. On the contrary, just because a practitioner is expensive doesn’t mean they’re the most qualified. Make sure you’re looking at experience, reviews, and qualifications, whether you’re having laser or IPL hair removal.

Which One Is Better?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to which one is better. The method for best laser hair removal in NY depends on your personal preferences, and you may want to use a variety of criteria to compare the two before deciding.


First and foremost, both IPL and laser hair removal use light energy to remove hair. Both damage the hair follicles to inhibit growth. A practitioner will use a handheld device to aim the light energy at the treatment area during both treatments.

Both cause few side effects, provide long-term results, and can be used on the bikini line, upper lip, and other sensitive areas. This, however, is where the similarities stop.


As a general rule, laser hair removal usually has longer-lasting results. Laser therapy is a more targeted approach since it uses a more concentrated light aimed at the treatment area. The light from the laser can travel deeper into the follicle; this is why IPL doesn’t provide as long-lasting results.

When comparing these treatments to determine which is the best hair removal in NY for you, know that both require no extensive recovery time. You can have either treatment and return to living life immediately, though both require you to limit your sun exposure after treatment.

In terms of results, neither treatment provides an immediately noticeable difference. You won’t notice dramatic results until after multiple treatments, no matter which one you choose. You tend to see full results sooner with IPL.

The ideal treatment for you also depends on your skin tone and hair color. Some people respond better to laser therapy. For instance, people with lighter-colored hair may respond better to laser hair removal because IPL will have more trouble targeting light hair.

Bear in mind that people with darker skin tones are more at risk for burning with laser hair removal because it targets the skin’s melanin. And people with darker complexions have more melanin. In general, however, the side effects of both laser therapy and IPL are similar and are usually only temporary. The side effects are often a bit more intense with laser therapy since it uses more concentrated light.

Treatment Time

Your treatment time with IPL is usually less than with laser hair removal. The laser is more targeted and requires more applications to address the entire area than IPL. With IPL, the light reaches a larger area at one time. In terms of price, IPL tends to be cheaper because it reaches a larger area at once. You may need more sessions for the same size area, however. Additionally, since the results aren’t as long with IPL, you’ll need to have a retouch sooner with IPL.

You can have either laser hair removal or IPL and have to shave less or not at all, at least for some time. Typically, laser hair removal is more effective and can provide longer-lasting results. At Bared Monkey, serving New York City, NY, and the surrounding region, we offer laser hair removal for this reason.

If you’re tired of shaving, discover how laser hair removal can benefit you by calling Bared Monkey for a consultation. We’re available by dialing 212-256-9777. You can also text us at 551-230-6569.

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