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IPL vs Laser

Some clinics will offer IPL, some laser, and some both. Both technologies are very effective at treating certain conditions. The thing is that, depending on the actual condition, one will be much more effective than the other. Both lasers and IPL machines can treat similar conditions, and that is why we offer both laser and IPL at the clinic.

Intense pulse light (IPL) therapy

The way IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, works is by delivering different wavelengths of light to the skin, similar to a photo flash of energy. It is very effective in treating brown spots and red skin blemishes. IPL is sometimes referred to as a Photofacial treatment due to the photo flash of energy it emits. You may see the terms combined such as ‘IPL Photofacial’.  During  treatment,  IPL flashes of light are targeted only at the pigment-producing cells, effectively destroying them. IPL improves skin tone by reducing the brown and red skin imperfections and results in new, evenly-toned skin. IPL uses a broad spectrum of visible light utilising multiple wavelengths.The IPL technology has been around since the 1990’s and is used around the world. You can technically use IPL for hair removal but we rarely offer that, due to us having the best laser devices for hair removal.

Laser Treatments

The Lasers that are used for skin resurfacing treatments differ from IPL in that they use just one concentrated wavelength of laser light instead of a broad spectrum. This singular wavelength is focused and powerful which makes it useful for specific tissue or pigment targeting. Lasers are adjustable for treating the deeper layers of the skin at more levels.  Laser technology is often described as either ablative, meaning they remove surface layers of the skin or non-ablative. The latter indicates that heat and light go through to the deeper levels of the skin and leave the surface intact. Fractional lasers work to remove columns of skin whilst leaving the surrounding skin intact. The point of these laser treatments is to create a skin response that heals and allows the skin to create new skin tissue and collagen. With regard to permanent hair removal, the laser machine wins.

Cost and Number of Treatments Required

The cost of IPL and laser treatments can vary significantly depending on the specific procedure and the number of sessions required to achieve optimal results. Generally, IPL treatments tend to be less expensive than laser treatments, but it may require more sessions to achieve the desired outcome. Before deciding on a full laser treatment or plan, discuss the cost and expected number of treatments with your therapist to determine the most cost-effective option for your needs.

Side Effects and Downtime

While both IPL and laser treatments generally have minimal side effects, the recovery time and potential complications may differ. IPL treatments typically require less downtime and cause fewer side effects, making them an appealing option for patients with busy schedules or those who are concerned about post-treatment recovery. On the other hand, laser treatments, particularly ablative lasers, may involve a longer healing period and carry a higher risk of side effects.

Skin conditions treatable by both laser and IPL


  • Birthmarks
  • Rosacea treatment
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Spider Veins
  • Stretch Mark discoloration
  • Sun damage
  • Hair removal


Some clinics are not impartial

You will notice that some conditions show in both columns. You can do an internet search for ‘best treatment for hyperpigmentation’, for example, and you will get many different answers from clinic websites. Some will say IPL and some will say laser. The same will follow for ‘sun damage’, hair removal and many other treatments. Both treatments have advantages and disadvantages and depending on the condition you want to treat, one treatment option will be better than the other.

More than one treatment option

We would suggest that when choosing a clinic to address a skin concern, the clinic should be able to offer more than one treatment option. This will give you the best chance to correctly address the problem in hand, and avoid being steered towards one treatment type.

The Doctors Laser Clinic

At The Doctors Laser Clinic we well know the difference between laser and IPL intense pulsed light, how many treatment sessions you may require, the best hair removal methods, and if your condition will be suited to medical grade lasers. We will always consider the best option for you, the patient as part of our ethos at the clinic.


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