IPL vs. Diode Laser - what's best?

I’m so sorry if I’m repeating anyone else’s post. I did try to read some similar posts but I didn’t find my exact question.

I am a fair skinned East Indian probably skin type IV. I’m looking into hair removal for my legs and arms. I have thick black coarse hair.

I’ve read a number of articles on IPL and Diode Lasers and I can’t seem to find a consensus on which method would be better for me.

Also, would it be okay for me to have treatments at only 4 weeks apart?

If anyone has some advice I’d really appreciate it!


For your skin and hair type, your best bet is to go with a Yag laser. It works well on dark coarse hair and is best for darker skins because you can set high settings without burning the skin. Find a Yag like a Sciton, Lyra, GentleYag, Coolglide, etc. 4 weeks apart is too early. It takes 2-3 weeks for treated hair to shed and then you have a hairfree period until new hair grows in. For legs it’s even slower. You would probably need to go 6-8 weeks apart when you start, and 8-10 weeks apart as you get more treatments.

I have read a few comments saying that the diode is better than the YAG (as far as practical results seems to show) on most darker skinned patients. And I have also been reading more favorable opinions for IPL versus laser lately.

I am totally confused. I always assumed the order of effectiveness on darker skinned patients was 1)YAG followed by 2)Diode followed by 3)IPL. Some people are saying its completely reversed instead, while others consider IPL as a scam when it comes to hair removal.

Is there some kind of trend or consensus on which is better based on patient experiences presented on this forum? It would be nice to get a technician or expert who has used all three machines on many patients to respond.

Thanks both of you for replying! I am still confused about IPL so I guess I’ll hit the online research again. Wish me luck!

PS - If anyone else has any suggestions I’d still like to hear them.

what you have down is correct

  1. Yag (if type IV or darker)
  2. Diode (type IV or lighter)
  3. IPL (not advisable for darker skins…could be somewhat effective for light skin and dark or medium colored hair, especially with Aurora that has RF technology)

Thanks lagirl! I am hoping to have my first session soon so this info definitely helps.

There is a lot of variance among IPL machines as far as energy levels, wavelengths used and pulse durations. It can definitely work on light skin, but I don’t think it is best for darker skin. There is a new IPL device, the ProWave 770 that offers longer wavelengths so it may be suitable for darker skin.

Based on my experience so far, I think the Nd:YAG is best for darker skin. It is also excellent on beards too, even on lighter skin, especially if the beard is very dense.