Laser or IPL what the difference and which one should i use?

I must be repeating quesions that have already been asked. I have a new question. Already mentioned on other posts i have olive/tanned skin, dark hair, getting treatment with an IPL on my back.

I have now read that laser works alot better at hair removal than IPL, what should i be using? I am getting treatments at a local spa in Australia.

It would be best for you to find someone with a Yag laser, such as GentleYag, Sciton, Lyra, Coolglide, etc

I must be repeating quesions that have already been asked. I have a new question. Already mentioned on other posts i have olive/tanned skin, dark hair, getting treatment with an IPL on my back.

I have now read that laser works alot better at hair removal than IPL, what should i be using? I am getting treatments at a local spa in Australia.

Which IPL device are you being treated with? And what have the results been like so far?

IPL has caused scabbing when I had test spots done on my type IV skin. My upper legs are lighter (above the tan line) and the Harmony AFT (similar to IPL) worked very well there. I have almost zero hair on my upper legs above the tan line. If I would have know it would work that well on light skin, I would have been willing to stay out of the sun for a year or so (or use SPF-30 sunblock) so I could get my legs totally hairless. The bad part is my boat went into the shop after the outdrive seized up. The boat was in the shop for 2 months! So basically my boating season was shot. If I had known that was going to happen, I would have stayed out of the sun and used SPF-30. But of course you don’t know those things are going to happen beforehand.
That strategy may not have worked anyway, as my tan never totally fades away.


Hey RJC2001 & Lagirl

Just want to say you guys are so awesome sharing your experience round with us lil people.

Ill check and let you know what IPL i am being treated on. I am trying to keep out of the sun. I stopped swimming regulary, but how about my neck i guess it always sees the sun when im out…

don’t forget to use sublock daily if any areas you’re treating are exposed to the sun <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I spoke to the SPA place where I am getting my treatments done and she said they perform Impulse Light Theorpy, and that they use a NovaLight machine. I have not heard anyoone on the forums talk about the NovaLight, does anyone have any experience or imformation about the NovaLight


The Novalight seems like a pretty good IPL device. Technically they call it fluorescent pulsed light technology.

FPL for Hair Removal

The specs on the Novalight are pretty good too. It offers a wide range of fluence levels and pulse widths.

Novalight FPL specs.

I have not seen any broadband light sources that offer this combination of fluence and pulse widths!

Please keep us posted on your results. This could be a very good IPL type device.


Thanks RJC2001,

Its really reasurring to know that im going to a place with good equipment. I have been doing everything wrong in my treatments! I had a shocking tech, i didn’t wear sunblock on my neck, I continued swim training a couple of hours a week and i didn’t space out my treatments. This time, Ive kept out of the sun and changed techs.

The results have been really good, i still have a very patchy result, however the sections that she has done well, the result is really clear. I will follow all the procedures leading up to this next treatment, ive got a new tech, and ill ask her to take up the fluence and to press the FPL down onto my back more.

Keep you all posted,

if anyone has any other experiences with the NovaLight would love to hear from you.

Olive skin, dark hair, You’re Type IV, don’t use a YAG, go with a Diode. Long Pulse, RF setting starting at 45J-RF, and a moderate laser setting of 30J-Laser. It’s more permantent, more destructive energy surrounding the follical. It’s next generation.


What is IPL?

Is it a type of laser?

Intense Pulse Light, this is not a true hair removal laser. it’s a different machine that does all kinds of skin treatments including hair removal as a side use. For light skin and dark hair, true lasers are best. Jury still out for effectiveness of IPLs. If you want to try one, I would go with Aurora IPL because it has special RF technology, but I would only do it if you have lighter hair since it claims to treat it better than lasers.

I went for treatment number six today. I have lost my tan before i went it. I tried to do everything right, collared shirts the lot. New tech, i chatted to her before my treatment and talked about the results so far.

I have skin III - IV, coarse hair, treating my back and neck. I found out a bit more about the equipment shes using. It is a NovaLight CPL, she said the settings go from 1-10 and she treated me at a setting 4. There are apparently two filters that come with the machine. A Yellow and Red Filter. I am being treated with the Red filter because of my darker skin.

I was previously being treated with the setting 3, now got her to go up to a 4. I got her to push down more, the result i got burnt a couple of times (not bad, just red marks that will easily go away in a couple of days, i could smell the burning hairs throughout treatment, it was reasonably painful in areas. I jumped into a cold shower after treatment, and put creams and stuff after to stop the burning.

I don’t think my skin will survive a higher treatment setting, as it is i was slightly burnt in areas. Hope this treatment will be successful she really took her time to cover all areas, and I will go in for a free touch up if there are missed areas.

Please comment on my experience, and especially if someone could comment on my equipment that would be great.

Thankyou all,

The smell of burning hair is a good sign. The fact that you got some red spots means that she probably could not go any higher. The fact that she pressed down on the handpiece was helpful too.

If you see significant shedding in 2-4 weeks it is a sign that you benefitted from the treatment. If you don’t get much reduction, it is a sign that the IPL is not suitable for your darker skin.

At this point I tend to think that IPL (CPL) is not all that great for dark skin. The Q4 rep didn’t want to use it on my arms which are still very dark. IPL can work very well on light skin, but I’m not so sure about dark skin.


Thanks I will keep you posted about my shedding.

I have a question though. I know that there is no such thing as permanent hair removal, but hair reduction. Lagirl when you say that you have had a 75% hair reduction what does that mean? I though that IPL just makes the hair grow back finer… or can i believe that 75% of the hair is removed at that point.

One more question. When the hair sheds, is that area of shedding then clear and those hairs that shed will never grow back again.

In my results most of my hairs have thined (not finer) and some patches nothing growths at all, like a half thumb size on my neck has not grown hair since like my second treatment… which means i have some lines on my back. ( the patches with hair are infact thined out.

Hey Lagirl and RJC just a personal question, is going for hair removal your full time job? do you guys get paid to do it?


When I say I have had a “reduction”, I mean that the hair is gone completely. Not thinner or finer, it’s gone. It’s been 10 weeks since my last underarm and bikini treatment. I would say about 80% is gone overall (being conservative). There are a few thin hairs that came in, maybe 30 on each side (but I had a LOT of coarse black hair before, and these few hairs are not even visible; takes 2 secs to shave without shaving gel or anything, just 2-3 swipes), but overall these areas has been clear. I’m currently considering getting electrolysis or one more treatment on both of those…but I think the hairs are too thin to get with laser now. Electrolysis should be quick on those few. I don’t believe these are same hairs growing in thinner. These are new hairs that were dormant before and are now resurfacing.

No, hair removal is not my full time job and I wish I got paid for it <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> haha. I’m just another consumer and I actually have a demanding full time job, which fortunately involves a lot of time on the computer allowing me to access this site quite often. And since I’ve done a lot of research on LHR, I help out new consumers so they can avoid horror stories I’ve read about on these forums. Hopefully, it helps <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Thanks, your experience has been really helpful! keep posting it up here. Just a further question about shedding, I am now two weeks after treatment, and a can pull a few hairs our but some are not coming out easily, I know i have to wait another week or two.

Is it possible for hairs that should have shed to stay in the skin and not come but keep growing. Or would that be hairs that are untreated come up with the shedding hairs and don’t come out?

Should I be pulling out the shedded hairs or shaving them?


you can scrub gently with a loofa in the shower to help the shedding process. if by end of 3 weeks, some hairs are still there and don’t easily slide out, they have been missed by laser. some places offer free touch-up at that point.

It has been three weeks since my last treatment. I went in for touch ups as there was a number of patches on my back. The new tech was so suprised at the result because the shapes the hair grew back in. She said some of the patches were missed and others are just stubborn patches.

I am using the CPL novalight, the red filter and most of my treatment was painful at a program 4 and at the end she upped the settings to a program 5, she cooled the area extensively before she used it then got me, it was considerably stronger.

Has anyone out there had an experience with this kind of machine? Are these settings comparable to what other people are using?

There is not much of a range of IPL products in Sydney, wish i was in the states!

Merry Christmas

Sorry to make you repeat yoursefl but what laser did you user for the bikini line?
I have a problem there and am very fair skinned, with dark hair? How long did they say the results would last for. Was it painful. I am a big girl when it comes to pain, but at this stage would be willing to bite the bullet. Did you have any side effects? how many treatments in this area did you have. With the shaving of what came back this won’t stimulate the rest coming back will it?
Repeat any advice would be greatly appreciated.

All the best to you!

I used a GentleLASE laser. Had 5 treatments on bikini. Great results. Shaving doesn’t stimulate hair growth. Only removal with the root like waxing can. LHR is supposed to be permanent, they just can’t advertise it as “permanent removal” and have to say “permanent reduction” because results really vary from person to person. In general, you should expect almost 90% removal on the bikini area with your skin and hair type, it’s one of the easiest to treat with laser. Of course, a good tech is required who will treat at high enough settings as well. But also, expect maybe 1 touch-up per year or so because your body will probably be producing more hair as you age, depending on how old you are. You can read about my experience under a post “update on my results”.

Don’t be afraid of pain. It’s really not that bad and it’s over really fast. It’s not any more painful than waxing and the whole bikini area (I did everything around a thong and perenial) takes only 5-8 minutes. Waxing takes a lot longer, so I think it’s somewhat worse. And not to mention, the results are much better <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />