One of the most exciting things about the skincare industry is the way it’s constantly evolving. Take diode lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology, for instance. While neither type of device is new to dermatology—both having been introduced in the 1990s—they both represent major advancements in light-based skin treatments.
One device may be laser-based while the other is light-based, but both methods have similar purposes, like skin rejuvenation and hair removal, and both devices, usually over a series of multiple treatment sessions, work primarily by targeting melanin. However, while the applications may be similar, it’s important to understand their differences before purchasing either machine—or both! In this article, we’ll examine diode laser vs IPL technology, including their operational differences, best-case uses, patient comfort levels, and the diverse treatments they champion in the skincare field.
Operational Differences: Diode Laser vs IPL
Diode laser technology operates at a specific wavelength, typically between 800 and 810 nanometers, which is adept at targeting deeper hair follicles, facilitating effective hair removal. The focused light of a diode laser ensures minimal scattering, delivering concentrated energy to the area of treatment, which can result in more effective laser treatments. This also makes diode laser treatments safer for people with darker skin tones, compared to IPL.
The ability of diode laser treatments to adjust the laser’s parameters allows for treatment customization according to the individual skin types and concerns of the person being treated.
IPL technology, on the other hand, utilizes a broad spectrum of light wavelengths. These wavelengths, typically ranging from 500 to 1200 nanometers, can be tailored to treat various skin pigmentation and vascular concerns. The wide-spectrum light of IPL technology allows for a more versatile treatment scope, albeit with a lesser degree of precision compared to that of treatments using diode lasers. This lack of precision increases the likelihood of impact from the treatment on the skin surrounding the treatment area, which could lead to some side effects, especially for people with darker-toned skin.
IPL devices often come with adjustable filters used to target different chromophores in the skin, making them adaptable to various treatment goals.
Patient Comfort Levels
When considering technology using a diode laser vs IPL treatments, you should also weigh the levels of discomfort or side effects for patients who may elect for these treatments.
Patients receiving treatments using diode laser technology may experience mild discomfort, often described as similar to that of a rubber band snapping against the skin. However, cooling technologies and topical anesthetics can mitigate this. Likewise, possible side effects such as skin pigment changes and skin irritation can be minimized with proper pre and post-treatment care.
IPL treatments are often described as less uncomfortable than diode laser treatments. Patients have likened the sensation to a warm flick on the skin. IPL devices also often have integrated cooling systems, ensuring patient comfort during treatments. That said, because IPL uses melanin targeting with less precision than a diode laser does, post-treatment side effects on surrounding skin are more likely to occur in individuals with darker skin tones.
Championing Diverse Treatments
The diode laser’s precise wavelength makes it a preferred choice for hair removal treatments, as it can effectively target and destroy hair follicles to inhibit future growth. Due to its longer wavelength, which minimizes the risk of skin pigmentation, equipment using diode laser technology can effectively treat a variety of skin types, including darker skin tones.
Diode lasers are often employed in skin rejuvenation treatments to stimulate collagen production, improving the elasticity of the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They’re effective in treating mild to moderate signs of aging, helping to create a fresher, more youthful complexion.
Diode laser treatments are also often utilized for treating pigmented lesions, including age spots and sunspots. The laser targets the melanin within these lesions and then breaks down the pigment, which is then naturally eliminated over time by the body.
IPL effectively treats a variety of skin pigmentation issues, including sunspots, age spots, and freckles, by dispersing the pigment and promoting a more even skin tone. IPL treatments can also be used for patients with melasma; however, results can vary, and multiple treatment sessions are often necessary.
IPL treatments are excellent for addressing vascular skin concerns such as spider veins, broken capillaries and rosacea. These treatments target the hemoglobin in the blood, which causes blood vessels to constrict and eventually be absorbed into the body.
IPL is a better choice for skin rejuvenation treatments compared to diode lasers. IPL is used to stimulate collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and improving the skin’s overall texture. IPL can also help minimize the appearance of large pores and improve overall skin tone for a refreshed, radiant complexion.
For acne treatments, IPL targets and destroys acne-causing bacteria. It also can reduce inflammation, making IPL a viable treatment option for patients with mild-to-moderate acne. The broad-spectrum light and its ability to promote collagen production can also help reduce the appearance of acne scars.
While not as precise or effective as the diode laser, IPL can be used for hair removal. IPL hair removal treatments target melanin in hair follicles to inhibit growth, making them most effective on lighter skin tones.
Whatever You Choose, Laser Resellers Can Help
There’s a lot to consider when weighing the pros and cons of diode laser vs IPL devices, but whatever equipment you decide is best for your business, Laser Resellers can help you purchase gently used lasers and laser equipment at competitive prices. Our hard-working team inspects and refurbishes every machine we sell, so you can rest assured that you’ll never receive defective equipment, but just to be safe, everything we sell comes with a 30-day warranty.
Looking for a specific machine but don’t want to pay sky-high prices? Contact Laser-Resellers today!