IPL (with RF) vs Laser


The similarities

IPL and laser are both light-based treatments, in which an intense pulse of light is flashed into the treatment area. The heat energy carried by the light is transmitted through the skin, and absorbed by the target, causing it to heat up and then break down, after which it is naturally removed by the body.

The differences

The general difference between the treatment types are as follows:

  1. IPL is “intense pulsed light” that is delivered with a bright computer-controlled flash gun.
  2. IPL with RF is IPL with the addition of bipolar radio frequency (RF) heat energy. This enables us to reduce the IPL intensity, which enable us to treat a wider range of skin types more kindly. The RF energy also has rejuvenating properties. Some companies refer to this type of treatment with their own trademark. For example:
    1. elōsTM (or ELOS) “ELectical Optical Synergy”, E-LightTM, trademarks of Syneron Canada Corporation (ref)
    2. MPL® “Multi Pulsed Light”, a trademark of SkinFirst.
  3. Laser produces a more intense and purer type of light than IPL. Typically a different type of laser is required to treat each condition, whereas IPL can treat a range of treatment by just changing a filter.
  4. IPL has a larger treatment area than laser. IPL typically treats 50-90mm2, which is up to 4-12 times more area than a laser, which has a typical spot size of 7-12mm2.

The practical differences


The scientific differences