it’s ripe in the industry

Lifting the lid on Laser & IPL Semi-Permanent Hair Removal

It is time to set the record straight; marketing slander is ripe in the beauty industry. So many salons, clinics and Medi-Spa’s outright lie to the public. We kicked off this series with Laser Hair Removal and Coupons continuing with HD Brows may as well call it a scam and today it is hair removal again.

Lies lies lies, that is what I read across so many websites, I could forgive beauty bloggers as in many cases the blogger has a love of beauty, rather than a trained professional career. But the competing clinics, spa’s and salons, that equates to marketing slander.

May as well start off with the punch line

Medical Grade Laser Machines and Medical Grade Intense Pulsed Light Machines (IPL) will give the same result. So how is it so many places, blogs and people are under the impression, IPL is ineffective for hair removal?


  • Salons compare cheap inferior IPL machines with Laser machines
  • Medical grade IPL machines used in Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery Clinics cost upwards of 40.000 Euro
  • Salons turn down laser machines providing ineffective treatment to gain more visits from the client
  • Lack of training, education and price pointed named as leading causes of ineffective treatment and injuries
  • Laser Hair Reduction can treat all skin types with the correct machines, is faster than IPL and is cheaper for the hair removal salon.

In a nutshell, by comparing Apples & Oranges. Right now you could order an IPL machine for under 5000 Euro, have it delivered to you and with no training start burning people. Lack of regulations is another issue with the industry in Ireland. IPL accounts for more injuries than the laser counterpart. Caused by lack of training or no training at all, in Ireland it is up to the manufacturer to provide training for the equipment. Even though insurance companies ask for details of accredited training, it is not a requirement in the industry.

Lack of access to training is just one of the reasons we decided to open Zest Academy. Providing specific courses on the correct usage of laser and IPL technologies for specific skin conditions & hair removal.

Recently, Zest increased its capabilities by purchasing Alexandrite and ND YAG Laser Machines. Before we had laser platforms, we had Medical Grade IPL. For over a year, we have been performing hair reduction with that machine. It is not the first Medical Grade IPL Emma has used in fact over the years Emma has owned and used many laser machines and IPL systems.

IPL will only work for people with light skin similar to the Alexandrite Laser Technology. IPL is most effective on types I & II whereas the laser continues through the skin type range. To treat all skin types, you either need an ND YAG and Alexandrite Laser or a Pulsed Diode Laser. When laser hair removal first started with technologies like the Ruby Laser, it was only possible to treat a small section of skin types namely Fitzpatrick Skin Types I & II. Now with advancements in technology we can treat all Fitzpatrick skin types I through to VI.

Research and development of laser & IPL technology have come a long way over the last 15 years. Every platform has its strong capabilities and then it will also treat other concerns secondary. For example, an Alexandrite laser will treat Rosacea and Acne but it is the IPL machine, specifically developed for that purpose.

Why do we chose to use a laser now for hair reduction?

In a nutshell speed treatment range and costs

An IPL machine has a very expensive flash lamp, and it is only good for so many flashes before replacement is needed. An IPL machine also requires a conductive gel similar to an ultrasound. A laser machine does not have this high-cost overhead. It does have consumables, for instance, lenses and windows, and it does require servicing. Even with the large investment needed for a laser machine it is still far more cost effective over the long run.

There is no denying a medical grade laser performs a much faster hair reduction treatment. With larger spot sizes and the much faster in the application, a laser is a superior machine to the IPL for permanent hair reduction. Superior in use but not in results, we have clients that were quite concerned with changing to the laser for their sessions. Many clients were commenting that this is the most effective hair removal they had had even with visiting salons with Candela Gentlelase, Lumenis & Cynosure equipment.

Addressing ineffective laser hair removal treatments in our article on Lasers and Groupon and similar coupon deals. How much is a medical grade laser machine? Upwards of 80.000 Euro, yes you can buy a house for that.

Common sense has to prevail when it comes to commercial ventures. You will read in the mentioned coupon article that the business is giving away 3/4 of the treatment value, something has to give, and somehow these establishments have to pay for their equipment. When major salons advertise buy 2 laser top-ups and receive, 3 warning bells have to sound. Effective laser hair removal means you only need one maybe two sessions per year after the initial up to 6 sessions. Why would you want to pre-purchase 2 to 3 years of a visit, makes no sense unless the establishment is expecting you to use them quickly?

Every day we are being contacted by clients expressing their annoyance of not gaining the expected results. In so many ways, we are quite happy with the coupon led industry, it is, in fact, supplying us with clients.

People want value for money, but they also want results and is that so much to ask?

Back to the laser machine and IPL machine, as I was saying you can purchase an IPL for under 5000 Euro. At the other end of the scale, you have medical grade machines. These systems used in Medical Aesthetic Clinics & Plastic Surgery Clinics, far removed from the 5000- Euro counterparts. Costing upwards of 40.000 Euro, a highly technical and powerful piece of kit.

Effective treatment of skin concerns or in the application of hair reduction requires quality medical grade equipment, professional training and experience. It saddens us when we hear about therapists being told to turn down laser machines to gain more visits by the client. Similar to pitting IPL against Laser for no other reason than an extra maybe sale through ambiguity. Only then to provide ineffective treatment with machines turned down.

Laser versus IPL for hair removal

Let us examine the differences and dispel the myths

The image is an everyday way many clinics are presenting IPL to scare the public into using their services. If a business can so easily lie about machinery what else do they stretch the truth with?

  1. Medical Grade Laser & Medical Grade IPL both achieve the result of permanent hair reduction within 6 sessions. In some very rare cases, a client may need more than 6 sessions although this is quite unusual.
  2. Medical Grade Lasers & IPL both have a slight stinging sensation, if it is virtually pain-free the clinic has turned down the machine.
  3. IPL is most effective on Fitzpatrick Skin Types I & II and in many cases III. An Alexandrite Laser too works from Skin Types I, II and III. To gain all skin types, the clinic must have ND YAG and Alexandrite Lasers & or a Pulsed Diode Laser Machine.
  4. Both Medical Grade IPL & Medical Grade Laser achieve the same end result.

Zest use the Medical industry standard in Laser Technology the Alexandrite and ND YAG platforms from CYNOSURE. There is no reason on this earth to lie to the general public, telling the truth is just what the public deserve.

To recap on the benefits of Laser over IPL
  1. The use of a medical grade laser over an IPL will gain a faster hair reduction treatment.
  2. It allows the treating clinic a greater range of skin types that can be treated.
  3. It is far more cost effective for the hair removal clinic.

It is understandable that people want value for money and effective treatments. Despite when it comes down to Laser versus IPL and companies blatantly lying just to make a few extra bucks you have to wonder what other corners are being cut. Zest provide cost effective laser and IPL treatments plus hair removal. We do not buy into the price point and price wars as the losers are the client every time.

We promote a truth in advertising and marketing in all that we do, we may lose a few clients that are only interested in the cheapest possible price although we are after long-term clients that also want the best results possible.

Laser hair removal Swords < > Payment plans for laser hair removal > Hair removal for women > Hair removal for men > Hair removal home > Bikini line hair removal

Scientific Evaluation of VSP Nd:YAG Lasers for Hair Removal

Peer-Reviewed research (heavy reading) scientific white papers on the effectiveness of semi-permanent hair removal

Effective, Permanent Hair Reduction Using a Pulsed, High-Power Diode Laser

Laser hair removal scientific principles and practical aspects

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Emma Ryall
Educator, Proprietor, Aesthetician at Zest Skin Clinic & Laser Hair Removal
Licenced Aesthetician, CIBTAC, ITEC and CIDESCO accredited professional therapist with over 14 years industry experience, specialising in skincare. Emma is also a master trainer City & Guilds – Accreditation No: 500/5753/4