What’s the difference? Do you choose a laser, IPL or LED device for your business? Jenni Gilbert looks at their differences and, so, what could be best for you.
Navigating the maze of light technologies and devices that offer them on the market today is positively dizzying.
If you’re thinking of upscaling your business with light technology or want to expand your range of services, the best first step would be to talk to reputable suppliers with a wide range of devices on offer. But to the basic differences …
Laser devices generate a single, very concentrated wavelength (colour) of light to target melanin. Lasers have a spectrum of light – violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Ultraviolet has a shorter wavelength than the visible violet light. Infrared has a longer wavelength than visible red light. White light is a mixture of the colors of the visible spectrum. The wavelength (in some cases, two are combined) used depends on the condition being treated.
IPL produces a broad spectrum (band) of wavelengths as opposed to a single one. In saying that, the effectiveness of laser over IPL only really applies to those who have both very dark skin and dark hair follicles. If a client has olive or lighter-coloured skin, both devices can provide the same results. But this also depends on the power of the individual device and the knowledge, skill and experience of the operator. The difference between IPL and LED machines is the power delivery and actual power. IPL, as the name suggests, uses intense broadband light that is pulsed, thus the power outputs of IPL are much higher, delivered over a very short time, measured in hundredths of a second.
LED on the other hand is more “background” broadband light measured over minutes. It does not deliver high-heat energy to injure, destroy or burn specific skin tissues or chromophores to achieve results. Rather, the skin cells are stimulated by absorbing specific wavelength energies to begin the rejuvenation process. IPL is great for pigmentation, while LEDs can help with acne and help with gradual collagen stimulation and healing times after more aggressive treatments such as IPL and laser. LEDs are renowned for giving clients a radiant glow after treatment and, over weeks and months, help soften lines and wrinkles and firm the skin for a more youthful look. They can be had as often as once a week and operators say their clients become “addicted” to the results, making for a good ROI.