1. Lasers achieve higher peak energies than IPL devices do. A glaring example of
why lasers are superior to IPL devices for dermatology treatments is the fact that
an IPL cannot remove a tattoo
or a birthmark. The stubborn ink in tattoos and the deep seated melanin in birthmarks
can only be removed by high powered q-switched lasers that pulse light in increments
of billionths of a second. Because IPL treatments do not generate the same power,
they are useless to treat these conditions.
2. Lasers can affect permanent changes in conditions such as sun
damage. IPL treatments are very good at blanching freckles, age or sun spots created
by prolonged exposure to the sun. Where they fall short is permanently removing
these spots. Because IPL devices do not achieve the same peak power that laser treatments
do, (q-switched) lasers are able to permanently remove sun spots and freckles whereas IPL
3. Lasers are very specific to the conditions they treat, whereas IPL machines are
generalists. We like to describe an IPL as the "printer/fax/copier/scanner"
of the laser world. While it is marketed as a solution for many different types
of conditions (sun spots,
wrinkles and redness to name a few), it is not specifically designed to treat any
of these conditions. A laser, in contrast, is usually FDA approved for one condition
or several related conditions. The pulsed dye laser is an example and is approved
treatment of vascular lesions such as port wine (red) birth marks and Rosacea.
The fact that lasers are specific to a small group of related conditions means that
they are more specialized.
4. Lasers are safer for dark skin types. IPL machines, because they do not use one
specific type of light are riskier to use with darker skin types. The incidence
of blisters or burns in type V skin (African American) is higher with IPL devices
than other lasers like the Nd:Yg laser designed specifically for darker skin types.
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