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What are the differences between laser Nd:YAG and IPL?​

Nd:YAG

The Nd:YAG is the newest laser currently in use for the purpose of hair removal. Operating with a wavelength of 1064 nm, it penetrates deeper than any other laser to avoid damaging the epidermis and targets the hair follicle directly.

IPL​

IPL operates differently to laser as it sends out multiple rays of light at different wavelengths at the same time. This allows for a faster coverage of the area treated, but a less targeted approach than a laser. While the Nd:YAG targets the area beneath the epidermis, IPL targets above and below in a fragmented approach.

Clinical Study Findings​

We have reviewed two separate clinical studies comparing the results of both treatments on subjects with skin types ranging from IV to VI on the Fitzpatrick scale.

Study no 1.

Long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser vs. intense pulsed light for hair removal in dark skin: a randomized controlled trial.

Results

Out of the 50 initial participants, 39 completed the study. Six months after the last treatment session a hair reduction of 79.4% was recorded for the areas treated with the Nd:YAG laser and 54.4% for the areas treated with IPL. There were only temporary side effects recorded for both types of treatment.

Subjects recorded more pain with the laser treatment than the IPL treatment but 74% of the participants recorded a preference for the Nd:YAG laser treatments due to the end results.

Study no 2.

Comparative study on a single treatment response to long pulse Nd:YAG lasers and intense pulse light therapy for hair removal on skin type IV to VI–is longer wavelengths lasers preferred over shorter wavelengths lights for assisted hair removal.

Results

The 11 subjects described the Nd:YAG treatment as more painful than the IPL treatment, but that both were tolerable. Six weeks after the treatment a reduction in hair regrowth was recorded for both types of treatment, but higher on the Nd:YAG side (73% compared to 64% on the IPL side).

No side effects were observed on the Nd:YAG side, but some of the subjects experienced pigmentation changes on the IPL side. 3 of the subjects experienced blistering followed by post-inflammatory pigmentation on the IPL side. The final results of the study determine that while both treatment types are safe for darker skin types, the efficacy and safety of the Nd:YAG is higher than those of IPL treatments.

Conclusion

Both Nd:YAG laser  and IPL have been proven to be safe for use on all skin types, based on different clinical study results.

However, the Nd:YAG laser is a clear leader in terms of efficacy in hair regrowth reduction and safety on darker skins.

Although long-term results are not yet available for the Nd:YAG laser on any skin types, the results yielded from different studies provide us with the conclusion that the laser type is more effective as well as safer on darker skins.

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