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The Laser Hair Removal Battle - Ipl vs Diode vs Nd YAG

Sick of waxing only to see hair grow back? Laser hair removal offers long-lasting results when done correctly for your skin. But with IPL, diode, and Nd: YAG technologies, which is best? This guide compares how each laser interacts with melanin for safe, effective hair reduction. Understand the pros and risks so you can choose the treatment with minimal discomfort and the best results.

Laser Technologies for Hair Removal

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal is a widely used method for reducing unwanted hair through the application of non-coherent broad-spectrum light. It is considered effective and safe, with a range of devices available for both in-office and home use.

IPL hair removal works by emitting broadband pulses of light that target melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color. The light is absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicles which heats up and damages the follicles, causing slower hair growth over multiple sessions. IPL is less precise than laser treatments since it uses broader spectrum light.

This laser technology is best for people with lighter skin who have darker hair colors like brown and black. Since it uses broader spectrum light, there is a higher risk of unwanted light absorption by melanin in the skin for those with darker complexions. This can lead to side effects like discomfort, irritation and hyperpigmentation. IPL may require more sessions to see the best results due to its less precise action.

Diode Laser

Diode laser hair removal is an effective and safe method for long-term hair reduction. It has been shown to work well for many skin types. The settings can be adjusted to balance the effectiveness of hair removal while maintaining patient comfort. 

Diode laser treatment is generally suitable for skin types I through III. It is most effective on darker hair such as black, brown and dark blond. By precisely targeting only the melanin in the hair with an 810nm or 940nm wavelength, less energy is absorbed into the surrounding skin.

Diode laser hair removal works by concentrating light directly on the melanin in hair follicles. This focused light causes heat damage directly to the hair follicles, reducing hair growth by up to 69% with fewer required sessions than IPL. 

Nd: YAG Laser

Nd: YAG laser hair removal is an established and effective method for reducing unwanted hair in different skin types, especially darker skin Fitzpatrick IV-V. It provides long-lasting results and possible permanent hair removal up to 73%. The treatment is generally safe with temporary mild side effects. Multiple sessions are usually needed to get optimal results. 

Nd: YAG delivers a longer 1064nm infrared wavelength to the hair follicles. This deeper penetrating light targets melanin more selectively than other lasers. It has a lower risk of side effects for darker skin tones due to reduced melanin absorption in the skin compared to shorter wavelengths. Treatment is generally more comfortable and safer compared to other lasers with minimal discomfort.

IPL vs Diode vs Nd: YAG


  • IPL may require 8-12 treatments on average for finer lighter hair

  • Diode offers noticeable hair reduction after only 4-6 treatments

  • Nd: YAG achieves moderate hair reduction after typically 6-8 sessions

Diode laser is considered the most effective for permanent hair reduction and IPL is least effective due to its broader treatment mechanism

Comfort level and pain

  • IPL treatments feel like a hot snap that fades quickly. 

  • Diode lasers cause a mild prickly or pinching sensation lessened by cooling features

  • Nd: YAG treatments is one of the most comfortable laser hair removal with minimal thermal injury from its deep wavelength


  • IPL has a lower upfront cost per session but multiple spa visits are usually needed

  • Diode laser ranges in cost per session with strong results after a number of total treatments

  • Nd: YAG costs are with moderate results after a number of total treatments

Diode and Nd: YAG may be more cost-effective long term due to the longevity of results with fewer overall treatments.

Safety and side effects

  • IPL has a higher risk of side effects like hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation

  • Diode laser is moderately safe with a small risk of short term effects like redness or swelling

  • Nd: YAG has the lowest risk of side effects even for darker complexions due to deep penetration

Making the best choice for you

General Recommendation

  • If cost is the primary concern or you want an at-home option, IPL may be a good choice as the upfront cost is typically lower compared to other lasers. However, results using IPL may take longer to achieve.

  • For pale to olive skin tones, diode laser hair removal can be highly effective at reducing hair with fewer required treatments compared to IPL. Treatment using diode laser is generally safe for skin types I-III.

  • Individuals with darker skin complexions seeking the safest laser option should consider Nd: YAG hair removal. It stands out for its ability to treat pigmented skin with minimal risk of side effects. Nd: YAG laser is the best choice for skin types IV-V.

  • While multiple sessions are usually required for all laser options, ND: YAG and diode lasers may prove more cost-effective in the long run due to longer-lasting results achieved with fewer overall sessions.

Recommended Option 

General recommendations may help those who know their skin and hair. The right laser choice depends on your individual skin and hair characteristics. Consultation with licensed laser technicians at your nearest laser hair removal clinics is necessary for laser selection. They can evaluate your Fitzpatrick skin type, examine hair color and texture, recommend the safest technology, and customize a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Visit our hair removal clinic in Fredericton

Vibrant Salon & Spa in Fredericton has all the leading laser technologies, Diode, Nd: YAG and Alexandrite laser. Our laser specialists examine patient skin and hair type to recommend the best permanent hair removal option for your individual needs. We use a Skintel melanin reader to accurately analyze skin tone. This allows us to choose the best laser device and offer a customized treatment plan for optimal results. Treatments are performed by highly skilled professionals in a relaxing, private setting. Book your laser hair removal session at one of the best hair removal clinics and enjoy hair-free skin forever. 

Final Words

The ideal laser depends on your unique skin and hair colors.

  1. IPL provides cost-effective treatments but yields inconsistent results.

  2. Diode laser is highly effective for most skin tones

  3. Nd: YAG laser offers the safest results even on darker skin.

Consulting a laser hair removal expert is the ideal step to determining the right technology and customized treatment plan for long-lasting hair reduction. With the right laser choice and proper technique, you can bid unwanted hair goodbye for good.


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