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  • Writer's pictureZak Lockhead

Which IPL device should I buy?

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

So you have decided to start offering IPL treatments such as hair removal and Skin rejuvenation and dont know what machine to buy? Or maybe you have been in this industry years and you are sick of the poor results you are getting with your current machine. With all the different names of the machines and different things they do, it can be extremely hard to know what to pick and even harder to know which IPL device is best. Believe me, I have been there!

To try help, I have written this article that outlines the pros and cons of each device so you can decide which is best for you. Before we begin, it may be worth having a read of my other articles ‘How does hair removal work' ’ and ‘how does skin rejuvenation work’ which runs through how the devices work if you want a deeper understanding of these devices.

Now, as I mentioned there are many different machines available and instead of boring you to death going through the ins and outs of each, I have narrowed this article down to my three personal favourites and this article will give you a comprehensive overview of each. For this, I have chosen two IPL devices (the E-light machine and SHR) and 1 laser device (The Laser diode).

What is the difference between the machines?

To understand this, I will briefly explain the difference between IPL devices and Laser machines. 'IPL’ stands for intense pulsed light. Basically, this machine releases intense pulses of light (as the name suggests) with the full range of wavelengths. With these devices, we use filters that filter out certain wavelengths so we can offer the treatment we want. For example, if we are using the device for hair removal, we can use a cut-off filter of 640nm that removes all wavelengths below 640nm. This ensures we are using the device for hair removal and not offering the full spectrum of treatments.

IPL hair removal
The IPL device uses filters to only release specific wavelengths of light

The Laser diode machine is slightly different, and actually is a Laser machine. This machine uses a diode (which is sort of like a battery) as a laser medium to release energy as light with the wavelengths 755nm, 808nm and 1064nm.

Now the difference between IPL and Laser diodes mainly relates to the treatments you can offer and the different clients you can treat which we will go through in the following sections.

Laser diode, E-light and SHR IPL machines
The E-light IPL machine (Left), SHR IPL machine (middle) and Laser diode (right) are all beauty machines that are highly effective!

The E-light, the SHR and the Laser Diode.

What is the E-light machine?

The E-light machine is an IPL device which releases a wide range of wavelengths (approximately 400-1200nm) making it suitable for all treatments including:

  • Hair removal

  • Skin Rejuvenation

  • Vascular therapy (i.e. spider vein removal)

  • Pigment therapy (i.e. removing pigmented lesions)

  • Acne treatment

A great feature of this machine is that it also utilises radiofrequency to maximise treatments. This is simply the release of non-harmful radio waves from the device which penetrate the skin and combine with the release of light to make treatments more efficient!

However, there are some potential drawbacks with this machine. Firstly, it flashes 1 time per second meaning the treatments can take longer than other devices. Secondly, it can only be used in Skin types 1 to 4, meaning that it is not advised for those with darker skin types.

E-light IPL device
E-light IPL device

What is the SHR machine

The SHR machine, which stands for ‘Super Hair Removal’ is also an IPL device with one difference, it releases wavelengths at 640nm. Why you ask? Well this wavelength is perfect for targeting melanin in the hair follicle, making this device highly effective for hair removal treatments. If you are just planning on offering hair removal treatments, this machine makes a great addition to your salon as it flashes up to 10 times per second (meaning you can complete large areas very quickly) and it also can be used for individuals with skin types 1 to 5. However, this device can only be used for hair removal treatments making its application more limited compared to other devices.

SHR IPL device
SHR IPL device

What is the Laser Diode

As I mentioned, the Laser diode is actually a laser machine. This releases wavelengths of 755nm, 808nm and 1064nm which effectively are used for laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation treatments. The advantages of the Laser diode is that it flashes up to 10 times per second similar to the SHR, meaning treatment speed is very fast. This device is also suitable in all skin types! A final advantage of this machine is that you can advertise 'Laser hair removal'. The only real drawback of the Laser diode is that is does not offer a full spectrum of treatments when compard to the E-light machine and it is more expensive when compared to the other machines. A full overview is available in the table below of each machine.

Laser Diode
Laser Diode machine

Can we combine machines into one device?

Yes, it is also possible to combine machines! This can be done to maximise treatment efficiency, saving you space and money!! For example, here at Dr Lockhead Laser Specialist we combine the E-light and SHR into one machine. Why do we do this? Well this allows you to offer every treatment with the added benefit of SHR meaning that when you offer hair removal, you can do it extremely fast.

Advantages of IPL
Overview of each IPL machine

So what machine should I buy?

So after all that, what do I think you should buy? I think this all depends on your clientele, your budget and the services you want to offer. All three devices are extremely effective and will bring you extremely good results! If you are offering just hair removal treatments, then the SHR or Diode are extremely good choices and can be used in most clients. Whereas if you’re a beauty clinic offering a full range of treatments, the E-light or even E-light combined with SHR is fantastic! Now I understand that even after reading this article you still might not have decided, but remember we offer a free consultation to help you with anything you need.

Which supplier should I buy from?

I have designed and supply all these devices and more which have been developed by me. I have worked at some of the leading research medical facilities in the United Kingdom so I understand what makes a great medical device. More so, my prices are affordable and are some of the lowest in the United Kingdom. I will not be beaten on build quality or customer service.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Dr Lockhead

0113 418 0464


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