Shaving: This is simple, inexpensive and painless, but requires a lifetime commitment to maintain a hair-free appearance. It can result in stubble and possible skin irritation.
Plucking: Gives a nicer appearance than shaving, but it is tedious, painful and complicated, especially for larger areas like legs and back.
Waxing: Can cover bigger areas; the result may last for a month or more. The process is painful and can cause allergic reactions and inflammation of the hair follicles.
Needle epilation: Uses an electrified needle inserted into each hair follicle. Done professionally, it offers long term /permanent hair removal. However, each hair must be individually treated, it is painful and it may result in scars. Many treatments are needed – sometimes more than 20.
Laser: Uses the same "Selective Photothermolysis" technique as IPL. This converts light from the laser into heat in the hair follicles, leading to destruction of the hair and follicle. The light is monochromatic (only one wavelength). Typically the light is delivered in a spot only a few millimetres in diameter. To treat larger areas, the spot has to be moved many times – which takes time and leaves a risk of missed hairs. The use of light energy to destroy hair follicles revolutionised hair removal, and led to the development of IPL.