A Quick Comparison of IPL and Diode Hair Removal

No, I don't go around with my arms up, armpits bared for all the world to see, but I still went and had my pits zapped to lessen hair growth and to fulfill my dream of having smoother and whiter underarms. I've tried both IPL and Diode and what follows is my side by side comparison of the two.

First, let's get all scientific and discuss the difference behind IPL and Diode. IPL, which stands for intense pulsed light, makes use of light to zap hair follicles, while diode, uses laser to do the exact same thing. But isn't laser a form of light, or vice-versa? Just go ask your doctor what the difference is because I really don't know:p


The initial process for both IPL and diode is shaving off your underarm hair. Then it begins to differ because in diode the attendant applied a cooling gel liberally over my shaved pits, while in IPL the derma placed ice against my pits for a few seconds to numb the area.

Another difference I noticed was that in diode, I was made to wear dark goggles, while in IPL, I had a blindfold on.

With diode, the probe was rubbed against my pits for a few seconds with the tip getting warmer and warmer and when I could no longer stand the heat, I would signal the attendant to stop. It took less than a minute per armpit, and the shaving probably took longer than the actual laser treatment.

Although I couldn't see anything with the blindfold on, I could "see" a bright flash of light every time my derma directed a shot towards my pits. I really don't know how the IPL probe looked like, but from what I experienced, I'm imagining that it looks like a gun with my derma pulling the trigger with every shot.

Pain Factor

Diode is virtually painless and at most, the slow heating probe can get uncomfortably hot, but once it gets too hot, the session stops. That's why they don't use topical anesthesia with diode, because they need your signal on when to stop.

With IPL, every "shot" was like having a rubber band snapped against my pit. Even with my pits numbed with ice, I still winced each time I heard the machine turning on and just bit my lip with every shot. I think I had like 8-10 shots per pit, so that's a lot of owwies right there.

On a scale of 1-10, with a Brazilian wax being an excruciating 10 based on my experience, I would give the IPL a solid 6. Ladies, just think of how you won't have to shave, wax or pluck every two weeks or so and the pain will be well worth it.


Pits feel hot and sore after every session of IPL and diode, but the discomfort disappears in just a few hours. The post-care instructions are more or less the same (i.e. don't wet pits for the next few hours, use unscented deo etc).

Hair will start to grow back after IPL and diode, but they will fall off on their own after a few days. But since I'm impatient, I would pluck out the hair using my fingers and they easily came off after my diode treatment. Not so with the IPL, because even when I used tweezers, the hair didn't fall off easily.

When all of the hair fell off, my pits remained hair free for about a month and a half with both IPL and diode. Regrowth began as very fine hair and it took about two weeks for the thicker strands to come in. As I said earlier, I don't really flash my pits for people to ogle and stare at, but the convenience of not having to regularly groom my pits is just fantastic!


Diode is more expensive than IPL, going for Php4,500/session to IPL's Php2,500/session. But there is a reason for the difference because diode is more effective than IPL when it comes to hair reduction, and the diode machine is more expensive. Even my derma who administered my IPL admitted that diode was more effective, as 5-6 diode sessions equals 8-10 of IPL when it comes to results.

Take note though that there is no such thing as 100% hair free either for IPL or diode, at most there will be a 90% hair reduction but the regrowth will be super fine.


Personally, I would recommend the diode over the IPL any day because it doesn't hurt as much and it's more effective. If you're deterred by the price and you're in the QC area (or willing to drive there), check out Skin House and their 50% discount if you avail of 6 sessions, that way the Php4,500 is whittled down to Php2,250. You'll still have to shell out Php13,500 in one go, but that's way cheaper than the original Php27,000. However, please ask first if the promo is still ongoing, because it's been a few months since I last went there, and that could have been just a limited promo for the store opening.

What I really want is to have my eyes lasered because I'm so tired of wearing glasses. But for the meantime, while I'm saving up the Php40,000++ needed for LASIK, the only laser going near my body will be directed at my pits.