VBeam vs Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): What’s the difference?

Written by Erin Foster, LA, Licensed Aesthetician on August 8, 2016 9 Comments

VBeam vs IPL

Laser photo-rejuvenation treatments are highly effective laser skin therapies that can treat a variety of indications including redness, sun damage, pigmentation issues, age spots, fine lines, and large pores. Most patients also find that photofacials also leave their skin feeling softer and smoother than before the treatment.

Two of the most popular forms of photo-rejuvenation, IPL PhotoFacial and VBeam, can produce very similar results. However, there are some key differences between the two lasers.

What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?

IPL™ PhotoFacial uses precise amounts of visible light (IPL is ‘intense pulsed light’) to effectively treat facial redness and improve sun-damaged skin. The light energy is absorbed by the damaged tissue resulting in a stimulation of the production of collagen. This reaction addresses common signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.

IPL devices can use a variety of different wavelengths or colors of light in the same pulse. As such, IPL treatments can be customized for a variety of different indications and levels of severity.

What is VBeam?

VBeam is a laser device that emits a single wavelength (595 nm) or color of light in order to safely and effectively remove vascular and pigmented discolorations, including rosacea, sun spots, age spots, freckles, port wine stains, and facial veins.

Which laser is better for treating sun damage?

IPL treatments tend to address sun damage better than VBeam, especially for patients with lighter skin tones.

Which laser is better for treating redness?

Both laser types are great for treating redness. However, the VBeam usually achieves an optimal result in fewer treatments compared to IPL.

Which laser type is better for addressing rosacea?

VBeam tends to better address rosacea in far fewer treatments. Typically it can take IPL up to 6 treatments to resolve rosacea-induced redness while VBeam can yield similar results in 3 to 4 treatments. Additionally, VBeam also helps with rosacea-induced acne.

Which treatment works best for broken blood vessels?

The VBeam laser can use different attachments and settings enabling it to treat blood vessels of different sizes and depths. IPL only works to treat overall redness but not specific vessels.

In summary, my vote as it relates to the issues addressed are:

Issue IPL VBeam
Sun Damage Preferred Good
Redness Good Preferred
Rosacea Good Preferred
Vascular Not Treatable Preferred

Which treatment is the safest?

In the hands of an experienced provider, both IPL and VBeam are relatively safe. However, the VBeam laser does have a built-in safety function: it uses a spray of cold air along with each pulse of laser light to prevent skin damage or overheating. This benefit is not available for IPL, which does make it possible to overheat or potentially burn the skin if an IPL treatment is not performed by an experienced technician.

Which treatment has less downtime?

Compared to other laser treatment options, the downtime associated with both IPL and VBeam is relatively low. That said though, VBeam generally has a shorter recovery period compared to IPL. Most patients will experience some redness and light swelling for 2-4 days after treatment. IPL, on the other hand, can involve some scabbing and temporary pigmentation over the entire treatment area that lasts a week.

Overall what’s better: IPL or VBeam?

The answer to this question depends on the specific needs and characteristics of the individual patient. While it’s great for patients to understand how IPL and VBeam differ, the best person to answer this question is a skilled laser technician with experience in both platforms.

If you are interested in VBeam or IPL, please contact us today for a consultation.



Erin Foster, LA

Erin Foster is a licensed aesthetician experienced in analyzing and determining which treatments are best for each individual client’s needs. She has diverse knowledge in skin care products and ingredients. Erin specializes in laser hair removal, IPL, V-Beam, chemical peels, HydraFacials, Cooltouch, and microdermabrasion.

9 Responses to “VBeam vs Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): What’s the difference?”

  1. Avatar Kristen says:

    This was a very helpful post, thanks for sharing. I’m considering a laser treatment for my skin but there are so many choices (even beyond IPL options). Do you have another post comparing other lasers?

  2. Avatar Gracen says:

    Great post, It has helped me decide to go for IPL treatments!

  3. Avatar Curious... says:

    I have read that someone with melasma should not have any form of IPL (even BBL) treatments since it can worsen melasma; is this correct? Is the V Beam safe or safer than the IPL for someone who has melasma? Your response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for posting this informative article.

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Curious, thanks for reading our blog and submitting this great question! You are correct, patients with melasma must approach laser treatments with caution as heated lasers can “fire back” and make melasma worst. Your best bet would be to get an in-person consultation with a trained provider who has experience dealing with melasma.

      If you are in the Austin area please give us a call! Erin Solorzano would be happy to give you a complimentary consult and provide a treatment plan for your specific concerns.

      WD Staff

  4. Avatar Callie says:

    I didn’t know that laser photo-rejuvenation can treat port wine stains, and I have never heard of the VBeam before. It is interesting that a single wavelength of light is an effective treatment for this. My sister has a port wine stain birthmark on her neck and shoulder that she wants to get rid of this summer. I will tell her to look into these options for treatment.

  5. Avatar Cheyenne says:

    Is there anyway you can post before and after pictures on here? I have called a few times and they said they don’t have before or after a only what is on this link which doesn’t have Any either

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Cheyenne,

      We apologize for the issue, currently we do not have any cases available. Being able to show cases requires patient consent and we do not have any who have consented to their photo usage thus far.

      We’ll try to contact previous patients to see if we can get their consent for photo usage. As soon as we get a case in we can email you!

      Sorry again for the issue,
      WD Staff

  6. Avatar Ally says:

    This was so concise and straightforward – VERY helpful. Thank you!!

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