IPL is not laser and vice versa, although the term laser is often used generically. Both IPL and laser therapy use light that is converted into heat energy to destroy cells that produce melanin or broken capillaries that lead to the appearance of pigment and red veins respectively.
The major difference between the two is the type of light they emit. Laser provides a single band of light colour (monochromatic) to target a specific area and condition. IPL, on the other hand, provides a broad spectrum of light (polychromatic), which covers a bigger area and produce different wavelengths. In other words, laser has a more targeted approach. Although both provide high intensity, IPL can be more controlled and therefore less likely to be painful than laser.