Intense Pulsed Light – IPL
- Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a non-invasive light treatment, which works in a similar way to laser therapy. The difference is that IPL delivers multiple wavelengths of light energy, unlike a laser which emits only one specific wavelength.
- IPL is used for brown spots (eg age spots, sun spots and freckles), red discolouration (eg rosacea, surface capillaries), acne, permanent hair reduction and gentle rejuvenation.
- Light energy is transferred to heat when it is absorbed by the target cell within the skin. This heat causes damage to the target cell and does not affect the surrounding skin. The cells that have been targeted by the light will be eliminated by the body may slough (peel) off.
- The best results for IPL occur when there is a strong contrast between the skin colour and the colour of the target area (eg fair skin and dark hair).
- Most people can be treated with IPL, but darker skin types will require lower energy treatments to protect the surrounding skin. This may mean it will take more treatments to achieve desired results.
- We encourage a consultation at least 7 days before IPL is performed. During this consultation, we will discuss your skin concerns and provide you with a written plan. Often we will suggest a combination of treatments or therapies to best achieve your cosmetic goals.
- Sun protection is mandatory (at least SPF30) for 4 – 6 weeks prior to treatment. This makes the treatment safer for the surrounding skin. Treatment may be delayed until autumn or winter to reduce the risk of treating tanned skin.
- 2 weeks before your treatment, you should stop all skincare products containing retinol/retinoids, vitamin A, exfoliants and acids.
- You may also be asked to avoid certain procedures to the treatment area such as waxing or injections.
- On the day of treatment, photographs will be taken of the treatment area.
- The skin in the area to be treated will be cleaned and marked with a white pen. Photographs will be repeated.
- You will be asked to wear dark glasses to protect your eyes from the light.
- Ultrasound gel is applied to the treatment area. This often feels cold.
Anaesthetic and pain medication are not required. You may feel a ‘flick’ like a hot rubber band hitting the skin when the IPL is used. You will still notice a slight flash of light even with your eyes closed and wearing appropriate eye protection.
The treatment time depends on the size, and which area of your body is being treated.
For best results, IPL often needs to be performed in a series of treatments.
The effectiveness of IPL depends on what you want the treatment to fix. The results include.
- IPL can get rid of 50%-75% of broken blood vessels that cause redness on the skin.* While treated veins could completely go away, new ones might show up later.
- Elimination of some/much of the flush caused by rosacea causes.
- Many women say IPL makes them appear more youthful, because it reduces the signs of aging and makes skin tone more even
- You may see significantly less of the brown spots and redness caused by sun damage.
- IPL may help if you have acne or the scarring it causes.
- The outcome of hair removal depends on the hair and skin color, the area being treated, and hormonal influences. You’ll get the most benefit if you have light skin and dark hair.
What are the risks of IPL treatment?
IPL is a very safe procedure when conducted by a qualified health professional. At myPRODERM, our staff have undertaken laser safety training and industry training, as well as have experience using other devices.
The day of and after IPL treatment you can expect redness, swelling and sometimes crusting (when pigmentation has been treated). These are all transient and resolve within a few hours to days.
Serious side effects are unlikely when all before- and after-treatment advice is followed, and the appropriate settings are selected for your skin type.
Risk of serious side effects are increased in darker skin types. We will discuss risks specific t you, during your consultation.