Intense pulsed light (IPL), or high-intensity pulsed light therapy is based on high-intensity pulses of light that penetrate the skin. There are several different machines that emit different wavelengths of IPL to penetrate different distances into the skin.
IPL is a non-invasive, and relatively painless, treatment. The procedure itself is often described as feeling like a rubber band being snapped on the skin. Unlike laser resurfacing, chemical peels and dermabrasion, there is almost no downtime with IPL. Furthermore, because IPL treatments are non-invasive, there are no blisters, burns or long recovery period after your treatment is complete.
IPL treatments are ‘non-ablative’ – meaning they affect the middle (dermal) layer of the skin without causing too much damage to the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). The treatment works by stimulating the dermal layer of the skin to produce more collagen. Intense Pulsed Light is an effective treatment for:
- Enlarged pores
- Age spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Liver spots
- Acne and Acne Scars
- Facial flushing
- Broken capillaries
- Minor sun damage
- Hypopigmentation (pale spots)
- Hair Removal
How IPL Works:
Different wavelengths treat different skin conditions. A broad spectrum of light is transmitted through a small, smooth, transparent handpiece which is gently placed over the skin. The light energy penetrates just below the skin’s surface, damaging either the melanin (skin pigment) or blood vessels. The body’s natural skin repair mechanisms work to remove the damaged tissue and produce a smoother skin appearance by stimulating the production of collagen. Depending on what you are treating with IPL, it can take 3-6 treatments to see a significant result and treatments can be spaced out every 3-4 weeks.
McGuinness, Helen. Facials & Skincare, In Essence. 2007
Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Dermatology; Intense Pulsed Light