Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)
IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light. It is a very a popular treatment in our practice. Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a non-invasive and non-ablative treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of the skin. It can also treat unwanted hair. IPL works on the same principles as lasers, in that light energy is absorbed into targeted cells with color, in the skin and in the hair follicle. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific targeted cells and triggers their elimination. The ideal candidate for IPL hair reduction is someone with light skin and dark hair. IPL can also greatly benefit people struggling with acne.
Commonly treated conditions:
- Spider angiomas
- Port wine stains
- Broken facial veins
- Diffuse redness in the cheeks
- Red thread veins of the legs
- Freckles and age marks
- Facial laxity and wrinkles
- Removal of unwanted dark hair
- Mild to moderate acne scars
- Mild to moderate stretch marks
IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The advantage of IPL therapy is its minimal downtime – a patient can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.
A “Fotofacial” or “Photo-rejuvenation” is a procedure for patients who have sun damage, broken capillaries, and some skin laxity and want to treat all three skin conditions at the same time. IPL for hair reduction, acne, or rejuvenating aged skin requires a series of treatments.
Our medical aesthetician will go over the procedure details with you and explain any risks and possible complications. Your medical and personal history will be reviewed, to make sure you have no contraindications. Patients with Asian or darker skin may be asked to pre-treat with medical grade skincare, as IPL can sometimes cause hyper-pigmentation in those skin types.
Your skin will be cleansed with a basic cleanser to remove any make up, sunscreen, and topical products. After cleansing your eyes are covered with protective eye wear. The treatment areas will be covered with a cooling gel. The laser is then pulsed slowly over the entire area. Once the area is treated and cooled, the gel is washed off and finishing lotion and sunscreen are applied.
If you are treating more than just your face the treatment time will lengthen accordingly. If you are treating just your face, it may take approximately 20 minutes.
You may experience some slight redness post-treatment but this will dissipate and is easily covered with makeup. After treating redness or blood vessels, the skin can be slightly pink and some larger vessels may turn dark red or black for a few days. The laser works by drawing brown spots to the surface, which is why they will be more prominent after treatment. This is a sign that the treatment is working.