Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a cosmetic skin treatment that delivers multiple wavelengths of light energy onto the skin. The light heats damaged or pigmented cells in the skin until they are broken down and expelled by the body naturally, leaving a more rejuvenated and flawless complexion.
Intense Pulsed Light Rejuvenation is a treatment that may help the signs of aging, remove unwanted hair, lighten darker patches of skin, and improve the appearance of scars and spider veins. IPL works in a similar way to laser therapy. The difference is that where laser therapy delivers a single wavelength of light energy, IPL delivers multiple wavelengths. This means that IPL can treat a larger area of skin in a shorter time than laser therapy.
IPL uses light energy to target accurately and remove pigmented or damaged skin cells or hair follicles.
Using a handheld device, a medical professional will target multiple wavelengths of light onto the skin. This light heats cells in the skin and breaks the down. The body then removes the damaged tissue naturally.
People may choose IPL as a treatment for a range of skin issues including rosacea, hyper-pigmentation (including liver, age spots or freckles), melasma, spider veins, stretch marks, sun damage and wrinkles.
A warm flicking sensation (like the snapping of a rubber band) can be felt during treatment. The intensity of the sensation varies depending on the treatment area but any discomfort is of a manageable level.
Following treatment, there may be some redness to the area and the skin may feel warm and sensitive to touch. These symptoms can be soothed with aloe vera gel. Hot showers, steam room, sauna and intense exercise should be avoided for 12 hours after treatment. Sun exposure should be avoided for at least 4 weeks following IPL.
IPL is safe for most people but it is not suitable for everyone. Factors that make people unsuitable for IPL treatment include those who are:
Pregnant, on blood thinners, currently or recently taking the drug Accutane, having active acne, suffering from a skin resurfacing disorder, susceptible to keloid scarring, having severe scarring, having suffered severe sunburn recently.
The effectiveness of IPL depends on many things. The treatment works better on white or lighter pigmented skin than darker skin tones. Everyone responds differently to IPL, but most people will need multiple rounds of the treatment before they start to notice results.
As with any medical procedure, IPL does carry the risk of complications. These can include: pain, skin discolouration, swelling, infection, bleeding, scarring.