Intense pulsed light (IPL) is an advanced technology used for skin rejuvenation and the reduction of unwanted hair. IPL treatments can improve many skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, broken capillaries, sun damage, acne scars and redness. It’s also an ideal treatment to prepare your skin before a laser procedure.
The word “intense” in the name of this treatment means that it uses pulses of light that are shorter in duration than other types of pulsed light procedures such as phototrichoablation or broad spectrum phototherapy. An Intense pulse has a width of approximately 200 microseconds with a peak energy density of approximately 10^12 W/cm^2.
This type of light penetrates the top layers of the skin more effectively than other systems while also reducing potential side effects such as swelling and burning.
What Is IPL Treatment?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL is a technology that uses light pulses to break up and clear away unwanted hair, improve the appearance of damaged skin, and treat sun-related skin conditions such as age spots, freckles and spider veins.
IPL works by passing a very short burst of intense light through the skin. This light travels to the hair follicles and destroys the hair root. It can also be used to destroy bacteria and treat certain skin conditions such as rosacea, broken capillaries, sun damage, acne scars and redness. IPL is an ideal treatment to prepare your skin before a laser procedure.
IPL Treatment: How it Works?
IPL treatment uses light pulses to damage targeted areas of your skin, such as the hair follicles. The targeted areas of your skin are treated while the surrounding healthy tissue remains unaffected. IPL treatment works by passing a very short burst of intense light through the skin.
This light travels to the hair follicles and destroys the hair root. It can also be used to destroy bacteria and treat certain skin conditions such as rosacea, broken capillaries, sun damage, acne scars and redness. IPL energy is absorbed by the pigment, which results in a heating effect. When the target area is heated, it is destroyed. IPL targets hair follicles, bacteria, pigmented lesions, blood vessels, and keloids.
IPL Treatment: Who Should Get It?
- People with acne or acne scars: IPL is a great way to reduce redness and scarring associated with breakouts. It also helps to prevent future breakouts by regulating the amount of oil your skin produces.
- People with rosacea: Redness caused by rosacea can be reduced by using IPL. It also helps to calm the bumps and pimples that rosacea often brings with it.
- People with sun damage: IPL can reduce the appearance of sun spots, freckles and other sun damage. It can also help prevent further sun damage by regulating your skin’s ability to produce melanin.
- People with broken capillaries: Broken capillaries are small, red lines that can appear on the face, along with spider veins.
- People with ingrown hairs: IPL can help to prevent ingrown hairs from forming as well as reducing the red bumps that often accompany ingrown hairs.
- People with hair reduction: IPL is an excellent way to reduce the amount of body hair you have. It can also reduce the amount of facial hair for men with a light hair growth pattern.
IPL Treatment: Who Shouldn’t Get It?
- People with very dark skin: IPL can cause hyperpigmentation in people with very dark skin.
- People with keloid scars: IPL therapy is not recommended for individuals who may be prone to keloids. Keloids are raised scars that are formed when the body over-produces collagen.
- People with certain medical conditions: IPL is not advised for people with certain medical conditions. These conditions include lupus, diabetes, and certain types of heart disease.
- People who are pregnant or breastfeeding: Due to the risk of hyperpigmentation, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid IPL treatments.
- People who are using certain medications: IPL is not advised for individuals who are taking certain medications. These include Retin-A and steroids.
Treatment effectiveness of IPL
IPL is an excellent treatment for hair removal. A single session of IPL can reduce hair density by up to 35%. As hair regrowth occurs, it is finer and sparser than before. This results in less noticeable hair, especially in women. IPL is also effective for the treatment of acne. It reduces redness and calms breakouts, which can be very helpful for those with severe acne.
For the treatment of rosacea, the reduction of redness is very effective for both mild and severe cases. IPL has been shown to reduce the appearance of sun damage. A single session of IPL can reduce sun spots by up to 30% and uneven pigmentation by up to 40%. IPL is also effective for the treatment of spider veins.
The risks and side effects of IPL therapy
Like any treatment, IPL has potential risks and side effects. The risks are, however, minimal and can be avoided by taking proper precautions. IPL can cause healing and hyperpigmentation in individuals with darker skin tones. IPL can also cause itching, swelling, and tenderness in the treated area.
These side effects are often mild and subside after a few days. IPL has been known to cause white spots in the skin (known as milia) in some individuals. IPL can cause skin dehydration and is therefore not advised for those with sensitive skin.
What to Expect During IPL Treatment
- IPL sessions may last between 10 and 40 minutes, depending on the area being treated.
- You should avoid the sun, use sunblock, and use artificial light (such as in a tanning bed) for two weeks before and two weeks after treatment. This is because exposure to UV rays before or after treatment can cause skin damage.
- Your skin may look red for a few hours after treatment.
- You may feel some pain, itching and swelling in the treated area.
- You may experience some skin dryness, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- You may experience milia, which is harmless and temporary.
What do the results of recovery from IPL treatment look like
The amount of time it takes for your skin to bounce back from IPL treatment varies from person to person.
- For acne and rosacea sufferers, the healing time can be from one to six months.
- For those with broken capillaries, the healing period is shorter, often just one month.
- For those with ingrown hairs, the healing period is two to four weeks.
- For those who wish to reduce the amount of body hair, the healing period is one to three months.
- For those who wish to reduce the amount of facial hair, the healing period is shorter, often two to six weeks.
- For those who wish to remove sun damage, the healing period is two to six months.
- For those who wish to remove age spots, the healing period is four to six months.
Things to Keep in Mind About IPL
- IPL is an excellent treatment option for many people. However, it is not suitable for all skin types.
- IPL is a great way to prepare for other cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal and skin tightening.
- IPL can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including acne and rosacea, broken capillaries, ingrown hairs, sun damage, spider veins, and age spots.
IPL is a non-invasive treatment that can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions. It can also be used to prepare the skin for other cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal and skin tightening. With IPL, you can improve the way your skin looks and reduce the amount of hair on your body.
IPL is an advanced technology that uses light pulses to break up and clear away unwanted hair, improve the appearance of damaged skin, and treat sun-related skin conditions such as age spots, freckles and spider veins