Get a Youthful Skin Look

What Is IPL?

IPL, or intense pulse light, is a cosmetic treatment used to help fade freckles, age spots, red skin from broken blood vessels, Rosacea, spider veins and generally restore a younger appearance to the patient's skin. IPL uses what is termed photorejuvenation and can be used on the face and body. Because it is non-invasive, there is no recovery time, no anesthetic needed and patients can go back to their normal daily activities immediately.

How It Works

If you have sun damage anywhere on your face, neck, upper body or hands, IPL is a fast, easy way to help improve the look of your skin. Broad spectrum light is used in IPL treatments. Qualified cosmetic doctors or dermatologists who offer IPL treatments use a hand piece that transmits this broad spectrum light that is sometimes visible and sometimes not. The range is 515 nm up to about 1200 nm.

There are filters in the light hand piece that can change or alter the light wavelength when passing over certain areas of skin, so the treatment can be tailored to each skin area and problem. It works by the light penetrating the outer layer of skin down into the tissue. The light is then either absorbed by the damaged blood vessels or melanin in age spots. This light penetration in the damaged skin areas causes the body to flush out the damaged tissue, vessels and skin, replacing them with new, more youthful looking skin.

IPL For Hair Removal

IPL can also be used in hair removal. The light is absorbed by the hair follicle, damaging its ability to grow hair. This is not a permanent form of hair removal and multiple treatments will have to be performed. It also isn't very effective on blond, white, gray or red hair.

Length Of Treatment Time

IPL treatments are done in your doctor's or dermatologist's office. Each treatment takes from 15 to 20 minutes and you can expect to have four to six treatments every four to eight weeks until the desired result is achieved. Patients should wait one to two months between treatments so that their body has enough time to flush out the damaged cells and for the skin to rejuvenate.

Minimal Side Effects

Because the light impulses are so brief with IPL treatments, damage to skin or tissue that isn't the primary target is very minimal. There are no ultraviolet light waves, so there is no UV damage. The most common side effect is having the appearance or feel of a mild sunburn on the target area, although in a few cases some blistering has occurred. This usually goes away in three or four days. Most patients only report feeling a sting or tingling during the procedure.

IPL can be a good choice for anyone who wants to try a non-invasive treatment for age spots, freckles, spider veins or other skin conditions caused by sun damage. It has few side effects and no down time. Consult with your doctor, have a skin evaluation and then decide if IPL is for you.