Conventional lasers only use one wavelength, while IPL uses several different ones, depending on the type of machine and the kind of filters used. IPL or Intense Pulsed Light is a type of light treatment similar to a laser, used to treat the skin for a number of different problems. It differs from the laser in that filters are used in conjunction with the light to ensure it reaches a specific target in the skin. In addition, the pulsing effect – on and off in rapid succession – means that less damage is caused to the skin.
IPL is used to treat several different skin conditions: –
- Smoothing out damaged skin such as scar tissue
- Removing small veins and broken capillaries that are unsightly
- Tightening the skin
- Removing age spots or other pigmentation of the skin, evening out the colour of the skin
- It consistently gives the skin a youthful glow
- Its use increases collagen under the skin, thus smoothing out the texture
- Also treats rosacea, hyperpigmentation, melasma and stretch marks
Benefits of using IPL
The benefit of using IPL is that there is very little down time and it is a very safe treatment. The downside is that it can burn the skin if the settings are not right for the problem. It is important to only have it done by an experienced professional.
Treatment is usually done in the office or practitioner’s clinic and you can go back to work straight afterwards. The results are great when you consider the speed of the treatment and the fact that there is very little pain. Some people say it feels like having a rubber band popped against their skin.
What to expect
During treatment you will need to wear an eye mask to protect your eyes from the bright light. You may be given medication for pain, but no anaesthesia will be used. A gel is sometimes applied to the treatment area to prevent the skin from overheating. The IPL device will be pressed gently onto the skin in the target area.
Most treatment takes around half an hour, depending on what is being treated. After that you will spend a small amount of time in the clinic for observation before being allowed to leave. Afterwards you may feel as if you had been sunburned in the area treated and this can last up to 48 hours.
It is advisable to avoid hot water – make sure your shower is only lukewarm. You will also need to stay out of the sun for up to 5 days, so no basking on the beach for hours at a time. Taking care of the treated area is only common sense, because it is like a burn on the skin. More than one treatment is likely to be needed.