INTENSE PULSE LIGHT
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a non-invasive, non-ablative treatment that uses high-intensity pulses of visible light to improve:
- Red, vascular lesions such as broken facial veins, rosy cheeks and rosacea
- Dyspigmentation which includes freckles, age spots and melasma
- Facial lines and wrinkles
- Removal of unwanted dark hair
Contrary to popular belief, IPL and laser treatments are not the same, although both include the usage of light energy for procedures. IPL systems are different to lasers in that they deliver many wavelengths (or colours) in each pulse of light instead of just one wavelength. Lasers on the other hand, provide a single band of light colour (monochromatic) to target a specific area and condition. In other words, lasers have a more targeted approach.
Most IPL systems however, also use filters to refine the energy output for the treatment of certain areas. IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative rejuvenation technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing where both epidermis and dermis are injured to produce a much more noticeable overall outcome. The advantage of IPL therapy however, is the minimal downtime, and a patient can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.
How should I prepare, and what should I expect during treatment?
- Avoid sun exposure in the days and weeks before and after treatment.
- A topical anaesthetic may be applied to the area but is not usually necessary.
- A cold gel may be applied to the area being treated.
- The smooth surface of the IPL treatment head contacts the skin to deliver pulses of light to the area being treated.
- Treatment sessions usually last about 15-20 minutes. A course of 4-6 sessions every 4-6 weeks may be needed to achieve desired results.
- Most patients can return to work immediately after treatment.