Benefits of IPL Treatment
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is the best option if you want to enhance the appearance of your skin.

Intense pulsed light (IPL), commonly known as flashlamp therapy, uses high-intensity visible light. It is a non-invasive and nonablative approach for treating various skin conditions, such as vascular abnormalities, which include:

IPL therapy is also used to eliminate unwanted dark hair on the skin and may also be helpful for stretch marks and mild to moderate acne.

What is intense pulsed light (IPL)?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) devices are non-laser high-intensity light sources that use a high output flashlamp to produce a broad wavelength output of noncoherent light, often in the 500 to 1,200 nm range.

Most contemporary technologies produce light pulses by passing brief bursts of electrical current through a chamber filled with xenon gas. The lamp's output is then directed toward the distal end of the handpiece, which releases the energy pulse onto the skin's surface through a sapphire or quartz block.

To safeguard the epidermis in contact with the handpiece's conduction crystal, various systems employ various cooling techniques, such as a cryogen spray, contact cooling, or forced chilled air.

Who should get IPL therapy done?

Many individuals desire clear skin, but even with the most diligent skin-care routine, it can be tough to obtain flawless skin. Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy can be the best option for you if you want to enhance the appearance of your skin.

There are numerous problems that IPL can treat; however, it is exclusively drawn to red and brown pigment. A few of these include:

  • Vascular redness
  • Broken blood vessels
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Rosacea
  • Common brown or red blemishes
  • Sunspots
  • Age spots
  • Cherry hemangioma (red “mole-like” discolorations)
  • Unwanted hair
  • Birthmarks
  • Stretch marks

Who should avoid the IPL procedure?

You should avoid intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy if you:

  • Are expecting.
  • Have a skin disorder.
  • Use prescription drugs for other ailments.

IPL is not a wise decision if you:

  • Are light-sensitive.
  • Have recently used tanning lotions, beds, or the sun to get a tan.
  • Might have skin cancer.
  • Apply retinol cream.
  • Have extremely dark skin, a lot of scars, a scar with keloid lesions, and a disorder of skin resurfacing.

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What are the steps involved in the IPL procedure?

A skilled practitioner (dermatologist/cosmetologist) should review the process with you before initiating the intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. They should explicitly state your treatment expectations. They should be able to inform you if this approach yields the desired results. 

Before starting therapy, your doctor must establish the proper diagnosis. IPL procedures are often simple. Ensure the technician has sufficient IPL therapy experience and the appropriate training.

Here are a few things that you should know before proceeding with IPL therapy.

  • Avoid being in the sun days or weeks before and after the treatment.
  • Although it is not typically necessary, a topical anesthetic may be administered to the area.
  • A cold gel is given to the area that needs therapy. Integrated cooling systems are typically found in IPL equipment.
  • IPL therapy heads have a smooth, glass surface and are pressed on the skin. This sends precise laser pulses to the area that needs treatment.
  • A treatment session typically lasts 20 minutes. A course of four to six treatments spread over every three to six weeks may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
  • Most people can return to work as soon as they finish therapy.

It is important to wear safety glasses during the entire therapy session. IPL treatments are relatively painless compared with other methods of facial rejuvenation. Some people find the sensation upsetting, comparing it to a slight pressure or the snap of a rubber band.

What precautions should you take before proceeding with the IPL procedure?

Before the surgery, avoid the following things:

  • Any skin irritants, including deodorant, perfume, or makeup
  • Aspirin or any medication that can cause you to bleed more
  • Any prescription that makes you sensitive to sunlight, such as doxycycline (an antibiotic)
  • Waxing, getting a chemical peel, or receiving collagen injections two weeks before the therapy
  • Tan in the sun, a tanning bed, or tanning creams for four weeks before receiving therapy

What are the possible complications of an IPL procedure?

Any cosmetic procedure must be performed with extreme care because the skin is a delicate organ. Although they are rare, complications can happen.

Side effects of intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy are minor and include:

  • Pain, which is experienced during the therapy (reduced by contact cooling and if necessary, topical anesthetic).
  • Immediately after the operation, the skin starts to turn pink and feels slightly painful.
  • Minor sunburn-like symptoms (redness, peeling, and swelling) may persist for a few days following the therapy.
  • On rare occasions, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy, leading to blisters.
  • Melanocytes, the skin's pigment cells, can occasionally get destroyed, resulting in darker or paler regions of skin. Scars or white patches are rarely permanent.
  • Hair loss
  • 10 percent of people who received IPL therapy had some degree of bruising

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Medically Reviewed on 11/18/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2019/10/ipl.php

https://www.theaestheticsociety.org/procedures/skin-hair/ipl-photorejuvenation

https://eyewiki.aao.org/Intense_Pulsed_Light_(IPL)_Therapy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390232/

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/intense-pulsed-light-treatment-overview

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/intense-pulsed-light-therapy