Intense pulsed light (IPL) devices have been in existence for around twenty years now to medically treat skin conditions for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes. IPL is also known as photo facial or photo rejuvenation as it uses ‘photo flashes’ or light pulses for treatment. Latest developments in the field ensure safe and effective cosmetic treatment of many vascular lesions, pigmented lesions and unwanted hair. The results demonstrated using IPL are now comparable to laser treatments.
IPL devices are non-laser high intensity light sources that produce a broad wavelength output of non-coherent light, usually in the 500 to 1200nm range. Various chromophores (chemical groups that absorbs light at a specific frequency and so imparts color to a molecule) are targeted utilizing specific wavelength ranges providing an effective remedy to a broad spectrum of skin conditions like
hair removal on your face, neck, back, chest, legs, underarms, or bikini line
broken blood vessels on your face
Intense pulsed light treatments are ideal for individuals with light to medium complexions looking to improve fine lines and wrinkles, discoloration, skin tone, sun damage, vascular lesions, or capillary inflammation. Because of the multiple wavelengths used during an IPL treatment, it can be adjusted for a spectrum of skin tones. However, fair skin that is relatively elastic and “freckle-prone” shows the greatest improvement.
Darker skin tones are more prone to blistering and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, especially since melanin is one of the primarily targets of an IPL treatment. An experienced practitioner may still have success on darker skin, but additional treatments are generally needed, as the intensity of the wavelengths is decreased to avoid triggering a pigment response. Better results may be seen with laser treatment such as Q-switch Nd: YAG laser.
There are also certain medications such as blood thinners that may increase the risks associated with photo rejuvenation. You should discuss any medications being taken with your skincare professional prior to scheduling a treatment. Use extra caution if you are using medication such as Accutane as it increases sensitivity to the sun. In these cases, an IPL treatment should be postponed until at least 6 months after the medication has been completed. As a precaution, pregnant women should also avoid IPL treatments
The area to be treated will be cleaned thoroughly by a skin specialist and a cooling gel will be applied to the targeted skin area. Intense light pulses from the IPL device are then applied to your skin. The procedure should take 20-30 mins, depending on the part of the body being treated and how large the said area is. The entire process may need three to six sittings with each sitting spaced about one month apart so that the skin has time to heal in between.
A stinging sensation may be experienced as the pulses hit the skin. You will also be required to wear dark glasses to protect your eyes.
Comparison to Laser Treatment
In laser treatment, a monochromatic laser beam focuses on a specific area with an identified target, removing it altogether or to be replaced by new cells (depending on the desired treatment). IPL also uses intense pulses of light but it is scattered over various wavelengths and is meant for a broader spectrum (a larger area) instead of a focused spot. As a result, IPLs produce more generalised effects on the skin, such as improvement in some forms of brown and red discoloration. The light pulses are also less invasive and easier on the skin.
Therefore, while a laser machine is able to treat only a specific condition at a time, an IPL machine has the capability of treating a variety of skin conditions as well as hair removal.
Dr. Skin lives by the credo that 'Skin is a true reflection of one’s health'. Equipped with US FDA approved technology, their chain of skin care clinics offer world class services at a truly personalised level making use of the best technologies under expert guidance to enable diagnosis and treatment with the lowest possible down time. The Zigma IPL Laser technology at Dr. Skin is best in class and is effective for permanent removal of body hair, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation etc.