Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a noninvasive procedure that improves the color, tone, and texture of the skin without surgery. It uses specific wavelengths of light to target hyperpigmentation, sun damage, brown spots, sun spots and discolorations, vascular lesions like spider veins, and rosacea.

Unlike lasers that use a single wavelength of light, IPL employs a broad spectrum of light wavelengths, delivered in short bursts, allowing it to treat multiple skin conditions simultaneously. IPL is also called a photo facial.

What conditions does IPL treat?

IPL photorejuvenation addresses a variety of skin conditions and aesthetic concerns. These include:

  • Pigmentation: IPL treatments effectively treat sun-induced freckles, age spots, lentigines, and other types of hyperpigmentation.
  • Vascular Lesions: IPL treatments can reduce the appearance of broken capillaries, spider veins, flushing, and rosacea.
  • Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterized by facial redness, swelling, and acne-like bumps. It typically affects middle-aged women with fair skin. IPL therapy reduces inflammation associated with rosacea. It also treats visible blood vessels and improves uneven skin texture. IPL is a significant advancement in managing rosacea, relieving a persistent and distressing condition.
  • Acne Management: Light therapy reduces inflammation and kills bacteria within the skin, aiding in acne treatment.
  • Skin Texture and Tone: IPL stimulates collagen production, improving overall skin texture and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How does it work?

For Pigmentation: The melanin pigment in the skin absorbs the light energy, which is then converted into heat. This heat breaks down the pigment into smaller particles, which are then removed by the body.

For Vascular Lesions: For vascular lesions such as spider veins or rosacea, IPL targets hemoglobin in the blood vessels. The heat generated from the absorbed light energy causes the blood vessels to constrict and eventually fade away.

For Facial Rejuvenation, IPL stimulates collagen production by heating the water within the dermis. This process leads to skin tightening and improved texture, contributing to its rejuvenating effects. It can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and scars, and stretch marks.

What are treatments like?

An IPL photorejuvenation session typically lasts about 20-30 minutes, depending on the treated area. The procedure involves applying a cooling gel to the targeted area, followed by applying light pulses using a handheld device. Protective eyewear is necessary to shield the patient’s eyes from bright light flashes.

The procedure is generally well-tolerated, with minimal discomfort. Post-treatment, patients might experience temporary redness or swelling, like a mild sunburn lasting up to six hours. Sun protection is crucial after the procedure. IPL is safe for most skin types but less effective on very dark or tanned skin.

The number of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments will vary depending on individual factors such as skin type, the severity of skin concerns, treatment goals, and desired results.

Contact Dr. Sheila Farhang, a board-certified dermatologist at Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics in Tucson/Oro Valley and Beverly Hills, to schedule a consultation and learn how IPL therapy can help you achieve your goals.