IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatment involves the use of intense pulses of broad-spectrum light emitted in multiple wavelengths (lasers emit a single wavelength). The type and depth of the condition being treated determines the wavelength of light selected. IPL treatments are an advancement in the treatment of skin conditions, because they cause fewer side effects and recovery is faster than with most laser treatments. Nevertheless side effects are possible with any treatment.
Photofacial (photorejuvenation) treatment delivers the light energy into the depths of the skin, targeting pigment and stimulating the underlying cells to produce the collagen and elastic tissue in the substructure. Several treatments, along with the FaceMD™ Skin Care Program may be required to improve mild skin lines and skin texture.
Pigment abnormalities (brown spots) can be treated by selecting the wavelength of light specific for that color. The red in hemoglobin of blood vessels is targeted when attempting to improve vascular lesions (prominent blood vessels). Rosacea is also treated with the same wavelength of light. Hair reduction is also possible by targeting the pigment in some darker types of hair colors.
IPL is more effective and has fewer undesirable consequences during healing when used to treat light colored skin. Dark skin pigment absorbs more light energy and may develop pigmentary abnormalities that may require a long period of time to improve.
Treatments do not require anesthesia and are preformed in the office. The patient experiences a gentle snapping sensation as the light contacts the skin. Afterwards, there may be some redness, swelling, and a mild sunburn type sensation that usually resolves in 24-48 hours (depending on the intensity of the treatment and the goals of the patient.) There may be some skin crusting and sloughing when attempting to improve certain conditions or remove certain lesions. Repeated treatments may be needed every 3 to 4 weeks until the desired effect has been achieved.
In addition to the expected side effects of treatment, there may be some bruising if one is taking any medications, herbs, or vitamins that cause bleeding. For patients who have severe problems with fever blisters or cold sores, please inform us so that antiviral medications may be prescribed prior to treatment.
IPL has proven to be an excellent tool to improve the texture and quality of skin, improve pigment abnormalities, vascular spots and vessels, and reduce unwanted hair. It may be combined with Microdermabrasion, to help improve IPL light penetration. It is much safer than more aggressive treatments and is usually effective.