Evertyhing You Need to Know About Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Aesthetics Daily – At first glance, intense pulsed light (IPL) sounds the same as lasers because they both use light energy. What’s more, they are popular cosmetic procedures that are often used in aesthetic clinics. Although they have similarities, IPL and laser also have some basic differences that you should know.

In this article, we discuss specifically about intense pulsed light that can treat various skin problems. Besides the benefits, you also need to understand some of the side effects and risks you face when choosing IPL treatment.

What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?

Short for intense pulsed light, IPL which is often referred to as photofacials is a noninvasive cosmetic procedure to improve skin tone and texture. Visible skin damage due to sun exposure (photoaging) can be treated with this device.

IPL is suitable for those who want to remove unwanted hair, acne, stretch marks, freckles, spider veins, scars, brown spots, birthmarks, redness, and dark spots.

Difference Between IPL & Laser

In contrast to lasers with one wavelength of light which target a more specific area, IPL emits light with a more variable wavelength. However, there are still many misconceptions that equate IPL with lasers even though they are technically different.

Because its beams spread out, IPL is able to reach a wider area of ​​the body. IPL with wavelengths spanning 420nm – 1200nm can also treat a wider range of hair colors and skin types.

How IPL Works?

IPL works by using light energy that targets specific colors in the skin. Penetrating under the second layer of skin called dermis, IPL does not hurt the top layer of skin called epidermis. Thus, the surface of your skin will be intactly untouched.

The light energy emitted by IPL machine is absorbed by pigments in the skin. Furthermore, the light converted to heat destroys unwanted pigments to remove freckles and other spots. IPL can also target hair follicles to reduce hair growth.

Dermatologists or physicians will apply a kind of gel to the skin surface to be treated. During an IPL treatment that lasts about 20 or 30 minutes, the patient, doctor or everyone else in the room must wear protective googgles. Treatment sessions on larger areas of the body may take longer.

Advantages of IPL

With a wide spectrum of wavelengths, IPL is used for a variety of popular non-invasive treatments, namely hair removal, acne therapy, vascular therapy, skin rejuvenation, and hyperpigmentation treatment. IPL that has been approved by the FDA is done by trained physicians or dermatologists to ensure its safety.

Acne Theray

IPL, which involves a series of short pulses of light targeting the affected skin cells and reduces the appearance of acne. The number of IPL treatments for acne therapy varies depending on the skin condition and the severity of the acne itself.

faq frequently asked questions intense pulsed light ipl treatments

Vascular Therapy

IPL for vascular therapy is designed to target hemoglobin in capillaries. The dilated blood vessels absorb the light and heat generated to reduce redness and flushing of the face. In addition, this process also stimulates collagen production and also reduces wrinkles.

Skin Rejuvenation

The pulsed light emitted by the IPL device is able to stimulate fibroblast cells in the skin that produce elastin and collagen. That way, IPL helps skin look smoother and younger.

Hyperpigmentation Treatment

The light energy released by the IPL machine penetrates beneath the skin surface, targeting melanin and breaking it down into smaller particles. The body then raises the melanin to the skin surface as small scabs that can be carried by the lymphatic system.

Preparations Before Treatments

You are advised to follow several precautions before undertaking IPL treatment to minimize risks. You should not do other hair removal methods such as waxing, chemical peels or plucking 2 weeks prior to treatment.

In addition, patients need to avoid direct sunlight or tanning beds, collagen injections, creams containing vitamin A or glycolic acid, perfume, makeup, deodorants, drugs such as aspirin or the antibiotic doxycycline.

How Many IPL Treatments?

The medical staff will first check the patient’s skin condition and analyze their problem. Once this is done, the staff will determine the number of IPL treatments that will vary from patient to patient. There are several skin conditions such as eczema or inflammatory acne that prevent patients from receiving IPL treatment.

To give optimal results, the patient will need to take multiple treatments, about 3 to 6 treatments spaced 1 month. While hair removal requires about 6 to 12 treatments.

Maintainance After Treatments

Patients who have passed the treatment session can return to their normal activities. However, you need to follow some suggestions to keep the results of the treatment lasting longer. One of them, you are advised to avoid using hot water, especially on the treated area until the skin heals.

How Much IPL Treatment Costs?

The price of IPL treatment varies widely, depending on the area being treated. Each aesthetic clinic also offers IPL treatments at varying prices. For example, the lip area costs $ 59, the hand area costs $ 99, the underarms area costs $ 119, the upper leg area and lower legs costs $ 219.

The Ideal Candidates

IPL can be used anywhere on the body, but does not work well on uneven skin. Generally, IPL provides more effective results on darker hair and lighter skin.

Patients with darker skin tones or skin conditions such as raised keloid scars are not recommended for IPL treatment. In addition, IPL is not suitable for people who are sensitive to light, having skin cancer or severe injuries.

Side Effects of IPL

During the treatment session, some patients feel light stings, such as snapping a rubber band against the skin. After treatment, most patients experience mild redness or swelling. This common condition will last for several hours and will subside on its own.

If you experience unusual symptoms, you should immediately see a doctor for further treatment.

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One thought on “Evertyhing You Need to Know About Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

  • 29/01/2023 at 03:06

    Can you write more about it? Your articles are always helpful to me. Thank you!


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