IPL™ Therapy: Modern Dermatology for Modern Women
Intense Pulse Light™ therapy is the latest in modern dermatology, allowing patients to erase uneven tone, wrinkles, redness and face the day with a smoother, more even and radiant complexion.
IPL™ therapy penetrates the skin with intense pulses of light. This light energy causes changes in the deeper layers of skin. Improvements appear gradually in the weeks following treatment, giving you a naturally refreshed look.
How does IPL™ work?
High energy light pulses waves penetrate the upper layers of skin and heat the deep collagen layer, which triggers new collagen production, creating smoother skin above. The light energy also constricts blood vessels, reducing redness at the skin’s surface. IPL™ can also target darker skin cells and break down melanin, which causes brown patches. The tiny particles of pigment then either flake away over the following week or are swept away by the lymphatic system.
What skin issues can be improved with IPL?
One of the most significant benefits of IPL™ therapy is the ability to treat a wide range of skin imperfections.
IPL™ uses pulses with multiple wavelengths to concurrently treat:
- Sun damage/sun exposure
- Hyperpigmentation/brown patches
- Enlarged pores
- Age Spots
- Broken blood vessels
IPL™ can be used to treat hands, neck, chest and other areas of the body where sun damage has occurred. It is safe and non-invasive and can be adjusted is tailored to the individual patient’s skin and area of treatment.
What should I expect during IPL™ therapy?
Before the procedure begins, you may be provided with an anesthetic cream to numb the treatment area before the procedure.
When you get to the office, we will provide you with protective eyewear. A cooling gel will be applied to the treatment area to lubricate the handpiece and to help cool the skin during IPL™ therapy. The handpiece will emit bright pulses of light into the skin. You may feel a warm sensation caused by the handpiece or what is described as feeling like light “snaps” from a rubber band.
Treatment may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on the issues and areas being treated.
If you are feeling heat or discomfort after treatment, cold compresses can help soothe the skin. Most patients report only minimal discomfort during the treatment and few side effects afterward.
How many treatments will I need?
In most cases, a series of three to six treatments, approximately one month apart, are recommended depending on the skin issues being treated, your skin and your goals. After the treatment series has ended, one or two treatments a year can help maintain results.
How will I look after each treatment?
The side effects of IPLTM therapy disappear within a few hours for many patients. You may experience a few days of flushed skin and pinpoint bruising after IPL™ treatment. Areas of darker pigmentation make initially appear darker but will soon fade or peel off as the skin recovers from treatment. However, you can apply makeup immediately after IPL™ therapy if necessary.
Who is a good candidate for IPL?
People with fair skin that is still somewhat elastic are the best candidates for an IPLTM. Older patients can appreciate the dramatic improvements that appear gradually over time giving them a naturally younger appearance. Younger patients with uneven tone and fine lines may not need more drastic laser resurfacing and peels but can instead benefit from non-invasive but effective IPL.
Who should consider the possible risks of IPL?
Although IPL™ is gentle and non-invasive, there are still cases in which it is not the best option for treating skin issues. In some people, IPL™ can cause bruising or unwanted changes in skin pigmentation.
Those who should skip IPL™ include:
- People with naturally dark skin tones, including those with African-American, Greek or Italian heritage
- People who are taking the medication Accutane®
- Pregnant women
- People with deeply tanned skin
Pregnant women can be OK’d for treatment after giving birth. Those who are taking Accutane for severe acne should wait at least six months after their course of medication has ended.
What is my skincare before and after IPL™ therapy?
Keeping skin out of the sun and using sunblock are the most critical aspects of post-IPL™ care. We can recommend a sensitive skin cleanser and moisturizer that will help baby skin for about a week; then you should be able to resume your regular skin care routine.
How long does the improvement in the skin last?
IPL continues to improve skin gradually over time, but eventually, the natural aging process catches up. After an initial course is completed, improvements can be maintained with one or two treatments a year.