Intense pulsed light (IPL) is becoming increasingly popular for the treatment of various skin imperfections such as age spots, spider veins, vascular lesions, and rosacea. But at this time of year, IPL gets most of the attention in addressing sun-damaged skin.
Here’s how an IPL treatment works
Although not a laser treatment, IPL works using the same concepts as lasers — utilizing light energy that is then absorbed by particular color cells in the skin. When that light is converted into heat energy, it damages those targeted cells, leading to their destruction and the disappearance or lessening of their appearance.
IPL treatments are quick, usually taking only 30 to 45 minutes and they have no downtime. During the procedure patients are required to wear protective eyewear to protect their eyes from the light source. IPL treatments are not painful; most patients equate the feeling to that of a light pinch or snap of a rubber band in the treatment areas.
After treatment, patients look as if they have mild sunburn on the treatment locations. The skin may be a bit sore. But cold compresses, or just a bag of frozen peas, usually alleviate any irritation.
Results are immediately visible but continue to improve because IPL treatments not only cause the destruction of the unwanted pigment cells, but the process also stimulates new collagen production that will serve to firm the skin.