What is IPL?
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of the skin affected by various skin problems.
How does it work?
IPL is not laser. Lasers emit a single wavelength light. The IPL device emits a broad range of light waves ranging from 500-1200 nm wavelength. Various cut off filters are commonly used to filter out lower frequencies and narrow this range of light waves to target specific structures (chromophores). The light beam passes through the skin and is absorbed by either hemoglobin or melanin resulting in damage to the vessel wall or fragmenting of melanin pigment.
What is it used for?
Since IPL can emit a broad range of light waves and hence it can be used for treatment of a variety of skin conditions:-
- Vascular lesions- spider veins, some vascular birthmarks etc.
- Pigmented lesions- age spots, freckles etc.
- Hirsutism (unwanted hair) – in all skin and hair colors (except for white hair) on all body parts, Ingrown hair, Pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps)
- Photorejuvination of skin
How many treatments are needed?
Most people need series of 3-6 treatments done about 2-4 week apart. Gradual improvement will be seen with each treatment.
What is the post treatment care?
Sun protection is the main issue. Protect your improved skin with sunscreen every morning. Hats and sunglasses are also good protection from the sun.
Creams which might irritate your skin and drugs increasing sensitivity of skin to sun may be asked to be discontinued during treatment.
Moisturisers are to be applied if any dryness occurs
Are there any side effects?
In expert hands the side effects are uncommon. The main side effects are mild, temporary swelling, redness, an accentuation of the brown spots, crusting, and an occasional bruise.