What is IPL? How does it work and what can it be used for?
IPL is similar to the flash of light seen in cameras. It has a photo rejuvenating effect on skin by stimulating the production of new collagen. This produces a skin tightening effect, which can then treat wrinkles on the face and hands, and even an aging neckline. IPL can also be used to treat acne by controlling sebaceous gland infections and oil production, and age-related changes including pigmentation, spots, and sun damage by breaking them down. Finally, IPL produces a heating effect that can be capitalized to close off blood vessels for conditions such as spider veins and telangiectasias, and even for hair removal.
Day of treatment
While often confused with lasers, IPL is in fact much gentler on the skin. Treatment can cause mild discomfort, partly due to the snapping sound with each pulse, but additional anesthesia is typically not required. After each session, slight redness and mild swelling can be expected for up to 24 hours due to the heat generated by IPL but often goes away within a few hours and if not, by the next day.
What to expect and further treatment
Improvement in the skin can be seen from as early as 6 weeks, after 2-3 sessions. However, patients should not be tanned when receiving treatment due to the risk of developing hypopigmentation or white spots on the skin. This may develop after natural pigments of the skin absorb light from the IPL and are inadvertently removed in the process. The use of sunblock between sessions is thus recommended to prevent this untoward complication. For the most dramatic and long-lasting results, 4-7 treatment sessions at 2-3 week intervals each are usually required.