Intense Pulse Light is a non-ablative, non-invasive treatment that aims to deliver high-intensity light into the skin’s deeper layer for improving redness, sunspots, wrinkles, and fine lines, broken capillaries, and vascular lesions. The wavelength and range of the light released during the procedure can be easily adjusted according to your specific skin concerns, issues, and requirements.
Starting in the early 30’s, elastin and collagen production reduces, and cell turnover starts to decline, making it difficult for the skin to recuperate from inflammation and injury. Soon, these factors start appearing on your skin in the form of discoloration and brown spots, wrinkles and fine lines, visible capillaries, and uneven skin tone. This type of treatment helps in improving each of these skin issues.
Also popularly known as photo facial or photorejuvenation, Intense Pulsed Light is a non-ablative treatment that releases visible, intense light pulses onto a specific area without causing any damage to the surrounding skin. The light energy is absorbed by hemoglobin–red blood cells present in the blood vessels, and melanin–which is responsible for skin pigment. Consequently, these structures get damaged and are brought to the skin surface or absorbed by the body where they start appearing.
It is one of the successful treatments in addressing issues such as redness, wrinkles, and fine lines, visible capillaries, and dark spots. Though you can see the results of this treatment right after one treatment, it will take nearly three to five sessions for achieving optimal results. Because of its non-ablative nature, it needs little downtime and can be done once a month, or as advised by your doctor.
Intense pulsed light treatments are a perfect choice for those who have light to medium complexions and want to improve capillary inflammation, wrinkles, and fine lines, vascular lesions, discoloration, sun damage, skin tone. Due to the multiple wavelengths used during this treatment, it can easily accommodate a variety of skin tones. However, the best results appear in fair skin that is ‘freckle prone’ and elastic.
Deeper skin tones are more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and blistering, specifically because melanin is the primary target of the Intense Pulsed Light treatment. A trained, experienced, and well-qualified cosmetic surgeon will have success on deeper skin, however additional treatments are required because the intensity of wavelengths is reduced to avoid any pigment response. You can get better results if the treatment is done with laser treatments like the Q-switched YAG laser and YAG.
Some medications like blood thinners can increase the perils associated with this treatment. Make sure you discuss with your doctor about health conditions and intake of medicines, if any. Discuss everything before scheduling a treatment session. If you are using medication like Accutane, make sure you take extra precautions as it increases sensitivity to the sun. in such cases, the treatment is postponed for six months, or as suggested by the doctor. As a precautionary measure, pregnant women should also avoid IPL treatment.
If you are considering undergoing this treatment, it is important to know that IPL is not a laser resurfacing treatment. Both devices operate on the same mechanisms of releasing high-intensity light energy onto targeted cells within the skin, lasers work using a single wavelength. Intense Pulsed Light Treatments deliver several wavelengths allowing them to target multiple conditions. They are non-ablative. In other words, they cause no damage to the skin’s surface while some laser treatments can be ablative.
The frequency and range of the light released by an IPL device can be controlled and adjusted based on an individual’s skin issues and treatment scope. The resulting light waves are filtered for targeting either dark spots or redness. This light energy is absorbed by the targeted areas on the skin and transformed into heat energy that breaks up the pigment or causes damage to the walls of the blood vessels. These pigment and damaged blood vessels either are carried away by the lymphatic system of the body or rise to the surface of the skin.
Consequently, the entire IPL treatment has proven effective for treating age spots and vascular lesions like spider veins and even some kind of birthmarks. Additionally, IPL might lead to less flushing for candidates with rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions. It is an ideal treatment for improving overall skin tone.
Intense Pulsed Light treatments are not completely pain-free, though the discomfort level depends on the patient’s threshold for pain. Usually, the doctor applies topical numbing cream onto the targeted area before the treatment session for reducing the sensation that is compared to the rubber band snapping on the skin.
During the entire procedure, the doctor and patient will wear safety goggles. After cleansing the skin, a thin coat of gel (used for cooling the skin) is applied to the skin followed by the placement of a handheld device directly on your skin. The device pulses the light flashes that continue until the targeted area is treated. The intensity of time and length of the treatment varies depending on the size and severity of the damaged or affected area. After finishing the treatment, the doctor removes the gel and applies a cold compress for several minutes. In the final step, the doctor applies moisturizer and a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Right after the treatment, you can expect to notice some swelling and redness, like a sunburn. The redness level depends on the treatment types and sensitivity of the skin to it. If treating sunspots and freckles, you might experience flaking and dryness around the treated area. Usually, side-effects related to the treatment resolve within three to seven days. However, this might be prolonged for intense treatments. Your cosmetic surgeon might recommend at-home skincare products to help improve the results. Avoid using skincare products without seeking a doctor’s advice.
The cost of Intense Pulsed Light treatment depends on the number of sessions required, the machine used, and the area to be treated. Moreover, some devices are designed for focusing on skin concerns and are less effective on others. The best way to find out about the cost of an IPL treatment is to consult an experienced, qualified, and trained cosmetic surgeon who can guide you about the entire procedure along with the cost.