Intense Pulsed Light or IPL is a light based treatment used to improve uneven skin tone, red and brown discolourations, fine lines and rosacea.
A short pulse of filtered yellow to red light is applied to the skin surface via a cooled flash-head. This pulse of light travels through the surface of the skin and is selectively absorbed by pigmentation and blood vessels under the skin surface. These structures heat up and then shrink down without the surface of the skin being affected.
Benefits and Applications
IPL is used to treat red and brown discolourations of the skin, rosacea, freckles and pigmentation, fine lines and open pores. A course of between three and six treatments is usually required to achieve maximum results though improvement can be seen even after the first treatment. IPL can be used to treat the face, neck, décolletage and hands; other areas such as arms can be treated too.
The skin should be free from any make up or sunscreen and the area must not be tanned as this may result in burning of the skin surface and potential scarring.
The skin is thoroughly cleansed and then a cool water based gel is applied to the skin to help conduct the light and cool the skin surface. The flash-head is then evenly passed over the skin using a succession of pulses. Two passes in different directions are used to ensure even coverage of the skin.
A post treatment lotion soothes the treated area which must not be exposed to the sun. Gentle cleaning followed by the application of moisturiser is usually sufficient.
The area will be red for a period of a few hours to a few days after the treatment, depending on the intensity of the treatment. Small dark crusts may develop over the next few days as treated pigmentation comes to the surface of the skin. These should not be disturbed and allowed to fall off naturally within one to two weeks depending on the area.
If the skin is tanned or the person has olive skin, pigmentation problems may result. Transient hyper-pigmentation can occur in olive skin and will usually settle spontaneously over several weeks. If the skin is tanned at the time of treatment burning of the surface and permanent hypo-pigmentation may result. This is very rare and can be avoided by careful sun protection measures.
Photo rejuvenation treatments range from $450 to $800 depending on the intensity and size of area treated.