Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a common technology found in both the beautician’s parlour and a dermatologist’s clinic, used to treat a range of skin issues and imperfections. After a long, successful lifespan, IPL may be drawing to its natural conclusion, however, as more specific technologies overtake it in effectiveness.
IPL is no longer a standalone technology, and is usually used in combination with other treatments, rather than on its own. Single-wavelength energy-based treatments have overtaken IPL, though it is still commonly used, since most clinics and beauticians have a machine.
If you have more than one skin issue to contend with, IPL can be less effective for your buck than other technology. IPL is not a laser, but more like a flashlight with a range of light spectrums from 500nm to 1200nm. This covers light from the blue spectrum, through amber, and red, up to infrared. Lasers, by contrast, are a single frequency, as opposed to a spectrum. IPL is on the absorption spectrum of melanin, the pigment in our skin that causes us to have any skin and hair colour besides absolutely pale white.
IPL is a favourite amongst those who seek cosmetic treatments, being ranked four out of the top five by consumers, taking microdermabrasion off the list in 2016. IPL machines have changed over time too, and are now much stronger and more effective than when they were first released.
When we might use IPL
- Brown and red skin lesions
- Chronic sun damage (face, neck, hands, chest, arms, hands)
- Vascular skin conditions
- Acne scars
- Red scars
- Skin rejuvenation
- Improving skin texture
- Managing fine lines and wrinkles
- Hair removal (only in those with pale skin and dark hair)
- Tattoo removal (though not that effective compared to other options
- Melasma (controversial)
How IPL works
The machine produces a light, with the wavelengths adjustable. A gel applied to the skin acts as a frequency booster, and light is applied through the skin via a guide or crystal. The treatment acts in a way that causes heat damage to specific cells – the brown or red ones – and destroys the tissue. This tissue is then scavenged by the body and removed. This removes the brown or red spots. Tanned skin shouldn’t be treated, since it contains melanin, and will be burnt.
The crystal allows a large treatment area, as opposed to lasers which are much more focussed. Adapters can be used for smaller areas. Dangers of IPL include the risk of hyperpigmentation and burns, though IPL devices have a built-in cooling system to keep burns at bay as the tip of the handpiece makes contact with the skin.
Tips for IPL treatments
- Treat a test area if you have skin that may not respond favourably
- Don’t tan before or after IPL
IPL for skin rejuvenation: benefits – Melbourne clinic
IPL is a useful tool for skin rejuvenation and treating specific skin problems, particularly those that involve pigment/colour. Benefits include:
- Photo rejuvenation (a skin rejuvenation tool)
- Effective treatment for facial, neck and chest redness, flushing and telangiectasia
- Visible improvements in skin rejuvenation without downtime
- Safe form of skin rejuvenation
- Quick and easy treatments
- Great benefits for rosacea and photo-ageing
- No eye injury risks
- Can be used across the body, not just on the face
We have a vast array of skin rejuvenation technology.
Talk to our Melbourne clinic