Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a non-invasive and non-ablative treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of skin problems such as:
- Vascular lesions including spider veins, port wine stains, broken facial veins, rosy cheeks, rosacea and red thread veins of the legs
- Hair removal
- Sun spots and sun damage
- Freckles and age marks
- Facial lines and wrinkles
- IPL may also be helpful for mild to moderate acne and stretch marks
IPL therapy works by delivering precise pulses of light to specific areas of the skin. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific target area. Intense pulsed light therapy is different from lasers in that it delivers many wavelengths in each pulse of light instead of just one.
Intense pulsed light therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing where both the dermis and epidermis are injured to produce a much more noticeable overall outcome.
A considerable benefit to intense pulsed light therapy is that it combines dramatic improvement with virtually no down time. Treatment sessions usually last about 20 minutes and patients can return to their regular activities immediately following it. To achieve desired results, repeat sessions every 3-6 weeks may be needed.
IPL treatments are relatively painless compared to other facial rejuvenation techniques. The sensation has been likened to a light pinch or the snap of a rubber band.
Side effects of intense pulsed light therapy are minor and include:
- Mild pain during treatment
- Skin turning pink and a little sore immediately after the procedure
- Sensation of a mild sunburn (redness, peeling, swelling) that may last a few days after treatment
- Rarely, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy and blistering can occur
- Sometimes the pigment cells (melanocytes) can be damaged leaving darker or paler patches of skin
- Hair loss may occur
- Bruising affects up to 10% of patients
Intense pulsed light therapy offers a gentle, long-lasting solution for visible signs of skin damage that affect the way you look. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Holy in Phoenix, contact THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology at 602-867-7546 or website.