While it seems counterintuitive to use light to address sun-induced discoloration, that’s exactly what Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) does. Using flashes (or pulses) of light-based energy, IPL targets unwanted pigmentation. This ultimately leads to skin with a smoother, even tone, and is a useful alternative to diode lasers.
When used as a singular treatment, or in conjunction with laser treatments, IPL can substantially clear and brighten skin, helping to erase the discoloration associated with sun damage. It is also effective on other discolorations, such as dilated blood vessels.
For those with darker skin tones who are unable to use certain laser technologies because of hyperpigmentation concerns, a series of IPL treatments can have a similar effect on skin laxity and collagen production.
In order to achieve the best possible results, we encourage our patients to schedule IPL treatments when there is limited sun exposure. Post-treatment your skin is slightly more sensitive to light, which can result in new, unwanted spots if exposed to the sun.
What to Expect
Length of Procedure
Depending on the area that is being treated, IPL can take between 20 to 30 minutes.
Shortly after the procedure, your skin will appear brighter, radiant, and more even in tone. Redness should be decreased, and damaged blood vessels will be much less noticeable. Over the next 3 to 6 months (especially if you are doing a series of treatments), you will notice fewer fines, and skin may seem tighter and smoother.
IPL is one of the most gentle photoregeneration procedures we offer. Skin may be slightly redder for the next few days, but can be safely covered with makeup or product. Dark spots and freckles may react to the treatment by crusting over and flaking off; but depending on the intensity of the treatment, pigmentation changes could be subtle.
Number of Treatments
If you have minimal sun damage, or if you are using IPL in conjunction with a Fraxel DUAL treatment, 1 appointment should be sufficient. If you want more dramatic results, or the benefits of collagen stimulation in addition to pigmentation improvement, we recommend 3 to 5 treatments, each scheduled 1 month apart. In cases of rosacea or persistent redness, 3 to 5 treatments are initially suggested, with patients advised to return once a season for maintenance sessions.
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