IPL and Laser Treatment
Overview of IPL Treatment
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a non-invasive skin treatment that emits powerful bursts of light energy to treat sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, and unwanted hair growth without damaging the surface of your skin. Unlike laser therapy, the IPL device can generate light energy at various frequencies in order to treat these different skin problems. Certain frequencies destroy dark skin regions, while other frequencies will increase the melanin in your skin to re-pigment skin.
This treatment can encourage new collagen growth to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, remove age spots or brown spots, and decrease skin redness. Researchers have also found that IPL is highly effective at removing visible signs of birthmarks and facial lesions. IPL also erases broken capillaries and smoothes roughly textured skin.
During your session, you'll wear protective goggles. The area of your skin that's being treated is then covered in a gel, and the hand-held wand of the IPL unit will be pressed against your skin. The IPL unit emits light energy pulses that get absorbed by your skin without damaging nearby healthy skin tissue. Most treatments last less than 30 minutes.
Overview of Laser Treatment
A laser is a high-energy beam of light that can selectively transfer its energy into tissue to treat the skin. Lasers contain a material that produces and amplifies light. They use optimized light wavelengths to target certain areas without harming the surrounding tissue. Skin treatment lasers have greatly advanced over the years and can treat a number of different conditions.
In one cosmetic application, laser skin resurfacing, commonly called a laser peel, removes the outer, damaged layer of skin to reveal a smoother, younger look. Laser resurfacing can reduce the appearance of sun damage, wrinkles, and fine lines. A carbon dioxide laser beam of precisely focused light vaporizes abnormal cells, resulting in the production of a new, healthier skin surface. Procedure time varies depending on the size and condition of the area being treated.
Lasers can also target small, facial blood vessels. These vessels, commonly around the nose and likely the results of sun exposure, can be removed with lasers, which target hemoglobin, the red portion of blood. This requires little to no downtime and does not cause bruising. Areas of pigmented skin, including brown spots and age spots, and unwanted body hair may also be treated with laser therapy.
Possible Side Effects
Even though the IPL energy bursts do not break the skin, they can be painful. You may request a numbing cream to minimize discomfort. Some common IPL treatment complications include red, slightly puffy, or occasionally blistered skin, burns or other injuries from the heat, scarring, and skin discolorations. In some patients, reactivation of a previous herpes simplex cold sore may occur.
Side effects of laser treatments also include depigmentation (skin lightening) and hyperpigmentation (skin darkening). This usually resolves within 1–3 months, but in some cases, skin discoloration may be permanent. Laser treatments may also lead to temporary pain, redness, bruising, blistering, and reactivation of herpes simplex. Scarring is very rare.