IPL or Intense Pulsed Light Therapy - The Gentle Alternative for Wrinkles
Laser treatments have come a long way since they first appeared in the mid nineties. IPL - also called Flashlamp, MultiLight or Photo Laser - can perform minor miracles on sun damaged skin (photoaging) anywhere on the body, but most significantly on the face and hands.
IPL is a safer option than tradition laser resurfacing and is commonly used for facial hair removal, removal of birth marks and even tattoo removal. What we are mainly concerned with here, however, is skin resurfacing. Skin resurfacing can eliminate fine lines, spider veins and pigmentation and significantly reduce deep lines and acne scarring.
Broad spectrum light is a lot more gentle on the skin and the risk of burning or blistering is significantly reduced. So much so that IPL can even be used for the treatment of redness and rosacea. Many patients have also noticed a reduction in pore size and a smoother skin.
The benefits are ongoing too. IPL stimulates the skin to produce more collagen, plumping out the skin and making it appear younger.
IPL usually needs more that a single treatment and may need four and as many as six treatments for the full effect to be realized. Because of this, there are no “dramatic” effects after one treatment which makes it a great alternative for those who don’t want to be conspicuous.
For this reason it’s very popular with males who would rather die than admit to any form of facial rejuvenation!
Because the treatments are gentle, there is also minimal, if any, down time. Wonderful for those busy people on the go.
IPL is also much safer for dark skinned people than traditional laser treatments as it doesn’t cause as much loss of pigment, although this is still a risk.
The deeper the treatment, the more the benefits are increased, but this has to be balanced against the increased risk of burning. Always select an experienced practitioner and ask to see photos.
Side effects? A pink face for a while and possible loss of pigment in the deeper IPL treatments. You will need to treat your skin gently and use a high UV sunscreen (15+ or more)
IPL will not work on natural aging such as sagging skin. Only a face lift or neck lift can improve this. There is a non surgical procedure called “thermage” which may help and of course the “thread lift” which is gaining in popularity and which will give some "lifting" effect.
Copyright 2005 Wendy Owen
This article was posted on January 03, 2006