IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL improves your skin by minimising or even removing red veins, brown pigmentation and general redness or rosacea with controlled light.
As we age, our skin has a tendency to age in multiple ways. Sometimes it is with wrinkles, sometimes it is with sagging skin and sometimes aging is with blotchy pigmented or sun-damaged skin. Or it can be multiple little broken capillaries on our face, neck or chest. Aged skin isn’t always the issue but freckles may have always bothered you. A medical grade IPL can very effectively remove sunspots including freckles and vessels on the skin. This will leave us with a much more even skin tone and colour. The great news is that IPL also stimulates collagen which improves fine lines and pore size so our skin will benefit even more from treatment.
Where on our body can we have treatment?
Most areas of our skin can be treated with IPL but the most common areas are the face, neck, chest and hands
Who can have IPL?
Generally, only lighter skin types can have IPL so skin types 1-3 can be safely treated with IPL but anyone with a darker skin type 4-6 would not be able to have this type of treatment safely. This is due to the fact that the machine cannot make the distinction between the damage it is trying to take away and your natural skin colour. This can potentially lead to PIH (Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation) or hypopigmentation.
If you have a skin type 4-6 and have concerns with uneven skin tone, you may be better to look at a Dermamelan peel or our sister company Nakedlaserstudio.com’s offerings through their Enlighten 3 laser.
Is IPL safe?
IPL generally is safe, especially when you have a quality machine such as the Cutera Xeo platform. It has safety features such as a coolglide tip. This ensures the skin is cooled effectively during the pulses keeping the skin from getting burned. It also self-calibrates before every pulse, ensuring that he pulse you get is the correct one.
Side effects of the treatment are redness, and heat feeling like sunburn for a few hours. Some people experience swelling, especially the next day. These are all temporary and will resolve over a few hours to a few days.
There is a risk of hyper/hypopigmentation of your skin. Your nurse will not treat you if they feel it is not an appropriate treatment for you. Blistering is rare but possible. You will be given advice if this happens.
How does IPL work?
For pigmentation, the light is absorbed by the colour of the excess pigmentation, so the light energy pulses to this area. It effectively shatters the pigment, which then becomes debris in the skin. The pigmentation will now look worse like a graze which is a good sign that it will work well. This can be somewhat covered by makeup. Through your body’s normal rejuvenation cycle it will come to the surface and shed off. This usually takes 4-21 days. It is quicker on the face than elsewhere on the body. Typically, you need one or two treatments for this.
For blood vessels, the light is attracted to the haemoglobin in the vessel and coagulates it. Your body will reabsorb the vessels and this process takes around three weeks to see your final result. Vessels are more stubborn to treat than pigmentation so it may take several treatments to really get a good reduction of vessels/broken capillaries and excessive redness. If they are large vessels we may opt to use our ND Yag laser which treats larger vessels often found around the nose in particular.
For general rejuvenation of the skin you would ideally do three treatments to get an improvement of fine lines and pore size and just general skin health.