What Is IPL Skin Therapy?

Beauty, Home & Family
on October 1, 2011

Shine a light on sun-damaged, aging and otherwise damaged skin, and miraculously, healing begins. It’s not a magic trick. It's science. IPL, or intense pulsed light, therapy is a form of photorejuvenation. Discover what IPL skin therapy is and how it can help to rejuvenate your skin.

Types of IPL. There are several types of IPL, including lasers such as a fractional laser, precise plasma-based devices or fractional photothermolysis.

How does IPL work? Intense pulsed light treatment actually causes a controlled damage and healing response. Light is focused on a damaged area. The carefully controlled light heats the tissues, causing a slight trauma to the skin. In the process of the body’s natural healing response to this trauma, collagen production increases rapidly and, in the process, decreases the appearance of any injury or blemish, revealing healthy, new skin.

The process is simple. A physician trained and skilled in the procedure focuses a laser on the areas of skin that need rejuvenation. The result is resurfaced, healthy, new skin. The experience is not painful; however, there may be a slight discomfort in the area treated similar to the snapping of an elastic band.

IPL may be used for multiple conditions. The need for noninvasive therapies is not limited to wrinkles and other signs of aging. Intense pulsed light therapy has been successfully used to treat skin problems such as melasma (dark skin discoloration), age spots and other kinds of hyperpigmentation; sun damage or photoaging; broken capillaries and associated redness; scarring; keloid formations, a type of scarring; rosacea (flushed, ruddy complexion); freckles; and wrinkles and fine lines.

There are some risks. Be certain you know the risks to the type of IPL you are considering. Check with your physician and be aware that skin darkening and potential scarring may occur in the treated area. Poor procedure and lack of skill can result in skin burns, so always select a highly qualified, licensed and well-regarded physician to perform the procdedure. The doctor should always perform a patch test in order to determine your skin’s tolerance to the procedure before commencing the full treatment. You should never have IPL on skin that is tanned or sunburned. It may require multiple treatments in order to achieve the full effect. IPL typically costs $250 to $500 per session. In general, it has been determined by researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University that IPL therapy is a noninvasive and safe way to rejuvenate skin with few negative side effects.