Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) uses light energy to improve the colour and texture of skin. It has proven to be fast and efficient at erasing some of the visible damage caused by age and sun exposure.

What is it and how does it work?

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL), also known as flashlamp or photofacial, is a cosmetic skin treatment that uses light energy to target a certain colour on the skin. It is similar to laser treatment, except that IPL emits more than one wavelength of pulsating light, like a photo flash.

IPL penetrates down to the second skin layer (dermis) without harming the top layer (epidermis). The heat destroys the unwanted pigment to clear up freckles and other spots, or it destroys the hair follicle to prevent the hair from growing again.

After IPL, the patient may look younger because their skin tone is more uniform and luminous. The treatment doesn’t hurt other tissue and results are quick.

IPL can help minimise or remove:

  • sun damage
  • age spots
  • freckles
  • birthmarks
  • varicose veins
  • broken blood vessels
  • rosacea
  • hair (face, neck, back, chest, legs, underarms, or bikini line)

Can anybody receive IPL treatment?

No. Talk to your doctor first. There are certain people who should not receive IPL treatment, including those who:

  • are pregnant
  • have a skin condition
  • have a pacemaker
  • suffer from epileptic seizures
  • are sensitive to light
  • have very dark skin (phototype IV-V)

What to expect before and after treatment

A skin care specialist should first examine your skin to see if IPL is right for you. Let them know of any skin conditions you may have, as well as any medications you may be taking. They will give you a set of instructions in preparation for the treatment, including to avoid direct sunlight for a full month.

After treatment, skin may look red and feel bruised for a day or 2. Continue to avoid direct sunlight and apply moisturising lotion and sunscreen. People will typically receive at least 3 sessions depending on the particular characteristics and needs of each patient (hair removal may take up to 12 sessions).

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