Intense Pulsed Light: Frequently Asked Questions
If you are concerned about fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, or facial spider or varicose veins, intense pulsed light (IPL) can help. Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about IPL, along with their answers:
- What is IPL?
- At what age can IPL be performed?
- What does a typical IPL consultation entail?
- How is IPL performed?
- What should I expect after my IPL treatment?
- Does IPL hurt?
- When will I be able to see the results of IPL?
- What are the risks of IPL?
- Are the IPL results permanent?
IPL is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses high-intensity pulses of light (not laser light) to diminish the appearance of or remove a variety of skin lesions and imperfections. IPL goes by many other names and brand names, including computer controlled light therapy, Light Laser, MultiLight and Photo Laser.
There is no minimum or maximum age for IPL treatment.
You will meet with the doctor and he or she will determine if you are a good candidate for IPL treatment. The doctor will want to know about your medical history, examine your skin, and discuss why you are considering IPL. Then, the doctor will explain to you what can and cannot be treated with IPL. You may be asked to have a spot test done to see if your skin reacts well to IPL. The doctor will also advise you on about how many treatments will be needed to achieve your goal. You should also ask about the risks associated with IPL, as well as the cost.
The technician or doctor will determine if you need a topical anesthetic on the area to be treated. After the treatment area is numb, a gel will be applied and a glass prism will then be placed over the gel and treatment area. An intense flash of light, or pulse, is beamed through the prism to the treatment area.
Unlike laser resurfacing or other skin resurfacing procedures, there is no real downtime with IPL. Your skin may be slightly pink or red right after your treatment, and you may experience mild swelling that should subside in a few days.
The sensation during IPL treatment ranges from warmth to something like the sting of a rubber band snapping against your skin.
You should see results after one or two treatments. Your doctor will be able to predict how many treatments you'll need for best results.
Although rare, blistering and/or slight bleeding are possible, as are hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation (lightened or darkened areas of skin, respectively). Scarring is also possible, but rare.
Depending on your habits (sun exposure, skin care, use of sunblock, etc.), hyperpigmentation problems may be permanently eradicated with IPL. Your skin will continue to age, but IPL treatment resets the clock so you look younger longer. Your physician should be able to estimate how long the effects of IPL will last in your individual case.
Annapolis Aesthetic Surgery, Inc.
116 Defense Hwy.,
Annapolis, MD 21401
10807 Falls Road, #100
Baltimore, MD 21093
Buinewicz Plastic Surgery & Medspa
3655 Route 202
Suites 225 and 230
Doylestown, PA 18902