What Is An IPL Treatment?
IPL, short for intense pulsed light, also known as Photo Rejuvenation or Photo Facial, is a popular treatment that is designed to improve the tone and texture of sun-damaged and aging skin. IPL is best-known for its ability to treat vascular conditions like broken capillaries (‘spider veins’) or Rosacea and the freckles or brown ’age spots’ caused by sun damage. The benefits of IPL Photo Rejuvenation are comprehensive. Nearly every type of problem of the structure and appearance of skin can be improved through this treatment’s ability to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers plump up and strengthen the skin, refine and tighten large pores resulting in a fresher look. When administered properly, all these benefits are gained with little discomfort or downtime.
IPL works by using short blasts of a polychromatic, high-intensity light to penetrate just below the skin’s surface. This light causes a targeted thermal injury to either the melanin that makes up brown ‘age spots’ or freckles, or the blood vessels that create broken capillaries or a generalized redness to the skin as seen in Rosacea. The skin is then stimulated into ‘wound healing response’ and thus repairs the injury. The desired end result is a more even tone and radiant complexion.
Results are cumulative. A series of treatments (3-6), depending on the severity of the photo damage and the desired result, is preferred to see the best outcome. These treatments are often spaced approximately one month apart.
What Happens During the IPL Treatment?
During an IPL photo-rejuvenation session, a cold gel is applied to the skin, and then a series of intense pulses of light penetrate the deepest layers of skin. This light, transformed into heat energy, is absorbed into the dark spots, sun spots and blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin. Soon after treatment, brown spots will darken and take on a ‘coffee ground’ like appearance. These intentionally injured cells soon rise to the surface and are exfoliated off naturally or while cleansing the skin. For blood vessels, the heat energy causes the lining of the unwanted vessels to swell shut and be absorbed and eliminated by the body’s natural process. This process also has the benefit of stimulating the production of collagen and gradually reducing the appearance of skin imperfections. In the weeks following treatment, skin looks more evenly toned, pore size is reduced and there is a noticeable reduction in the appearance of freckles and age spots, discolouration, broken blood vessels, acne, redness and fine lines and wrinkles.
Things To Be Aware of With IPL
IPL can also be used to remove hair, but it is not as effective as laser hair removal.
IPL CANNOT get rid of tattoos and should be kept away from any tattoos you have and want to keep.
People with Asian skin or darker skin should be extra careful as IPL can sometimes causes hyper or hypo -pigmentation.
IPL should not be performed if you have tanned skin as it absorbs the light unpredictably and burns can result.
You can get burned with IPL if the operator is not knowledgeable and careful during the treatment.
Things to look for in an IPL Treatment
- The operator has an intake form and discusses your concerns and takes your photos before any treatment.
- The operator has some kind of license and specific IPL training by an outside accredited source, beyond just the company that sold them the machine. Preferably the person has at least 3-5 years of experience. As with lasers, it’s an unregulated field and most provinces don’t require a license. Making sure the provider is a doctor or registered nurse or an aesthetician is not necessarily a guarantee, because it comes down to the integrity and experience of the person.
To operate these devices is not difficult to learn, but whether the person is a doctor, an RN or a technician, they have to take the time to learn, they have to care about what they’re doing, and they have to have the experience of working with different skin types and conditions and to know how to safely and effectively treat each individuals skin as well and the area i.e. face, neck, chest, shoulders arms etc.
When used correctly, IPL Photo Rejuvenation is an excellent choice to restore your skin to its pre sun-exposed state. The results are a beautiful dewy-like look to the skin that is healthy, vibrant, even-toned and fresh! Add a really effective skin care regimen and having beautiful skin for life is possible!