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Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is a non-invasive and non-ablative treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of vascular lesions, broken facial capillaries, Rosacea, freckles, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles and removal of unwanted dark hair. This treatment is performed by a Physician, Nurse or technician trained in IPL procedures.
The process of rejuvenating aging and damaged skin using IPL is referred to as photorejuvenation and requires a series of treatments for optimal results.
IPL technology uses a high-powered, hand-held, computer-controlled flashgun to deliver an intense, visible, broad-spectrum pulse of light (400 to 1200 nm). The light energy of the device is converted to heat energy in the skin. Various cutoff filters are commonly used to selectively filter out lower wavelengths, especially ultra violet light. The resulting light has a spectral range that targets specific structures and chromophores (such as melanin in hair, or oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels), that are heated to destruction and the remnants reabsorbed by the body. The light and heat help tighten the skin by producing wounds to specific components of the skin, such as collagen. As the skin heals, it tightens and texture improves.
IPL shares some similarities with laser treatments. Both use light to heat and destroy their targets. Lasers use a single wavelength (1500 nm or about 1900nm) of light that typically matches only one chromophore target in the skin, hence only one condition. IPL uses a broad spectrum and with appropriate filters, allowing it to be used against several conditions.
Side Effects of IPL
Although IPL is considered very safe and effective, side effects can occur. The FDA has received adverse event reports of burns, blisters, scarring, and skin discolorations. One of the main factors contributing to these complications was the failure to adhere to the device's operation and maintenance instructions.