Intense Pulsed Light, more commonly known as IPL or photofacial, uses broad-spectrum light as a way of treating many different skin conditions. The technology filters out unwanted light to target minor imperfections in the skin in order to restore a more youthful, even complexion free of signs of sun damage and aging. It is unlike laser treatment since it sends many different wavelengths of light with each pulse.
IPL is used to diminish or remove age spots, facial flushing, redness, rosacea, broken capillaries, freckles and minor sun damage. Unlike laser resurfacing (Fraxel) or chemical peels, there is almost no downtime with IPL. Patients are typically able to resume normal activities relatively quickly without blistering, burns or long recovery periods. Studies show that patients who have regular IPL treatments over years, age more slowly over time and have more youthful appearing skin than they started with originally.
While IPL cannot be used on all patients, it is effective and safe when used on the appropriate skin types and to achieve the desired results. The treatment consists of the application of a cold gel to surface of the skin followed by pulses of intense light that flash through a glass prism directed at the treatment area. A full treatment takes approximately twenty minutes and three to six treatments are usually required. Treatment sessions are spaced four weeks apart and leave the skin slightly pink or red right after the treatment. Mild swelling is common and high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen use is mandatory following each treatment.