What should you know about intense pulsed laser treatment?

laser treatment

The intense pulsed light (IPL) is a treatment for the skin that is cosmetic. Patients can use it to lessen the signs of aging or eliminate unwanted hair. Other applications include reducing the visible appearance of the scars and lightening dark areas of skin and enhancing the look of spider veins. IPL performs the same method similar to laser therapy. However, while laser therapy only delivers one wavelength of energy to the light source, IPL delivers multiple wavelengths.

It means IPL is able to treat a greater surface area in less time than laser treatment. This article will describe the way IPL operates and what people make use of it to treat. It will also look at its effectiveness and safety, and examine the potential dangers and adverse effects that can be a result of this procedure.

What is the process behind the IPL function?

IPL utilizes light energy to precisely target and eliminates damaged or pigmented hair follicles, or skin cells. Utilizing a handheld device, medical professionals will aim different wavelengths of light onto the skin. The light gets into the cells of the skin and breaks them down. The body removes the tissue that has been damaged naturally.


Some people may decide to use IPL as a treatment option for various skin problems. This includes:

  • acne scars
  • birthmarks
  • rosacea is the condition that causes redness on the face.
  • hyperpigmentation such as age spots or liver spots, as well as freckles
  • Melasma is a skin condition that causes gray or brown-brown skin patches
  • scars
  • spider veins
  • stretch marks
  • sun damaged skin
  • wrinkles

It is also used by many people to remove it to eliminate unwanted tattoos or hair.

Risks, safety, and side negative effects

IPL can be used safely by the majority of people, but it isn’t suitable for all. Women who are pregnant or are taking blood thinners, for instance, should steer clear of IPL. Other reasons that render people not suitable for IPL treatment are:

  • Recently or currently using the acne medication Accutane
  • Acne that is active
  • with a disorder of the skin that causes resurfacing
  • being prone to scarring from keloid
  • being severely scarred
  • who have suffered from severe sunburns recently

Like any medical procedure, IPL does carry the possibility of complications. This includes:

  • Pain
  • skin discoloration
  • swelling
  • Infection
  • bleeding
  • scarring
  • crusting

How efficient is it?

The efficacy of IPL is contingent on a variety of factors. It is more effective on light or white brown skin than black skin, for instance. Another aspect is the type of equipment that a doctor employs to perform the treatment. Every person reacts differently to IPL The majority of patients require several rounds of the procedure before they begin to see the improvements.


Anyone considering IPL treatment should talk to an experienced dermatologist regarding the possible advantages, adverse effects, and potential problems. In order to get ready for IPL dermatologists typically advise clients to avoid the following for two weeks:

  • Sunbathing, tanning, and sunbeds
  • waxing
  • Chemical peels
  • collagen injections

Before and immediately following the treatment, patients should avoid wearing any deodorant or perfume on the treated area. It is recommended that the American Society of Dermatological Surgery recommends patients not to consume aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, or herbal supplements prior to the procedure. These drugs can increase bleeding risk.

What should you expect?

A medical professional uses the handheld device to administer laser therapy. In the course of treatment, patients might feel pinching. Some have described this as a sensation similar to the elastic bands being “snapped” on the skin. A lot of IPL service providers can help patients to overcome the discomfort by providing local anesthetics or chilling gel.

The amount and length of sessions required will depend on each patient’s treatment plan. It is important to remember that it may take a few weeks to see the effects that are the result of IPL treatment.


Following treatment, the skin may appear pink or red. It can last between 4 to eight hours.

Some people may also experience itchiness within six hours after the IPL. The sensation could be similar to that of getting a light sunburn. A moist towel or cool pack may aid in easing the pain.

The swelling is not uncommon typically lasting some days following the procedure.

During the period of healing individuals should refrain from applying cosmetics or lotion on the affected area until the first 24 hours following the procedure or until the swelling has gone. Following this, people should apply moisturizer to the treated areas at least twice every day for at least three months.

Read More: Chronic Pain and the Benefits of Physical Therapy

Other alternatives

IPL treatment might not be the ideal option for everyone. Some individuals find it too painful, while some feel uncomfortable with the healing time. Fraxel treatment is a type of laser therapy that helps to reduce the signs of aging. It’s not painful and most people just require one treatment instead of the many procedures required by IPL needs.

Patients can undergo Fraxel treatment for the neck, face shoulder, chest, or face. Since it’s laser-based, however, it can have the same risks of side negative effects as IPL.

Microdermabrasion is a different alternative for those looking to improve how their skin appears. It eliminates the dead, outer layers of skin, and exposes the new, fresher skin beneath. The results of microdermabrasion do not last longer than those from IPL and Fraxel treatment.

Comparatively to IPL Microdermabrasion can be:

  • cheaper
  • pain-free
  • There are fewer risks of adverse consequences
  • are more likely to have a quicker recovery time

Regarding hair removal, waxing or shaving are popular options for IPL treatment. Although the results of these techniques aren’t long, they tend to be less painful, come with lesser potential problems and take very little, if any time to recover.


IPL is an aesthetic skin treatment. Patients may opt for the treatment in order to lessen the signs of aging or eliminate unwanted hair. Other benefits include reducing the extent of skin hyperpigmentation like birthmarks, freckles as well as age spots. This type of light therapy is most effective for those with lighter skin and a person may require several sessions of treatment. IPL can be considered safe but may cause potential problems including swelling, pain, and bleeding. Women expecting babies are not advised to undergo IPL treatment.

By Taen

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