IPL, or ‘intense pulsed light,’ is a laser that improves the appearance of photo-aged skin, removes or significantly reduces age spots (sun-induced freckles), benign brown pigment, and redness caused by broken capillaries on the face and body. IPL uses a different kind of light than laser treatments and is non-invasive and non-ablative: it does not puncture or strip off layers of skin.
In our office, we use the M22 Lumenis, a state-of-the-art device with applications to treat over 30 skin conditions, including general signs of aging, birthmarks, acne scars, and rosacea. The wide range of functions of the device enables the provider to tailor treatment to each patient’s individual needs to achieve optimal results.
During treatment, the IPL wavelength is optimized so that the energy is absorbed only by the unwanted melanin, raising the temperature enough to cause shattering of the pigment. Deeper level damaged blood vessels are treated simultaneously.
Shortly after treatment, the unwanted pigment cells (or melanin) have been thoroughly fragmented without damage to the surrounding tissue. Vascular lesions are heated, causing coagulation and shrinking of the vessels.
In the weeks after treatment, the shattered melanin particles are eliminated through a process which causes the fragmented pigments and damaged melanocytes to be absorbed by the body. Little or no trace of the initial lesions remains. The treated vessels deeper within the epidermis are reabsorbed by the body in much the same way.
Because the treatment is non-invasive, there is no significant interruption of routine activities. By helping to remove the age spots (sun-induced freckles) and broken capillaries, the result is overall younger looking skin. Improvement is subtle and accomplished over a series of treatments so the patient’s skin does not appear obviously treated.
The M22 Lumenis requires you to have no active tan during the course of your treatments. Please let us know if you have a history of cold sores or have ever had an adverse reaction to light or laser treatments in the past. Our providers may suggest medications prior and after treatment for optimal healing.
Before coming to your appointment, make sure you gently clean the area being treated and avoid wearing any make-up if the area is your face.
Because IPL can be somewhat uncomfortable, we recommend that you come at least one hour prior to your appointment time to have topical numbing applied to the area you would like treated. We will schedule this numbing time when you reserve an appointment for the procedure.
Before your treatment, we will gently clean the area being treated, then we will put eye shields over your eyelids to protect you from the bright light, although you will still be able to see some flashes during the procedure. These are not harmful to your eyesight.
Immediately following the treatment, you may notice some redness, bruising and swelling in the area treated. Swelling, bruising and redness may last for a few days, sometimes up to a week. Direct sun exposure should be avoided for at least 48 hours following the treatment and careful sun protection should be used for up to two weeks afterwards.
Most of our patients use topical numbing and don’t feel much sensation during the procedure. Those who elect to go without numbing describe the sensation as a hot pinch or a rubber band snapping against the skin. A coolant gel is applied to the skin to help improve the sensation during treatment.
You can typically resume wearing makeup and sunscreen immediately after treatment. It is essential that you keep your skin well lubricated and protected from the sun for the week following the procedure. We will give you in-depth aftercare instructions at your appointment and are available to answer any questions as needed.