Intense Pulsed Light Therapy Myths and Facts

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL), previously named ‘Intense Pulse Light Therapy,’ is a cosmetic treatment popular for hair removal and photo rejuvenation treatment. This skin treatment process is performed using a wand of light that is specifically enhanced to allow for just the correct amount of energy to be used. The particular light finds its way through the skin to the hair shaft (root) of the hair, destroying the hair follicle.

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy is also beneficial for rosacea and redness of the skin, sun-damaged skin, acne, stretch marks, spider veins, age spots, tattoos, birth marks and broken capillaries, freckles and fine wrinkles.

Myth: One Wavelength Is Used for Each Pulse of Light

Fact: Unlike most laser therapy treatments, Intense Pulsed Light Therapy uses several wavelengths for each pulse of light. This results in a lower all-at-once intense energy process minimizing risks for injury to the skin. Instead, this cosmetic procedure functions to improve the lower layers of the skin (dermis) and leaves the upper layers of the skin (epidermis) in tact.

Myth: Using Several Wavelengths Requires More Downtime

Fact: Because this therapy uses several enhanced wavelengths rather than one intense wavelengths, injury to the upper layers of the skin is less, therefore there is only minimal downtime. Most individuals who receive this procedure have it performed during a lunch break and are back to work immediately afterwards. Avoiding direct sunlight to the treated areas is recommended, as well as using an effective sunscreen.

Myth: The Procedure Is Non-Invasive, but Not as Effective as Microdermabrasion

Fact: Intense Pulsed Light Therapy is non-invasive and extremely effective. Just one session of this treatment process is equivalent to 12 sessions of microdermabrasion therapy treatments.

Myth: Only One Session Is Needed

Fact: With IPL, 3 to 6 sessions are normally recommended for optimal results for skin rejuvenation, and 6 to 12 treatment sessions are usually necessary for hair removal. This process involves gradual processes for minimal injury and downtime.

Myth: Women Experience More Discomfort than Men

Fact: For hair removal, men experience more discomfort than women with Intense Pulsed Light Therapy treatment. The reason is that men’s hair is thicker, which can cause the procedure to be more painful than for the opposite sex.

Myth: There Are No Side Effects

Fact: Although this cosmetic treatment is non-invasive, there are some side effects that may occur such as the lightening of the skin (hypopigmentation) and darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation), minimal bleeding, blistering, slight stinging and scabbing.

Myth: Rosacea Can be Aggravated from Treatment

Fact: Intense Pulsed Light Therapy helps rosacea by treating the blood vessels. It does help with skin redness, as this form of treatment is most commonly used for this purpose. The effectiveness often depends on the skill of the person who is performing the treatment, as well as the type of machine that is being used.

Myth: Treatment Can Be Repeated Every Week

Fact: Normally, 3 to 4 weeks are required in between procedures. Time is necessary for the treatment to work and for the skin to heal.

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