Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy - What You Should Know
Many people just can’t tolerate the downtime or may not be good candidates for laser skin resurfacing. Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments, however, are an excellent choice. IPL uses broad-spectrum light that filters out unwanted wavelengths as a means of treating many skin conditions and abnormalities.
In fact, IPL can diminish or remove:
- Age spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Broken capillaries
- Telangectasias on the face
- Sun damage
- Spider veins on the extremities
- Unwanted hair
IPL therapy is based on high-intensity pulses of light that penetrate the skin. There are several different machines that emit different wavelengths of IPL to penetrate different distances into the skin. We use the Accelawave which offers an extensive range of wavelengths and has a sapphire crystal cooling tip to further increase patient comfort.
Different wavelengths treat different skin conditions. To remove body hair permanently or almost permanently, for example, IPL zeros in on the hair follicles and kills them. However, hair grows in cycles and some follicles are lying dormant. Light therapy must hit the hair follicle during its growing phase to work properly which means you will need a series of treatment to obtain the best results.
Are You a Candidate for IPL?You may not be a good candidate for IPL therapy if you are prone to developing red, raised keloid scars or other forms of excess scarring, hyperpigmentation, or hypopigmentation. You are also not a good candidate for intense pulsed light therapy if you do not react well to burns or if you have uncontrolled diabetes, as this disease may affect your body's wound-healing ability.
Discuss appropriate treatments with Dr. Trussell. She, herself, will examine your skin and any scars you have. You may need to have a patch test to see how you react to IPL. After this test, you have to watch the test area for several days for any reactions such as blistering, pigmentation problems, rashes, or persistent redness. Report any problems to Dr. Trussell. Not everyone requires a patch test.
If you are deemed an appropriate candidate, Dr. Trussell will recommend an individualized IPL treatment plan. You will be instructed on what (and what not) to do for the two weeks before your first and subsequent treatments. This will include staying out of the sun and tanning bed. If you are in the sun, you must wear sunscreen at least the two weeks prior to a treatment and you may be asked to avoid certain medications that could increase bleeding risk, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
IPL TreatmentDr. Trussell or her nurse, Sandy, may apply a topical anesthetic to the treatment area. After this, clear aloe vera gel is applied and a glass prism is placed over the treatment area. Pulses of intense light will be flashed through a filter, directed at the treatment area. You will receive several treatments. Your first treatment may not be as aggressive as those that follow. Your first treatment is half diagnostic and half therapeutic. You will be asked a thorough history of your skin and any significant medical problems. Treatments are usually performed every three to four weeks. The treated area may be slightly pink or red right after your treatment. There may be some mild swelling. Dr. Trussell will advise you to use sunscreen with a 15-30 SPF after your IPL treatment. Although rare, blistering or slight bleeding can occur after IPL therapy. Other potential risks may include pigment changes and scarring.
IPL CostCost for IPL depends on the area being treated, and the type of treatment being provided. You can purchase a package of three treatment visits and save 15% until the end of October 2011. Make sure you are clear about all the price points before you begin your IPL treatment series. We are available to answer any questions you may have.
Call us today to schedule your consult. Dr. Trussell and Sandy look forward to working with you to provide the best individualized care for your skin problems.