UAE peeps, here is an article explaining the science behind Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy – a non-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment used often these days. Nowadays, IPL therapy is used to treat several skin conditions like rosacea, acne, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and wrinkles. For those of you not familiar with the term IPL or how it works, stay here. The information in this article will keep you well informed.
What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and How does it Work & Help in Skin Rejuvenation?
Basically, IPL makes use of light energy to improve the appearance of the skin. IPL therapy emits pulses of light energy which the melanin in the skin absorbs. Melanin is nothing but the pigment that gives your skin its colour. When melanin (the pigment cells present in your skin) absorbs the light energy, it heats up and gets destroyed. This process is known as photothermolysis. This heat clears up freckles and other aging spots or acne scars by destroying the unwanted pigment. Thus, making you look younger. It also destroys the hair follicle to prevent hair growth. So, you feel relaxed looking at your silky smooth glowing skin.
What is the Difference between IPL and Laser Treatment?
Although IPL is a bit similar to a laser treatment, there are many differences between them. So, how does IPL differ from a laser treatment? Well, IPL releases light of numerous, varied wavelengths just like a photo flash. On the other hand, a laser focuses only one wavelength of length on your skin. Further, the light released from IPL is more scattered and less focused compared to a laser treatment. Without causing harm to the epidermis i.e. the top layer of your skin, IPL penetrates down to the dermis i.e. the second layer of your skin, thereby causing less damage to your skin. Therefore, IPL is a safer alternative in the long run than laser.
Which Conditions Can Be Treated Through IPL?
Both collagen and elastin are proteins that provide elasticity to the skin. Moreover, these proteins are also responsible for giving structure to the skin. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less collagen and elastin, which can lead to wrinkles. Plus, the skin starts sagging too. The good news is that IPL therapy can stimulate the production of collagen and elastin regardless of your age. The heat that the IPL therapy generates helps in doing so.
You might have heard about the skin condition called rosacea. IPL is an effective therapy used nowadays to treat it. Dermatologists target a component in the walls of telangiectatic vessels known as oxyhemoglobin to treat rosacea. The telangiectasias take up the light selectively. The heat causes thrombosis which indeed closes the vessels. Gradually, the person with rosacea notices a difference in the skin.
Besides removing and treating unwanted hair, wrinkles, and rosacea, you can also use IPL to treat the following conditions:
- Varicose veins
- Age spots
- Broken blood vessels on your face
- Sun damage
- Thick, dark hair on face, neck, chest, underarms, back, bikini line, and legs
Things You Should Avoid Before the IPL Procedure?
If you are trying out the IPL therapy for the first time, contact your dermatologist or skincare specialist. They will examine your skin and let you know if you have any underlying diseases or any skin issues. So, you will know whether you can go ahead with the IPL procedure or not.
Two weeks prior to your IPL therapy procedure, your skin care specialist will tell you to avoid taking certain medications and treatments, activities, and also using other products. Of course, this differs from individual to individual. Even if you’re not advised, it is better you avoid these things.
- Tanning beds
- Collagen injections
- Direct sunlight
- Chemical peels
- Drugs that increase risk of bleeding like ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin (Ecotrin)
- Creams or any other products containing Vitamin A, for instance, Glycolic acid and RetinA
What Happens During the IPL Procedure?
Firstly, the dermatologist/skin care specialist cleans the area on your skin that needs to be treated. Next, they use a cool gel and rub it onto your skin. You need to wear dark safety glasses to protect your eyes during the IPL treatment. After this, the specialist uses the IPL device to apply light pulses from it to your skin. So, how do these pulses feel on your skin? Well, for some it doesn’t make much of a difference. They just feel like someone is snapping them with a rubberband. But, some may feel like a sting.
Generally, the treatment takes about 20 minutes to half an hour to complete. However, this depends on the part or area of your body being treated and how large it is. To achieve the desired results,
Who Should Avoid IPL?
Firstly, IPL is not advisable for those who are prone to keloids or raised scars. Secondly, if you suffer from a skin condition involving inflammation like eczema then stay away from IPL. Thirdly, it is not recommended for those with a very dark skin tone. Also, IPL is not very effective on hair that is light in colour.