Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can help a multitude of skin issues from sun damage to tattoo removal. It involves sending short bursts of light, set to specific wavelengths, to target areas on your body. At Evia Medical Center, we want you to be comfortable with your treatment options. If you want to know whether IPL is right for you, keep reading to understand everything you need to know about IPL.
IPL treatment targets melanin
Most IPL treatments specifically target melanin. The light is set to a frequency that allows it to be absorbed by the melanin in your skin. These cells are damaged by the light and your body naturally breaks them down and carries them away, making darker colors on your skin fade. It also targets melanin in the hair follicle to prevent future hair growth.
Because the treatment relies on melanin within target areas being higher than melanin in the surrounding skin, it is best if you have fair to olive skin. If you have darker skin, IPL may not be the right treatment for you.
Our office uses the Cynosure Icon® for IPL, which includes an unmatched melatonin reader. This can assess your skin tone and allow us to make appropriate adjustments to the device to ensure the best treatment possible.
IPL can treat more than discoloration
IPL can be adjusted to different wavelengths to fulfill different needs. The Cynosure Icon has laser options in addition to IPL wands. This allows us to thoroughly treat mild to moderate wrinkles, visible veins and blood vessels, acne scarring, rough skin, large pores, and unwanted hair. In some cases, we may be able to treat multiple issues in a single session.
You need to share your medical history
Certain medications and medical conditions can interact poorly with IPL. For example, antibiotics can make your skin photosensitive, causing burning with IPL. You should tell us if you are pregnant, have herpes or cold sores, are currently taking medications, or have taken acne medication in the past.
Being upfront about your past allows us to help you determine the right treatment.
Multiple treatment sessions produce the best results
IPL results are not instantaneous. You may need several treatment sessions before you achieve your desired results. Multiple sessions allow us to slowly and carefully treat your problems without damaging your healthy skin. Most people undergo between three and six treatments with about a month of recovery time between treatments.
The good news is that the results of IPL therapy tend to be long-lasting, with many people satisfied with their results six months after their final treatment. Additionally, each treatment session is relatively short, usually around half an hour, depending on the size of area you want treated.
You may experience some discomfort
IPL treatment can cause some discomfort during the therapy. Many people compare the sensation of the light pulses to the snapping of a rubber band or lighting of a match. But the Cynosure Icon has cooling devices that help limit your discomfort. If you experience pain during the treatment, you should feel free to let us know so we can make appropriate adjustments to the device.
After the treatment, we may apply a cold compress to relieve any discomfort and reduce redness in the treated area. Additionally, the application of moisturizer helps ease your discomfort.
After your treatment, your skin may be red for a day or so, similar to a light sunburn. But this should not be uncomfortable, and it fades quickly.
If you have more questions about IPL or want to discuss a potential treatment, you can call us at Evia Medical Center to schedule an appointment.
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