IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing, where both the dermis and epidermis are injured to produce a much more noticeable overall outcome. The advantage of IPL therapy is its minimal downtime – a patient can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.
IPL is utilized to improve the appearance of the following skin problems: small vascular lesions (including spider angiomas, broken facial veins, rosy cheeks, and rosacea), freckles caused by sun damage, wrinkles, and removal of unwanted dark hair. The procedure of rejuvenating aged skin is referred to as photorejuvenation, and requires a series of IPL treatments.
Immediately after the treatment, you may experience some minor redness. The redness typically lasts only a few hours. Some of the pigmented sun spots may become darker for a few days, but will then virtually disappear. Patients often describe the treatment as relaxing and therapeutic with visible results almost immediately. You can expect to immediately return to normal activities. After a few treatments, you may want a maintenance session once a year or every few years. The number of treatments also depends on how much sun damage you have. Sticking to a skin-care regimen, including sun protection and a retinoid, will reduce the damage and may decrease the frequency of maintenance treatments needed.