Laser treatments are a popular and extremely effective solution for many common cosmetic complaints ranging from laser hair removal through to the reduction of broken capillaries (spider veins) and acne scarring. What is not known is that a lot of these laser treatments are performed using ‘Intense Pulse Light Therapy’ and so technically they’re not a laser treatment, even though they’re commonly referred to as such online. For this purpose alone, we use the term laser treatments.
Intense Pulsed Light therapy, commonly known as IPL, works by emitting a range of different wavelengths in pulses of light. When used to address skin complaints, an area it particularly excels in, these pulses of light are targeted at the pigmented areas of the skin. They penetrate just below the skin’s surface, damaging either the melanin that creates age spots and birthmarks or the blood vessels that create broken capillaries and rosacea. IPL is considered more effective than laser treatment for this application. Acne scars and other scarring can also be treated successfully. The skin repairs the intended, controlled damage, leaving you with a more even skin tone.
IPL, as with laser treatment, typically requires a series of treatments – usually 1-3 for capillaries and rosacea treatments, each around a month apart - to see the best results. The results do differ between individuals but you will experience an improved appearance overall, with a significant reduction in blemishes.
When used for hair removal, IPL works in much the same way; by targeting the pigment within the hair. The light rapidly turns to heat killing the growing cells that make the hair. A series of hair removal treatments, typically 6, will be required and at set stages to maximise the effectiveness of the treatment, working within the hairs’ own growing cycle.
Karen Burgess BSc (hons) is a fully qualified and competent practitioner who has been operating IPL therapy treatment for broken capillaries, blemishes, scars and hair removal for many years.
BEFORE & AFTERS
When will I see results?
A series of treatments is required. The effects are not immediate but the results are worth the time it takes to have an initial treatment and stimulate the skin’s healing process.
How long will it last?
A session can be anything from 30 minutes for the treatment of broken capillaries up to 2 hours for hair removal.
Is it painful?
The pulses of light are slightly painful and similar to an elastic band being snapped against the skin. This is certainly an acceptable level of pain for most people and even without numbing cream, which is always provided.
When targeting blemishes the treatment area will be red and slightly swollen for a few hours and, dependant on the level of treatment, may occasionally result in small scabs, which in many instances is the intention. Ice packs post treatment are advised to help cool the skin. IPL for hair removal results in little marking or soreness.
Downtime will vary dependant on the treatment.
How much does it cost?
IPL treatments, given the nature of the light targeting pigment, works best on paler skin for maximum effect.