The primary goal of IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is to make the skin tone or color more even. One of the most common signs of aging skin is pigment (age spots) and small blood vessels (such as telangiectasias). These changes (called dyschromias) are due to sun damage, and are the primary reason women begin to wear foundation type makeup.
IPL can also brightens the skin and gives it a more youthful glow by adding small amounts of collagen back into the skin. This does not reduce wrinkles, but it does have a positive effect on the texture of the skin. This is a remarkably consistent result of IPL, and for many patients this alone makes it worth the effort. As always, the results are operator dependent.
The procedure itself is usually described as a slight rubber band snap with slight heat sensation. It will usually take 3-6 treatments to see a significant result and treatments can be spaced out every 3-4 weeks. The advantage to IPL systems is that downtime is usually very minimal. Patients may experience slight darkening of pigment for a few days before they lighten.
So, a patient can expect three things from IPL:
- It evens out redness and brown blemishes in the skin.
- It brightens the skin and gives it a more youthful glow.
- It adds back small amounts of collagen near the surface of the skin to give a slight improvement in texture.