Intense Pulsed Light
- Length of treatments: 15-30 minutes
- Number of treatments: as few as 1, generally between 3-5, allowing 3-6 weeks between treatments
- Results & Benefits: lighten blemishes, dark spots and skin discoloration. Diminish broken capillaries and redness, correct sun damage, refine and smooth skin.
- Recovery & side effects: Mild discomfort, swelling, peeling, crusting or redness. No sun exposure for 48 hours, minimize exposure for 2-3 weeks
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (also known as IPL or Photorejuvenation) is a safe, light-based therapy used to treat a variety of skin concerns, including sun damage, acne, rosacea, vascular lesions, broken capillaries, freckles, liver spots. IPL is a great option for certain patients whose skin types may not respond well to conventional laser therapies. IPL can be performed on all areas of the body including arms, hands, décolleté, and back.
IPL is light therapy, not laser therapy. It has been around for almost 15 years, but its growing popularity can be attributed to the fact that it requires little to no downtime, has very few side effects and delivers incredible results.
How it works
During your IPL treatment, your aestheticians will direct controlled bursts of light into the upper layer of your skin. That light is absorbed by the melanin (which provides the pigment in your skin) and hemoglobin (a natural chemical in your red blood cells). In both cases, the light energy is converted to heat. That heat selectively destroys the melanin in your skin cells and prevents your vessels from supplying blood to areas where vascular damage such as broken capillaries is visible.
The result is that your sun damage, age spots and discolored skin are greatly diminished, and your skin will feel tighter, fresher and younger.
Who can benefit from IPL
IPL is safe and proven for men and women of all ages, and while the face is the most commonly treated area, it can also be used anywhere on the body, even sensitive areas.
Patients with the following conditions may be candidates for IPL:
- Sun damage
- Vascular lesions
- Broken capillaries
- Liver spots
The Newvue Approach to IPL
We have a dedicated Laser and IPL suite in our Bellevue office with highly skilled aestheticians, led by Jennifer Gamble. We use the Lumenis M22, the gold standard in IPL.
- ExpertFilters to tailor the therapy to your condition and skin type.
- SapphireCool lightguides provide continuous cooling.
- Optimal Pulse Technology (OPT) allows the M22 to deliver shorter, more intense pulses of light, which provide the best and safest results. OPT also allows our technicians to control the pulse shape, providing a gentler treatment experience.
Newvue also offers a stronger form of IPL using the Levulan Photodynamic Therapy. This treatment may be appropriate for skin cancer, pre cancer, acne, and other conditions, but it may require slightly more down time than standard treatment. Dr. Min and your aestheticians can discuss Levulan PDT as part of your initial consultation.
Your Initial Consultation
Your doctor and aestheticians will discuss IPL as part of your skin consultation. Our goal will be to understand your desired outcome and determine if you are a good candidate for IPL or other skin therapies. They will walk you through the details of the treatment and the results you can expect.
Patients with certain condition such as those listed below may not be good candidates for IPL, but your Newvue team will be sure to guide you to the treatments that will best suit your needs.
Some of the conditions that may prevent you from getting IPL therapy:
- Certain skin diseases or disorders
- Patients with dark to very dark skin tones
- Tattoos on the treatment area
- Skin Trauma
- Breast Feeding or Pregnancy
- Other conditions
Safety & Risks of IPL
IPL is a safe, effective, and FDA approved treatment. During your initial consultation, your Newvue team will ensure that you don’t have any conditions that might disqualify you from getting IPL therapy. There are no serious, long-term complications associated with IPL.
Risks include: burns, scarring and discoloration, most of which can be attributed to misuse of the equipment. Our aestheticians have been operating lasers successfully for over a decade.
Discomfort: IPL can cause slight discomfort—patients compare it to getting hit with little spatters of oil from a cooking pan. The discomfort varies depending on the patient and the settings, but the treatments are generally very short (less than 15 minutes), and the pain can be managed with numbing creams applied prior to treatment.
Prior to Your IPL Procedure
You may want to shave the area you want treated a day in advance of your treatment to minimize any discomfort from razor burn, and you should avoid intense sun exposure or tanning.
Your IPL Procedure
Your procedure will go fast. A small area can be treated in minutes, and a full-face treatment generally lasts about 30 minutes. You will be seated comfortably in our IPL and Laser suite. The aesthetician will apply a cold gel to the area that will be treated and provide you with eye protection. The IPL handpiece will be placed against your face, and your treatment will begin. You will feel a sensation like a small rubber band being snapped against your face followed by a warm sensation.
After Your IPL Procedure
After your IPL treatment, Newvue will provide you with detailed instructions for post treatment care as well as any products you may need to keep your skin protected and comfortable. You may experience mild discomfort—not unlike a sunburn—which can be managed with medication or topical creams, but there should not be any serious pain. You may experience some swelling, sloughing, crusting or redness, but this will largely dissipate within the first week. Concealer creams can be applied directly after the procedure.
Here’s a timeline of a typical recovery:
First 48 hours:
- Mild, localized discomfort
- Stay out of sun and bright indoor light
- Exposure to direct sunlight may cause discomfort
After 48 hours:
- Return to activities, but minimize sun exposure
- Always wear sunscreen with 7% or more zinc oxide
After 1 week:
- Most residual redness or crusting will have dissipated
After 2-3 weeks:
- Return to full normal activity
- Sunscreen and sun protection are ALWAYS recommended
Some patients see results immediately, but most conditions require 3-5 treatments, allowing 3-6 weeks between treatments. You can expect to see blemishes and discolorations shrink and fade, and your skin will have a tighter, smoother and more youthful appearance. You may also notice improved pore size and a temporary reduction in skin oiliness. Your results will look natural and feel great.