IPL uses a more sophisticated type of technology that involves a xenon flash lamp and optical prisms. This method targets the damaged cells that lie deeper within the skin and avoids irritation of the surrounding tissues. A technician begins by placing cold gel on the affected area and then positions the lamp above the surface of your skin. This lamp will send light pulses to the skin. The IPL process usually lasts 15-20 minutes and depending on the level of achievement you’re looking for, can require one or multiple sessions. There are some side effects, as with all treatments, that you should be made aware of. IPL sessions can cause light bruising, mild blistering, pink skin and even hair loss.
How does IPL work for acne?
There are three forms of IPL therapy for acne – LHE Therapy, Blue-Light Therapy and IPL with medication. The choice will depend on what results you’re looking for and what your dermatologist suggests as the most effective for your individual acne spots.
LHE therapy uses both heat and light as the source to treat acne. The FDA has actually approved one IPL treatment that involves green light waves and heat. This form of IPL is meant to treat mild to moderate acne and more than likely, over a period of time. The whole process has been known to reduce the size of oil glands and kill the dirt bacteria in pores that create acne.
Blue-Light therapy is similar to LHE minus the UV radiation. It only makes sense that less UV radiation equals less damage on your skin. This form of IPL will have the same effect on killing the dirt bacteria but with less side effects than the LHE therapy. According to Robin McClain, who is a registered nurse practitioner from the University of South Florida, has reported that this form of light therapy is best used for acne vulgaris. As with all other treatments, blue-light therapy does have side effects such as dry skin and/or temporary pigmentation change. A process of eight sessions over a 4 week time period should be allowed for visible results.
Lastly, we have IPL therapy with a mixture of medication. (Again, we stress that you should consult with your dermatologist in order to make an educated decision on IPL.) The medication that is involved in this process is activated by way of pulsed light. A few hours prior to the process ALA (the medication) is applied to your skin and a numbing agent will also be used to reduce pain and/or a stinging sensation during the process. The numbing agent is typically applied an hour and a half prior to the treatment. The actual treatment is concluded in 20-30 minutes. Side effects are possible and involve slight bruising and pink skin. The recovery time usually lasts no longer than one day.