At Saltz, we use both lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) for skin resurfacing and to help with sun-damaged skin. People mix up the two light systems, but their difference is simple. Lasers direct a single wavelength of light energy onto the skin; this is why their energy can be so strong. IPL, on the other hand, delivers a broad spectrum of light wavelengths.
Why is IPL more versatile than a laser?
Because IPL delivers a broad spectrum of light wavelengths onto the skin, this allows for greater flexibility in treatment options. We can adapt to different skin types and indications by varying the light spectrum, impulse length, and fluences. The delay in pulses allows the skin cells and small structures to cool down between pulses while the heat is retained in the larger areas.
Depending on what we’re addressing in a patient, we select the appropriate wavelength to heat and destroy the damaged skin. This lets the body replace the damaged skin with new, healthier skin.
Who would benefit from IPL treatments?
IPL can be used on all types of skin and areas of the face and body. These are conditions we treat with IPL at Saltz Plastic Surgery:
- Essential telangiectases
- Port wine stains
- Red hypertrophic scars
- Facial hypertrichosis
But not everyone is right for IPL treatment. The following groups should not have IPL treatment:
- Have abnormal response to sunlight
- Have suspicious lesions
- Are taking Accutane or other photosensitizing medications
- Are pregnant
- Are suntanned or artificially tanned
- Are taking blood thinners
How an IPL session is done
We start an IPL session by cleaning your skin. Then we often apply a topical anesthetic. Next, we set the IPL parameters to match your skin type. Before we deliver any IPL energy, we first coat the treatment area with clear, water-based gel. This keeps your skin cool during the IPL pulses. We’ll do a tiny test area to be sure the wavelength settings are right. Then we take the IPL handpiece and deliver the light energy onto the treatment area, delivering the energy in very short pulses.
Your skin may be slightly red, and there may be some minor swelling for a day or two, but that passes quickly. Your sun-damaged spots will first darken and then peel. After that, they will be dramatically lightened if not wholly eliminated.
Put IPL to work on your sun-damaged skin. Call the team at Saltz in our Park City or Salt Lake City offices to make an appointment.