IPL is another slice of jargon that you may of heard throughout your time in the Clinic Treatment Room.  

So what does IPL mean?

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and is carried out to perform  aesthetic and therapeutic treatments such as hair removal and PhotoRejuvenation which emcompasses removal of pigmentation, sun damage and blood vessels. An IPL machine consists of a hand piece which when pulsed onto the skin delivers a broad spectrum of light (or wavelengths for the techy minded). The light targets specific structures in the skin such as hair, melanin (pigment), or oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels.

 IPL Skin Rejuvenation can treat sun damage, pigmentation, diffused redness and rosacea. IPL can be confused with laser treatments. They do share similarities such as using light therapy to treat skin conditions, but there is a difference between IPL and lasers that is interesting to know.  


Laser emit 1 wavelength of light, being very specific in what each laser machine treats. IPL uses a broad spectrum of wavelengths that can treat a variety of skin conditions at the same time. Hence the name IPL PhotoRejuvenation. Capillaries, diffused redness and pigmentation are typically all treated at the same time with IPL.

The first FDA approval of IPL was for telangiectasias  or broken capillaries in 1995. This soon spread to the treatment of hair removal where by the laser emits light onto the skin. The light then converts into heat and travels down the hair shaft to the hair bulb where this heat destroys the bulb. Only hairs in the growth phase will be treated, hence the need for on average 8 sessions 6-8 weeks apart. Hair Removal is touted as permanent, rather it will destroy the hairs you currently have, being permanent hair reduction.

IPL treatment for capillaries and diffused redness work in a similar way, heating the chromophore, which in this case is the oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels. The light is converted into heat and it is this heat that breaks down the vessel walls, eliminating the redness.  

Always seek treatment from a fully trained therapist as there are no laws currently stipulating who can and cannot operate these machines.

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Happy Skin Days,

Sarah Wilkinson X