Intense pulsed light treatment uses high intensity white light to treat various areas of the body affected by sun damage, undesired vascular lesions, or certain birthmarks. The advantages of IPL therapy include ease of use, low risk, quick treatment time and minimal downtime to the patient. The heat is generated below the skin's surface, protecting the outer layers of the skin and minimizing downtime and pain.
Most skin types can be treated. However, if you have very dark or tanned skin, you should discuss this with us to see if this procedure is right for you.
What can I expect during the treatment?
Prior to the procedure, the doctor may recommend a mild topical anesthetic on the area to be treated. Although this isn't necessary, some patients prefer to have this topical anesthetic before treatment. Prior to the procedure, a thin layer of a Plume Barrier Lotion is applied to the treatment area to prevent any material from sticking to the light output window of the treatment hand piece. When the light flashes, it feels like a warm pulse against the skin.
Is the procedure painful?
Most patients will feel minimal discomfort during the procedure. A topical anesthetic can make the treatment more comfortable if desired.
What can I expect after the treatment?
The treated area will feel like a very mild sunburn and may be slightly pink and swollen for a few hours. Many patients have the treatment performed and are able to return to work that day. Age spots, freckles, and sun spots will get darker after treatment and flake off
in 3-10 days leaving fresh, new skin with the pigmentation having faded. Blood vessels may disappear immediately after treatment or fade after a few days. Since collagen is produced slowly and in small amounts after each treatment, skin smoothing and fine line reduction may be noted nine to twelve weeks after the third treatment.
How long does the procedure take?
This varies greatly depending on the area being treated. Also, 2 to 6 treatments may be necessary depending on the skin type and condition being treated.
Skin lesions that can be treated with the Intense Pulsed Light device:
A hemangioma is an abnormal build up of blood vessels in the skin. Hemangiomas of infancy are the most common benign tumors in children. They have several phases of growth. The first phase, or proliferative phase, is the phase of rapid growth, and can last from several months to a year or more. The second phase is the involutional phase where the hemangioma shrinks in size and may completely resolve. In general, 30% of childhood hemangiomas resolve spontaneously by age three, 50% resolve by age five, and 80% resolve by age eight. The classically recognized hemangioma is a visible red skin lesion that may be in the top skin layers (capillary hemangioma), deeper in the skin (cavernous hemangioma), or a mixture of both. Pulsed light therapy can be used to reduce the size and the redness of the lesion. The addition of other lasers that treat deeper vessels may be necessary, as well as other treatment modalities may be needed to treat large hemangiomas that are in functionally critical areas of the body. Talk to your physician. She will formulate the best treatment plan for you and your child.
Port Wine Stains
This is a birthmark in which swollen or dilated blood vessels cause a reddish-purplish discoloration of the skin. They are usually present at birth, appear on one side of the body, and do not spontaneously resolve. They occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body. Port wine stains occurring around the eye may indicate involvement of the eye and should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. Early port-wine stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the child gets older, the color may deepen to a dark red or purplish color. Nodules may develop within the area that may spontaneously bleed. There is evidence to suggest that the earlier the treatment is begun, the better the long term results. Pulsed light/laser therapy can destroy the tiny blood vessels without significantly damaging the skin. It usually takes several treatments to achieve the desired fading.
Telangiectasias are small dilated blood vessels on the skin. Common areas for them to occur are the cheeks and sides of the nose. An example of a common lesion that contains telangiectasias is a spider angioma. A spider angioma lesion typically has a red dot in the center with reddish extensions radiating out for some distance around it (a few millimeters to a centimeter or more). Spider angiomas can occur anywhere but are most common on the face and trunk. Intense pulsed light therapy can destroy the tiny blood vessels without significantly damaging the skin. Sometimes we will recommend a combination of IPL and traditional laser treatments to more effectively reduce these lesions.
Advanced Skin Rejuvenation
This is a gentle pulsed light procedure that can be performed on the face, chest, arms, legs...just about anywhere. And, without down time! It is a non-ablative and non-invasive, meaning skin is neither removed nor damaged. The pulsed light targets and destroys unwanted blood vessels and pigmented discolorations without harming the normal skin. The process also restores the homogeneous skin color of your youth and stimulates fibroblasts to produce collagen that replenishes what time and sun damage has taken away. This collagen "plumping" effect creates smoother skin and lessens fine lines.
Lentigos or Freckles
Brown or sun spots (lentigos or freckles) are very common lesions in light skinned individuals that have had past sun exposure. They can be reduced and/or eliminated with intense pulsed light/laser treatment. The number of treatments needed depends on the number and size of the lesions being treated. All pigmented lesions should be evaluated by a physician prior to cosmetic treatment to make sure the lesion is benign and not a skin cancer or precancerous lesion.
Café au Lait Macules
Café au lait macules (tan birthmarks), nevus spilus (spotted birthmarks), Nevus of Ota or Ito (blue/brown birthmarks) and other birthmarks can be reduced and/or eliminated with intense pulsed light/laser treatment. It usually takes several treatments to achieve the desired fading or these lesions.
Please call our office for scheduling and pricing information: (208) 327-9521