IPL Works, but Takes Several Treatments and an Experienced Practitioner
By Sue888 on 07 Oct 2012
I worked at a dermatology office, and thought you might like to hear my opinion of IPL, a treatment we offered. We never booked less than five treatments - it just wasn't worth the client's money otherwise. The client would not see a difference, would complain, and it would just result in bad word of mouth. Also, IPL treatments can potentially harm the skin - the light targets color in the skin (and blood) so the setting used by the nurse or doctor depends on the level of pigmentation the patient has - careful calibration has to be done. The first treatment should be fairly gentle as the doctor/nurse watches for re-activeness, and then the 'heat' should be turned up gradually. Obviously, the more heat, the more dramatic the results, so the first treatment will - or at least *should* for your skin's sake - not be as effective as proceeding treatments. I also read research that effectiveness increases significantly if the doctor/nurse does a double pass, i.e. goes over the same area of the skin with the light twice. The nurse at our office tried this, and reported it was more effective, so we made it standard procedure. This was time consuming, and our profitability took quite a hit from it. Still, it was worth it for the results and happy clients. I imagine this practice hasn't been widely adopted because of the time issue, but it would be worth asking your potential practitioner about their methodology. Results I saw: general redness lessened mildly to significantly, pigmentation lessened or eliminated (the pigmentation would sometimes scab and then flake off) I didn't find that IPL affected visible broken vessels that well - it was more effective at treating diffuse, blushing redness. Visible veins/capillaries usually require laser. I saw several patients a year after their course of treatment and did a double take - this treatment does actually, over time, boost collagen (at least that's my take on it). It seemed to restore a kind of dewiness, for lack of a better word. I'm in my late forties and am seriously thinking this would be a good course of treatments just for the anti-aging boost. The success really does depend on several things - the machine used, the person performing the treatment, the number of treatments, and the setting you and your skin can tolerate (it does sting a bit). IPL with ALA (amino levulenic acid if memory serves) is a MUCH more powerful treatment, so don't go by the results the reviewer baxter had if you are getting an IPL treatment alone. With this type of treatment, ALA is applied to the skin beforehand and left to sit for a while before the IPL treatment. This treatment is often used to treat actinic keratoses -"precancerous' lesions - and acne - and the results reported are very exciting - but it's much more dramatic and as baxter reported, you'll need to spend some time indoors afterwards (with ALA you generally can't go in sunlight for at least a day, it sensitizes the skin to light - supposedly, even sitting next to a bright like can cause the skin to effectively sunburn). Also, there will be a much more dramatic recovery time. IPL on its own caused a little redness, sometimes scabbing over pigmentation, sometimes what was called a 'pebbled scabbing'. We would charge around $2500 for a series of five treatments. Alrighty, not going to put the doctors name because I haven't worked there for a few years, and don't know what procedures they are doing these days, or whether they use the same methodology. Hope this helps.