Is there any chance of IPL causing skin cancer or other problems in 10 or 15 years?
IPL Laser Risks & Safety
Doctor Answers (7)
Dr Davin Lim
Not With IPL
As dermatologists, using light treatment to treat a variety of skin diseases, this question comes up frequently. However, our worries are with the ultraviolet light spectrum not the visible light wavelengths in which the IPL devices are found. Thus, we worry about UVA and UVB light when we utilize it for treating psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo etc. These wavelengths certainly do cause skin cancer and we weigh the benefits of light treatment against the risks. Cosmetic uses of such light to obtain a tan, shows no medical benefit at all and this is the reason we wail against tanning beds.
Visible light has no carcinogenic properties that we know of. Otherwise we would be recommending our patients become cave dwellers.
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IPL long-term safety?
This type of technology has been around since the early 1990's. I'm guessing but I'll bet there have been 100,000's of treatments. I do not know of any reports of this technology causing cancer. The technology is designed to block out harmful light energy. Most patients receive a limited series of treatments so "chronic" use should not be an issue. So far, this technology has a lot of up sides and no evidence of causing cancer.
Lasers have been around for 2 decades....
Lasers have been used for the past 2 decades very safely by dermatologists. At this time there are no studies which have been conducted relating IPL to skin cancer. The UV rays from the sun and tanning salons pose far greater risks for skin cancer.
Safety of Intense Pulse Light
There is no evidence to suggest that IPL is carcinogenic. IPL typically uses wavelengths of scattered light that are between 500-1500 nm, out of the spectrum of typical UV A and B light.
IPL and Skin Cancers
I am NOT aware of any studies that have reported an association between IPL and skin cancers. Part of the reason may be that when performing IPL or BBL (by Sciton) we use filters that specifically allow only certain wavelengths through based on the targets in the skin we want to reach and most of these targets are in the Yellow to Red visible spectrum NOT the Ultraviolet spectrum associated with skin cancers.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.