IPL Laser Risks & Safety

Is there any chance of IPL causing skin cancer or other problems in 10 or 15 years?

Doctor Answers 12

IPL Treatments Not Shown to Cause Skin Cancer or Other Problems

IPL devices have been around for 22-23 years. I did the original research studies on them. They are safe and will not cause cancer.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


IPL is not radiation therapy, in fact its light that is focused with different wavelengths. In fact, in some cases, having IPL with very sundamaged skin can help us diagnose skin cancers. How? IPL can remove brown discolouration and uneven skin texture, and help uncover or unmask skin cancers hiding under the sundamage. 

Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist
Brisbane, Australia

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

IPL and skin cancer

IPL does not use UV light but specific bands of light of different wavelength.  IPL have proven to have a long term safety track record.  IPL is often used not only for aesthetic purposes but can be used to treat dermatologic diseases as well.  A study in LASERs Med Sci in 2006 by authors Hedelund,et al looked at the potential for IPL and cancer and found that there was no carcinogenic potential based on histologic studies on the effects of IPL.  

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 163 reviews

IPL / BBL: A Safe Treatment for Brown Spots and Redness from Aging and Sun-Damage

Sciton® BBL technology treats sun-damaged and aging skin effectively. The light energy delivered by the BBL will gently be absorbed by the unwanted melanin responsible for pigmented lesions in the upper layers of the skin. Over the next few days the pigmented lesions will darken and fall off. Pigmented lesions can be removed by full-face or spot-treat superficial resurfacing. Red veins will simply disappear!

Gentle cleansing without harsh products for a few days is recommended as well as a broad spectrum sunscreen.

#ScitonBBL #BBLtreatsspots #IPLBBL

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Is IPL Laser Safe?

IPL treatments have been studied for many years and there have not been any studies to indicate that IPL causes cancer. The light from IPL is different from sunlight in that IPL does not contain UVA or UVB light rays which are associated with increased risk of skin cancer. IPL treatments are primarily utilized to treat sun damage by reducing brown spots, broken blood vessels and improving skin tone and texture.

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

IPL Safety

Great question and the answer is NO! IPL does not cause nor can it cause skin cancer. Let me answer why. IPL or Intense Pulsed Light, is broad band light or BBL. This is a mixture of yellow, green and blue light, but there is no ultraviolet light at all in IPL. Therefore, DNA within cells is not damaged. This is the scientific answer, but there is another answer. IPL has been used in treatment for now over 20 years so we have the long test of time as well.

Douglas J. Key, MD
Portland Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Photofacials with Sciton :Low Risks

The Sciton Broad Band Light (BBL™) provides patients with a state-of-the-art laser system, which is able to treat multiple aesthetic concerns, while being safe, non-invasive with no downtime. Patients benefit from effective results and quicker recovery time than other more intensive laser treatments. For those who can’t afford the downtime or cost of CO2 lasers or similar, the Sciton BBL is a good alternative.
Its broad range of wavelengths allow targeted treatment for many skin conditions and the flexible Finesse Adapters enable treatment of hard to reach areas, producing evenly treated skin.

#BBLlowrisk   #BBLsafety   #BBLsideeffects

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

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.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

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.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

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.