What is IPL?

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a form of laser, and is the emission of rapid pulses of polychromatic light, filtered to produce a specified range of wavelengths. This type of filtered energy is designed to cause a thermal, mechanical, and chemical reaction in hair follicles and the outer layer of the skin, while avoiding damage to the surrounding tissues.

IPL uses different wavelengths of specifically filtered light to remove unwanted hair or skin discoloration. IPL has been used for cosmetic purposes for over a decade.

IPL uses controlled thermal absorption to target the removal of unwanted hair, broken capillaries, acne, hyper-pigmentation, wrinkles and stretch marks. IPL skin rejuvenation treatments are often called photo-facials or photo-rejuvenation. IPL can also stimulate collagen production, which plumps skin and improves skin’s youthful appearance. Using the latest generation in esthetic technologies, ST Medi Laser & SkinCare has a fast and comfortable techniques to offer long-term results.

How Does IPL Work?

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a technology that combines a power source with a cooling system, this comes with a handpiece which contains a xenon lamp and an optical guide which has a filter. This then projects an intense light. This technology is based on the principle of selective photothermolysis (photo=light, thermal=heat, lysis=destruction, selective=targeted). The radiating energy that results is a high intensity flash of light that covers a spectrum of wavelengths corresponding to visible light and near infrared (spectral range 420nm to 1200nm). Polychromatic light is absorbed by the chromophores (melanin, oxyhaemoglobin, porphyrin and water), pigment that absorb light reacting to the photothermal effect which causes either cell destruction or changes to the cell. Thanks to a water cooling system for the lamp, the infrared rays are absorbed, heat is not transmitted to the skin, only the chromophore is targeted and there is no risk of burns.

What are the most popular areas for IPL hair removal?

ST Medi Laser & SkinCare can treat any area of body for both men and women. The most popular areas for women include facial hair, underarms, bikini line, and legs. The most popular areas for men include the back of the neck, back, chest, abdomen, facial and ear hair. IPL hair removal is less painful, more rapid and more effective than shaving, waxing, threading, electrolysis, tweezing and is very effective for treating razor burn and ingrown hairs.

What skin conditions can IPL skin treatments address?

IPL rejuvenates your skin and can make your skin look more youthful and even by reducing redness and pigmentation differences, including age or sun spots, rosacea and broken capillaries. In addition, IPL skin treatments can reduce the appearance of acne and acne scarring.

Is IPL safe?

Yes. Millions of light-based procedures are performed around the world every year in clinics, spas, salons and physician offices to reduce the appearance of skin aging and acne, and for hair and scar removal.

What is the difference between IPL and laser treatments?

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) uses a much broader spectrum of specifically filtered light than most lasers. Both traditional lasers and IPL devices are designed to treat specific targets in the skin like pigment from sun damage, broken blood vessels or unwanted hair. However, IPL is suitable for a wider range of hair colors and skin types than laser. The broad spectrum of IPL light also results in better penetration and treats a greater number of hair follicles. IPL causes less damage to the surrounding skin than lasers and, therefore, the risk of hyper or hypo pigmentation is much lower. IPL treats a much larger area of skin per light pulse than laser, the treatment is much faster. Both IPL skin and IPL hair removal treatments are less painful than laser skin and laser hair removal technology – there is no recovery or downtime and no anesthesia is required. IPL may also produce longer-lasting results.

Is IPL painful?

Our clients report that the IPL treatment are not painful and actually feels more like the sensation of a rubber band snapping against the skin.

Should I use a numbing/anesthetic cream prior to my treatment?

We recommend that anesthetics are not applied to the skin for 2 reasons: we need the skin to be clean prior to treatment with no creams applied. This enables our ability to safely determine the most effective treatment for optimum results.

How old do you have to be for IPL hair removal, acne or scar treatments?

ST Medi Laser & SkinCare’s policy is to treat patients from the age of 12 with parental consent.

Does shaving and waxing allowed prior to or during the course of hair removal treatments?

Shaving is perfectly acceptable during the course of the treatments and is necessary prior to treatments. However, patients should refrain from waxing at least 3 weeks prior to hair removal treatments.

Are there any complications associated with IPL treatments?

IPL is a safe and non-invasive treatment with minimal and usually no down time. Most of clients report that they being able to resume normal daily activities the same day of treatment.

Prior to treating all patients, ST Medi Laser & SkinCare Estheticians will assess your skin type, review your medical history and complete an informed skin type assessment prior to your first treatment to ensure the safest and most effective treatment. Redness and mild swelling can occur and will typically resolve within just a few hours. Sometimes clients report blistering, prolonged redness and swelling, bruising, transient pigment changes in the skin and mild discomfort. If clients report any complications as a result of an IPL treatment, we will consult with our Medical Directors for further investigation.

Should clients expect to scab or peel after an IPL skin treatment?

Pigmentation treatments may result in shedding of the treated areas, which resemble “coffee-grounds”. It is important not to pick at the treated areas, as this may result in scarring. Properly moisturizing the skin will help to prevent dry skin after a treatment.

Is ST Medi Laser & SkinCare medical equipment FDA-approved?

Yes. Canada – United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved all equipment used ST Medi Laser & SkinCare centers.

What about home laser hair removal devices are these effective?

No. Home laser hair removal devices are low powered devices which are designed to be safe for non-medical users with no formal training. These are hand held, battery powered units, requiring frequent recharging and which cost several hundred dollars. Home devices use smaller treatment heads and run on a small battery, and laser hair removal treatment on anything but the smallest of treatment areas will take a considerable amount of time. In addition, studies show that the amount of hair lost with these devices is not considered statistically significant or effective.

What is Fitzpatrick Skin Typing?

The Fitzpatrick Skin Typing is a series of questions and a visual examination to assess the melanin content of your skin. All of m.pulse’s clients receive this examination prior to treatment. This information helps to determine the most effective treatment strategy using IPL devices for treating a variety of skin conditions.

Can clients take Retin A or receive chemical peels before or during the course of IPL treatments?

Avoid Accutane (or any products containing iso-tretinoin) for 6 months and Retin-A (or any products containing tretinoin) for 2 weeks prior to treatment. Do not use glycolic acid or other alpha hydroxy acid products for 1 week prior to treatment. These medications and products increase your photo-sensitivity, which can significantly increase the likelihood of complications.

Can IPL cause skin cancer?

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 UVA and B light, which are known to cause skin cancer.