Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) FAQ
Q: What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?
A: Intense Pulsed Light, also known as IPL, is a cosmetic procedure that uses broad-spectrum light to target various skin conditions and concerns.
Q: What conditions can be treated with IPL?
A: IPL is commonly used to treat skin issues such as sun damage, age spots, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, spider veins, acne scars, and fine lines, and now it’s used for the treatment of Dry Eyes, eyelid telangiectasia, and chalazion.
Q: How does IPL work?
A: IPL devices emit multiple wavelengths of light that are selectively absorbed by specific targets in the skin, such as melanin (pigment) or hemoglobin (blood vessels). The absorbed light energy heats and damages the target, stimulating the body's natural healing response and leading to the improvement of the skin condition and Dry eye
Q: How does it treat Dry Eyes?
A: The controlled pulse of light is directed towards the lower eyelids and cheek area, targeting the Meibomian glands and the abnormal blood vessels (telangiectasia) which contribute to the inflammation that leads to gland dysfunction. IPL is used to improve the flow and quality of the meibum (the oily component of tears) by unclogging the glands and restoring their proper functioning.
Q: Is IPL safe?
A: When performed by a trained professional, IPL is generally considered safe. However, like any medical procedure, there can be potential risks and side effects, such as redness, swelling, temporary darkening or lightening of the skin, blisters, and scarring. It is important to have a consultation with a qualified practitioner to determine if IPL is suitable for you and to discuss any concerns or risks.
Q: Does IPL hurt?
A: IPL treatments may cause mild discomfort, often described as a rubber band snapping against the skin. However, most people tolerate the procedure well.
Q: How long does an IPL treatment session take?
A: The duration of an IPL session can vary depending on the area being treated and the specific condition. Typically, a session for the treatment of dry eyes can last about 10-15 minutes.
Q: How many IPL sessions are usually required?
A: Generally, a series of 4 treatments spaced about 3 to 4 weeks apart is needed and a fifth session about 6 months later.
Q: Is there any downtime after an IPL treatment?
A: Following an IPL treatment, there is usually no downtime. Some individuals may experience mild redness, swelling, or a sunburn-like sensation, which usually resolves within a few hours to a few days. Makeup can typically be applied immediately after treatment.
Q: Are IPL results permanent?
A: While IPL can provide long-lasting results, it does not stop the natural aging process. Maintenance treatments may be recommended periodically to sustain the results over time.
Q: What should I do before an IPL treatment?
A: Before an IPL treatment, it's advisable to avoid sun exposure, tanning beds, and self tanning products for several weeks. You may also need to discontinue certain medications or skincare products that can increase skin sensitivity. Follow any pre-treatment instructions provided by your practitioner.
Q: What should I expect after an IPL treatment?
A: After an IPL treatment, you may experience temporary redness, swelling, or mild skin sensitivity in the treated area. These effects usually subside within a few hours to a few days. It's crucial to protect your skin from sun exposure and follow any post-treatment instructions given by your practitioner.
Q: Are there any limitations or contraindications for IPL?
A: Yes, there are certain limitations and contraindications for IPL. The treatment is generally not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with active skin infections, open wounds, or recent sunburns, and those taking specific medications that increase light sensitivity. It's crucial to disclose your medical history and any medications you're currently taking to your practitioner
Q: Why isn’t IPL covered by insurance?
A: IPL has been used by dermatologists for years as a cosmetic procedure to treat various skin conditions and therefore insurance does not cover it. It is not classified with a billing code and therefore is not billable to insurance plans.