IPL Vs. Lasers: What’s the Difference?
By Rosemary Murphy, LE
Intense pulsed light is not always delivered by laser, but it is an intense light source used to treat a variety of benign facial conditions. It promotes therapeutic healing in the dermal layer of cells when combined with epidermal facial treatments, and can help to stimulate cellular repair, collagen production and improve the overall health of the skin. Light therapy can be used in conjunction with medical, pharmaceutical grade topical products for anti-ageing, hyper-pigmentation and acne. It uses subtle processes wherein results are not generally seen overnight but usually require 6 treatments over a 6 week period. It is, however, non-invasive and pain free.
It differs from laser in that it directs a broad-spectrum (many colored) light pulse onto the skin, and causes no visible damage to the surface, whereas lasers use more invasive, precisely calibrated beam set on a narrow, specific wavelength, which can cause redness, peeling and a concentration of dark spots before they slough off. A laser, also, uses one frequency with one color, depending on the purpose of the treatment that is being performed. Laser treatments require a series but can only be done every 3 to 4 weeks as healing time is needed between sessions.
IPL facials can be performed by estheticians and health care professionals; however laser treatments can only be done by a doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or RN. Even though lasers can be “pulsed” and “intense” they should not be confused with IPL Light Therapy. Laser Therapies are used for conditions such as hair reduction, lightening of severe hyper-pigmentation and other skin discolorations, skin tightening and resurfacing.
The downside of IPL is that while each individual treatment is allegedly less expensive, safer, and gentler than a laser, it is also less effective and as such, the results are not quite as dramatic. Many more visits will be needed to produce desired results.
We offer both therapies at Beyond Harmony Med Spa depending upon the condition of the individual being treated and the desired result. When you are shopping for IPL treatments, make sure to ask whether you would be getting light therapy or laser and if laser, make sure it is being administered by a medical professional. For more information, contact us at 298-8008.