What is IPL?
IPL stands for “intense pulsed light“. IPL technology was invented by Lumenis and was originally used for photorejuvenation (photofacial) and hair removal.
“IPL” is Like “Ice Cream”
Saying “IPL” is a lot like saying, “ice cream.” Stick with me, this is important.
In the beginning, ice cream was hand-made in small batches from fresh, whole, organic ingredients. Today, you can still get ice cream at that tiny shop the next town over. Or, you could run down to your local grocery store and pick up a gallon tub of “ice cream.” Are they the same thing? Not even close. So it is with IPL.
In the beginning, IPL, which stands for Intense Pulsed Light, was a branded technology created by Lumines to treat a relatively narrow range of skin conditions including:
- photoaged skin;
- age spots (sun-induced freckles), most;
- benign brown pigments; and,
- redness caused by broken capillaries.
Back then, skin care professionals were trained by Lumines to properly handle the high-intensity IPL photorejuvenation equipment in order to produce the best results with the least risk of burning, side effects, or downtime.
Today, every other local spa is offering “IPL” treatments for a wide array of skin conditions. Their “IPL” equipment varies widely in power and wavelength output, and technicians may need little or no training to operate it, but, like “ice cream,” it’s all still called “IPL.”
If you are considering an IPL photofacial, or other IPL treatment, please ask for references of others who have had the treatment in the same office, and call them to find out how it went. This article on About.com has some other great questions to ask before you make your appointment.