IPL: Intense Pulse Light for Discolored Skin

Excessive Sunlight Will Discolor All Skin Complexions

Whether the skin complexion is very light (Celtic), moderate (Mediterranean, Hispanic, Asian) or dark (African-American), sunlight will over-expose some parts of the skin more than others.

This is because sweat glands in the skin, which protect the skin from sun and wind, are not evenly distributed. As a result, sunlight, wind (which impacts dirt and debris) and dryness will damage some areas of the skin more than others.

With the passage of time, the less protected areas of the skin accumulate higher exposure to sun, wind and dryness, which causes the uneven complexion associated with aging.

Photoaging in patients with lighter complexion typically results in more “freckles” or “age spots”. In patients with darker complexion, photodamage causes large areas of permanently darker skin. However this is just a rule of thumb. In reality both localized age spots and generalized discoloration occur. Either way, discolored skin or skin with uneven complexion looks older because it is older!

Case 1: Solar Keratosis of the Face. This is a pre-malignant condition. Medicare covers dermabrasion for this procedure.

With an IPL photofacial, light is absorbed by photoaged skin spots, and they flake off permanently after 3-5 days. This gives skin a healthy, younger glow.

Skin With An Even Complexion is Healthier

Photodamaged and discolored skin will eventually progress to solar keratosis, a premalignant condition. Solar keratosis increases the risk of skin cancer. By replacing solar damaged cells with new cells from below, IPL reduces the progression to solar keratosis and skin cancer.

How Intense Pulse Light (IPL) Works

IPL applies light energy to the darker areas and destroys them. These darker areas are replaced with undamaged cells from below, which causes a more even complexion. The discolored areas flake off in 5-14 days as they are pushed out by the healthy cells below. Skin zones that are most often photodamaged are:

  1. Face
  2. Neck and Decolletage
  3. Upper back
  4. Upper chest
  5. Arms
  6. Forearms and hands
  7. Legs

Intense pulse light treatments (IPL) are customized for gender, zone and patient complexion.