Intense Pulsed Light

Sun Damaged Skin Treatment in Novato

Shining light towards patient

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a treatment similar to laser treatment which is used to treat sun-damaged skin on cosmetically sensitive areas such as the face, neck, and chest. The light emitted from the IPL can be tuned such that it is absorbed by red blood cells (hemoglobin) or brown spots (melanin). Typically, sun-damaged skin will have a combination of noticeable blood vessels and brown spots making the skin look older and weathered. Using the IPL, we can significantly improve the appearance of the skin by reducing dilated red blood vessels, flushing, redness, and uneven pigmentation and sun-spots.

Treatment with the IPL generally takes 30 minutes, during which a series of light pulses are focused on the sun-damaged area of the skin.  The unwanted blood vessels or brown spots absorb the light pulses diminishing or eliminating them.

The light pulse is delivered through a window the size of a postage stamp.  The patient feels a sensation of a rubber band snap that lasts less than one second per pulse.  Multiple pulses are used covering the area needing treatment. As the treatment goes on, the patient feels a sunburn-type sensation or heat build up on the skin being treated. Cold packs and cooling gels are used to cool down the skin and make the treatment more comfortable. After a treatment, there is usually mild swelling and increased redness for a few days. Brown spots turn a little darker and slough off within about one week. Cover-up makeup can be used, and sunscreen and sun avoidance are critical.