Intense pulsed light myth busters

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					BEAUTY spEciAl

Intense pulsed light
 myth busters
                                                                                             (unless it is used with special
                                                                                             technology) because they may be sub
                                                                                             optimal treatments. Ways in which
                                                                                             we make IPL treatments less painful
Does it really work? By Dr Ivan Tan Khee Hon                                                 include topical numbing cream, skin
                                                                                             suction and contact cooling.

Myth 1of laser
IPL is a type
                                               Mythnot work
                                               IPL does
                                                                                             Myth 6 cancer
                                                                                             IPL causes skin
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a broad          There are many less known IPL machines        This was a major concern when IPL
spectrum light (multi-coloured) whereas        in the market now because of the hype         was first introduced. Over the last 10
Light Amplification by Stimulated              IPL created. Most of these machines fail      years, many studies have confirmed
Emission of Radiation (LASER) is a narrow      to deliver results because they are just      the benefits of IPL treatments for the
or single spectrum light (monochromatic        not made with the right specification         skin and one of which is the reversal
or single coloured). Each wavelength           and power. Either they don’t have             of sun damaged skin. They found that
of light energy illicits a specific response   enough power to achieve anything or           pre-cancerous skin cells actually revert
from the skin when applied. Since IPL has      they are made so powerful that they are       back to normal when exposed to IPL
many wavelengths, it is possible to get        dangerous. They quote results published       treatments. These findings totally
many effects like collagen stimulation,        by reputed manufacturer of medical            refuted the fear of IPL causing cancer.
pigment removal, hair removal and vein         grade IPL machines but they themselves        In theory, only the ultra violet radiation
removal in a single treatment. However         are unable to achieve the results with        of light damages skin and eventually
since its power is spread over all these       their machines.                               causes skin cancer. Good IPL machines
different wavelengths, it is not possible                                                    use good filters to block off the ultra
to do a single function particularly well.
Laser, on the other hand, is more precise
in its function and with all its effect
                                               Myth 4 is not
                                               IPL hair removal
                                                                                             violet radiation to make treatment
                                                                                             even safer.

focused on a single wavelength; it can
penetrate deep and do its intended
treatment really well. IPL is a good
                                               This common misconception found its
                                               root in the many inferior machines found
                                                                                             Myththe skin
                                                                                             IPL thins
treatment for general improvement of           throughout the beauty industry. The lack      IPL is a non-ablative treatment
the skin whereas Laser is good to target       of clinical knowledge of hair growth          (meaning it does not burn the surface
specific problems.                             and low powered IPL machines deliver          of the skin) so it does not thin the
                                               poor results. At best, they stun the hair     skin. In fact, by boosting collagen in

Myth 2 laser
IPL is safer then
                                               follicles to delay hair growth but the hair
                                               eventually grows back. With a good IPL
                                               machine and experience, results of hair
                                                                                             the skin, IPL actually “thickens” the
                                                                                             skin making it firmer and more elastic.
                                                                                             Since the protective outer layer of the
IPL is not necessarily safer than Laser.       removal are comparable if not better          skin is still intact, there is also no need
Depending on the power of the IPL              than Laser hair removal.                      to specially avoid the sun as with some
machine, the light generated can be                                                          chemical skin peel or Laser treatments.
more powerful than lasers. Skin burns
and eye damage can occur with IPL as
with Laser. Inappropriate use of IPL can
                                               Myth 5 is very painful Myth 8
                                               IPL treatment
also bring out hidden pigmentation in                                 IPL is a “passé” technology
                                               IPL treatment can be a little
the skin. Unfortunately, since IPL is not      uncomfortable but are no longer as            IPL is here to stay. Since its
a Laser, it is not being regulated by the      painful as they were when IPL was first       introduction, IPL treatments have been
authorities leading to widespread use of       started 10 years ago. Recent advances         getting more and more popular due
such equipment throughout the beauty           in technology also made it much               to its excellent results with minimal
industry. Fortunately most medical grade       less painful nowadays. Having some            downtime. Many so called “new
IPL machines (with sufficient power) are       sensation in the skin is an indication that   technology” like VPL, FPL, I2PL etc are
restricted to the medical community by         the skin is being stimulated. Beware of       in essence just IPL treatments with
the manufacturer.                              treatments that are too comfortable           fanciful names for marketing purpose.

                                                                                             NU.Reflections Medical Aesthetics
                                                                                             Tel: (65) 6222 4552, (65) 6222 4575
                                                                                             Please visit
                                                                                             for more information.
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