Both Intense Pulsed Light and Pulsed Dye Laser are light-based treatments used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Both treatments use intense bursts of light and heat and which could provide some discomfort.
What is an Intense Pulsed Light?
An Intense Pulsed Light or IPL is also called a photo facial. It’s a machine that emits short bursts of a powerful, polychromatic light that go just below the surface of the skin, where they target either melanin or blood vessels. The light destroys the melanin or blood vessels and thus destroys things like age spots and spider veins. IPL can also stimulate collagen production and thus rejuvenate skin.
What is a Pulsed Dye Laser?
A Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) aims an intense and focused light beam at blood vessels beneath the skin. The light becomes heat that obliterates the targeted blood vessel but leaves the neighboring skin and tissue unharmed. The PDL uses yellow light because it does not cause any long-term damage to the skin.
A PDL treatment is an outpatient treatment. The machine emits a cold spray just before the treatment that numbs the patient’s skin. The number of treatments needed depends on the severity of the skin condition. While many patients need only one to three sessions, patients with hemangiomas, port wine stains or severe rosacea may probably need more treatments.
The most common side effect associated with a PDL is bruising. It is most likely to develop during the first few days after treatment and should clear up within a few days. Tanned skin blocks the laser light and thus increases the chances of side effects or complications. Patients should, therefore, use sun block sometime before undergoing treatment.
What are the major differences?
An IPL is polychromatic, which means the machine emits several wavelengths at once. This means that an IPL can treat several skin conditions at one time.
A PDL, as a laser, produces only one wavelength of light. It can, therefore, be used to treat only one skin condition at a time. On the other hand, its light is stronger and more intense than that produced by an IPL. It will, therefore, be more effective than an IPL, which means the patient will need fewer treatment sessions to get the desired results.
To find out more about which treatment is best for you, contact Metro Dermatology to schedule a consultation.