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IPL or Laser Treatments: Which is better for Pigmentation?

IPL or Laser Treatments: Which is better for Pigmentation?

IPL or Laser Treatments: Which is better for Pigmentation?

What is Pigmentation?

Skin pigmentation can take the form of freckles and age spots. However, its most common form is hyperpigmentation or the excess production of skin pigment or melanin that appears as dark patches surrounding the healthy skin. There are several causes of pigmentation including direct exposure to sunlight, injury, acne, and hormonal changes. Most individuals with severe pigmentation seek for creams that can clear the complexion of imperfections, while other patients gear towards light-based procedures such as laser and IPL treatments to help reduce the appearance of several forms of pigmentation.

What Light does to our Skin?

In today’s modern technologies, medical practitioners use light-based devices to improve the appearance of the skin. However, what is it about light energy that makes it possible to remove wrinkles, fat, excess hair, and unwanted pigmentation?

For light-based treatments such as laser and IPL or Intense Pulsed Light, the light energy they emit during the procedure is converted into thermal energy or heat which destroys a specific target or chromophores. The heat causes a reaction which helps achieve a specific goal.

How do Laser and IPL Work?

Laser treatment is an advanced procedure for removing unwanted pigmentation. It involves short pulses of the high-intensity beam of light which converts to heat energy and breaks down the melanin responsible for pigmentation. The heat damages the specific cell, while it leaves the surrounding area unaffected. With the body's natural healing process, an increase in collagen and production of elastin occur which improve the elasticity, smoothness, and thickness of the skin.

Meanwhile, IPL or Intense Pulsed Light emits powerful flashes of filtered light and a broad spectrum of wavelengths that penetrate below the surface of the skin where the brown pigment or melanin lives. The light energy converts to heat that destroys the area with a high concentration of melanin within sun spots and freckles.  The pigment breaks down and rises into the skin surface as scabs as the natural body processes occur.

Which is a Better Option?

The skin tone and hair color play a vital role in determining which light-based therapy is appropriate for the patients. Although medical and cosmetic practitioners use both IPL and Laser to treat sun damage, spider veins, and pigmentation, most patients lean towards IPL since it is highly effective in reducing redness and flushing, treating acne and rosacea, and reducing pigmentation since it stimulates collagen formation that results in smoother skin. Moreover, it has minimal downtime, lesser side effects, and gentler treatment compared to laser. However, if you are about to undergo either of IPL and Laser, it is necessary to let a specialist guide you through the procedure.

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  • Princess Marasigan
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