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Intense Pulsed Light is Different from Laser Therapies: Choosing Skin Treatment

If you are in need of skin treatment, there’s no doubt you’ve scoured the internet looking for options and ultimately a solution. Laser therapy has become an extremely popular treatment option and intense pulsed light (or IPL) isn’t far behind. If you’re scratching your head and asking “Aren’t they the same thing?” we don’t blame you. However, IPL is actually a bit different from your typical laser therapy. Let’s break down their differences and discover which of the two is the best for you.

What is Laser Therapy?

The most common form of laser therapy is what we call low-level laser therapy, also known as LLLT. This is a medical procedure in which a low-energy laser (or sometimes even light emitting diodes, also known as LEDs) is passed over the surface of the body in order to heal various skin conditions affecting the surface of the skin. Respectively, high-power lasers are also used in medicine. However, these are typically reserved for procedures that require the penetration of the top layer of skin or even the precise cutting of tissue. The intensity of the laser depends on the procedure but is determined by the set wavelength. Thanks to this variable, laser therapy can be used for something as simple as tattoo removal to something as complicated as the removal of a tumor. Other treatments include kidney stone removal, eye surgery (including vision correction), treatment of cancer symptoms, alopecia treatment, pain-reduction after surgery, and skin blemishes such moles, warts, or acne removal. The list goes on.

What is Intense Pulsed Light?

IPL is another option for certain skin treatments. IPL is commonly used for cosmetic purposes, although it can be a solution to a medical issue such as chronic acne. It can reduce or remove deep wrinkles, unwanted hair, and blemishes.

Remember how laser therapy uses a set wavelength depending on the procedure? Well, intense pulsed light therapy uses multiple different wavelengths of light released in pulses. You can think of it as a strobe light passing along the skin. IPL also isn’t a focused beam like a laser is. It instead is dispersed beams of light that work together. As the light penetrates down to the second layer of skin, it allows the cells to absorb its energy, heat up, and eventually destroy the pigmentation within the cell. This is how age spots and other discoloring blemishes are zapped out of existence. IPL is also used to treat moles, birthmarks, rosacea, unwanted hair, and even varicose veins.

Which to Choose

Both treatments are worthy options for skin treatments, though you should ask yourself if the procedure you’re looking for is medical or cosmetic. Cosmetic procedures usually fall under IPL’s line of work, while laser therapy handles the tougher jobs.

To truly determine which is the best option for you, you’ll need to speak to a professional. Luckily, at The Dermatology Group, we have a team of experts standing by to discuss your options with you and even offer treatment. If you are in Cincinnati, Ohio or a surrounding city, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Book a consultation today!

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