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Sun is crucial to life and health, but too much sun can be dangerous. Ultraviolet light causes free radical damage to the skin, harms cellular DNA, and disrupts the immune function in the skin. Sun damage can result in conditions that range from sunburn to sunspots to skin cancer.

Chronic sun exposure also causes premature aging of the skin. This is because ultraviolet light penetrates the skin and destroys collagen, the springy material beneath the skin that keeps it supple and young looking.

The Science Behind IPL

One of the latest technologies to treat skin damage is intense pulsed light, or IPL therapy. This sort of light uses a specific group of wavelengths of light and is preferred by many dermatologists, to correct certain skin conditions including skin discoloration.

Intense Pulsed Light can be fine-tuned to only treat the areas of the skin that need treating and leave healthy tissue alone. It is also excellent in absorbing melanin, which gives skin and hair color.

IPL emits the specific group of wavelengths with each pulse of light. These pulses treat areas of skin that are a different color from the surrounding skin. IPL treatment can also target lower levels of the skin without affecting the upper layers. This reduces the risk of peeling and also reduces recovery time.

Side note: IPL is often used for hair removal as well.

How IPL Works

IPL therapy is administered by both physicians and trained nurses. The device is used on the face, neck, chest, arms, hands, and other areas of the body to remove age spots, liver spots, and other discoloration and skin ailments. A session of IPL treatment usually lasts about 20 minutes and the patient can go home right after the treatment. Four to six sessions might be necessary to repair the worst of the sun damage.

Recovery after IPL

After the treatment the patient might see some redness on the skin, but this usually fades in a few days. If there’s any peeling, it might continue for up to a week on the face, up to a couple of weeks on the body. In the meantime, the patient should try to stay out of direct sunlight and use a sunscreen if he or she must go out during the day. The results of IPL therapy last, but new discolorations or broken blood vessels may develop over time as a result of past sun damage. If they do, treatment may be repeated. Most patients are very pleased with IPL treatment.

Interested in learning more about IPL? Call Advanced Skin Treatment Center at 806-358-1117 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Elaine Cook MD. 

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