The Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is an electronic device widely used for photo - depilation and skin photo - rejuvenation. This technology was first developed in the late 90s and is considered as a further laser development. Its advantage, as compared to laser, lies in the fact that it allows the treatment of larger skin areas, with much greater safety, versatility and speed. The technical specifications vary depending on the model and brand, but essentially this equipment contains an energy accumulator, a special Xenon lamp and a particular optic device. The purpose of the IPL is the production and the transmission of an intense light beam that hits the treatment area. Light rays are not produced continuously, but rather through very short pulses. A specific optical filter, which is interchangeable case by case, prevents any possible damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet rays. Through high intensity pulses of light that this equipment produces, it is possible to non - invasively treat a variety of skin problems such as: facial thin and red capillaries, acnes, skin discolorations caused by sun exposure, pregnancy or aging process, photo - rejuvenation, facial wrinkles and sagging skin, long - lasting or almost permanent depilation, etc. The IPL device works similar to the laser. The light rays are absorbed within the cells with a color different from the skin. The light energy is then transformed into thermal energy, thus provoking damage to these particular skin cells which are the target of the treatment. Unlike lasers, the IPL provides the possibility of treatment with different length light waves in each light pulse. The use of specific filters, which vary depending on the type of treatment to be performed, serves to channel the rays in some specific areas. This makes it possible to increase the penetrating power of the rays to the skin, without increasing the emitted energy, affecting in this way only the specific chromophore cells. The IPL treatment is considered as a technique of non - ablative “refreshing, photo - rejuvenation” (resurfacing). Its targets are the deep layers of skin (dermis) without affecting its surface (epidermis). This technique is not aggressive like the ablative resurfacing where both the dermis and the epidermis are affected, causing an evident reddening of the skin. In fact, the immediate recovery is the main advantage of the IPL treatment (Intense Pulsed Light). People may undergo the treatment during lunch break and return to work immediately in the afternoon. The goal of resurfacing – photo - rejuvenation of the skin – is to compact the open and relaxed pores and to eliminate dark spots. In addition, it is also possible to eliminate the face red capillaries, which are usually caused by aging and excessive sun exposure. The intense light produced by the IPL device also stimulates the production of collagen which revitalizes, reinvigorates and gives texture to the skin (see also the "Illustrative Video").
Regarding the photo - depilation with IPL, the application of light thermal energy causes photo thermolysis of hair bulbs. A micro- computer controls the emission of light at a defined frequency, which penetrates up to 3 - 4 mm in depth reaching the hair roots bulbs. The hair melanin absorbs enough thermal energy to de - naturalize the structure of the bulb, thus destroying it. This effect is very selective and involves only pigmented (colored) tissues, while the skin remains intact from treatment. In case of moles, they can be covered with white dermographic pencil in order to avoid damage through intense rays of light. The objective of permanent depilation is not to burn the hair, but rather use it a channel for transmitting energy within the roots. The bulbs are responsible for the continued growth of hair but they are deactivated for a long period of time if their temperature exceeds a certain limit through such transmitted energy. Depending on the metabolism of every individual person, these bulbs can remain disabled or can be slowly repaired by the organism itself. It should be emphasized that only hair that is present at the time of treatment can effectively transmit the heat. Due to the above, it is necessary to treat the same area several times to target hair follicles in different stages of their growth and development. The higher the contrast between skin and hair, the more effective the treatment is. The heat absorbed by the skin is much less than that absorbed by the hair and it is immediately neutralized by the large amount of water contained in the skin. The energy emitted by the IPL device directly influences the result but, according to the thermal principle of treatment, the maximum heat the skin of each individual person is able to tolerate should not be exceeded. This limit is usually high for light skin and low for dark skin because the presence of melanin, responsible for the dark color, increases heat absorption. Consequently, the light - skinned and dark - haired people are the ideal candidates for this treatment. In rare cases, it is possible that the maximum energy tolerated by the skin of a person is lower than the energy needed to make the depilation, thus making it impossible to obtain the desired results. Due to the above, the IPL photo - depilation aims to achieve a maximum obtainable result which lasts as long as possible because the total lifelong depilation is practically impossible. The hair of the treated areas are progressively reduced in number and become increasingly thin and weak. After 4 - 6 sessions on average, a very satisfactory and long-lasting outcome is achieved, although it varies depending on the specific characteristics of each individual person.
Compared to the laser, the IPL has some advantages with regards to depilation: the device handle is larger and makes it possible to treat larger areas, thus reducing the duration and the costs of treatment. Furthermore, the treatment is very tolerable and people can not feel but a very slight stroke on the skin. See also “Treatments with Intense Pulsed Light - IPL)”.