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What Is IPL?

Meghan Murphy - CIE Nurse Manager and Educational Ops.

What is IPL?
IPL is an acronym for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL utilizes a flash lamp to deliver light to a targeted area. The light delivered can be filtered so that certain wavelengths are not delivered. IPL allows more energy delivery through a larger spot size.  

How is IPL different than laser?
IPL is polychromatic, meaning it uses a broad spectrum light to deliver energy verses laser which is monochromatic, using one wavelength to deliver energy.  Due to the fact that IPL is polychromatic, it can treat more than one condition at a time (i.e. can treat both pigment and vascularity). Also, IPL can deliver more energy through a larger spot size. Intense Pulsed Light technology is incorporated into a number of Candela devices. On the Nordlys™ platform, Ellipse IPL™ is a distinct patented type of intense pulsed light. On the elos Plus® platform, intense pulsed light is combined with radio frequency. Both are unique ways to deliver optical energy to treat pigment, vascular lesions, or remove hair. 

References: Neuhaus, Isaac M MD, Zane, Lee T MD, Mas and Tope, Whitney D. MPhil, MD. Comparative Efficacy of Nonpururagenic Pulsed Dye Laser and Intense Pulsed Light for Erythematotelangiectactic Rosacea. U of California, San Francisco, 2009.

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