IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a non-laser light source that can be used to treat several signs of rosacea. IPL affects the deeper layers of skin (dermis) without damaging the upper layers (epidermis).
Intense pulsed light treatment was first approved by the FDA in 1995 for the treatment of fine dilated blood vessels (telangiectasias). It is now used safely and effectively to treat the following symptoms associated with rosacea.
- Persistent redness (erythema) and flushing of rosacea subtype 1.
- Acne-like breakouts of rosacea subype 2.
Your doctor may recommend 4 to 6 treatments to achieve satisfactory results. Each IPL treatment session is spaced out by 3 to 6 weeks and may last 20 minutes.
Several clinical studies have evaluated the effects of IPL treatment on the persistent redness, flushing, and breakouts associated with rosacea. In one 2003 study published in the medical journal Dermatologic Surgery, 32 patients received between one to 7 IPL treatments. Following treatment, 83% experienced reduced redness, 75% said they had less flushing and improved skin texture, and 64% reported fewer acne-like breakouts.
IPL is not effective for everyone. However, most patients experience at least some reduction in dilated blood vessels and redness after just one to two treatments. Side effects from IPL are temporary and include redness, swelling, bruising, and skin lightening or darkening.