Intense Pulsed Light treatment (IPL)By Pete On March 19, 2012 Under Posts
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy is another type of light treatment that uses filtered xenon flashlamps, not lasers. The tattoo is covered in a special anesthetic gel, a prism is placed over it and a light emitting wand is passed over. IPL is less painful than laser treatment but more expensive, costing around $10 per pulse. If you have a large tattoo you would need a lot of $10 shots which can add up very quickly.IPL is sometimes incorrectly referred to as laser treatment. It is not. However, like a Q-switching laser, IPL is light transmitted in short bursts at high intensity and is frequently used in hair removal. The debate of effectiveness of IPL vs. ND:YAG laser treatment continues with the consensus being that IPL is as effective but may require more treatments. One thing everyone can agree on is IPL is less painful than laser and the treatment is described as feeling akin to a light sunburn. Aside from hair removal, IPL is often employed in the treatment of acne, spider veins and birth mark removal.
As with laser removal, IPL works through absorption of heat energy by the ink pigment and this is wavelength dependent. Different wavelengths of IPL are also needed to target and break up different tattoo ink color.
IPL works best on people with light colored skin and has a lower success rate on dark skin. This is because it targets the dark color in the dermis and the greater the discrepancy between the tattoo ink and the surrounding skin the more effective it is. As with lasers, those with darker skin who undergo IPL treatment are at risk of “hypopigmentation.” This is localized permanent loss of skin color. The risk of this occurring is less with IPL than with lasers.
People with diabetes will need to exercise caution here as diabetes may impede the healing process.
Practitioners claim on average “amateur” tattoos will require 3 to 5 treatments while “professional” tattoos will require 5 to 8 treatments. Scarring is reported to have occurred in around 2% of patients undergoing IPL treatment. Post treatment the skin will turn red and swell a little. Blisters may form but the skin should return to normal in one to two weeks post treatment.
IPL can cost anywhere from $250 to $600 per treatment depending on all the variables discussed earlier. Packages for treatment are often available which can help lower the per treatment cost. All terms should be discussed thoroughly and fully understood before you commit to treatment.
Image credit: Daily Mail