Will IPL Cure Pigment Issues?

As we approach the cooler season, Lasers can become popular to erase the evidence from the fun in the sun over the summer!

While Laser can have remarkable results, the question becomes “Is it going to cure the pigment issue”?

First, one must understand where the pigment comes from.  Mottled pigment comes from aggravated melanocytes deep within the layers of the skin. Melanin is pushed up to the surface over time. Melanocytes become irritated from various triggers including hormones, heat, tanning, and more.  If triggers are still present, significant improvement will be difficult despite how many treatments are performed.

Second, IPL is a light based laser.  There is no true beam, so it covers more surface area than other lasers. There is no ablation, so there really is not any downtime.  In an IPL treatment, the light is converted into heat to target set wavelengths (colors) via the use of filters.  The target is where the heat is absorbed.  In the case of pigment, the setting would be filtered to target “brown” wavelengths .  Once targeted, the brown spots that fall within the set wavelength spectrum darken. Over  a couple weeks, they eventually shed and the skin is clearer.  You may be wondering for how long?

So, while the IPL beam has the ability to potentially reach portions of the melanocyte and clear the melanin in those areas, as mentioned above, if there is a trigger such as tanning present, the melanocyte will continue to “cry” melanin.  If the patient is avoiding all triggers, the results could last for years.  Most of the time living in Florida, I recommend something to help remind the melanocytes not to “cry”.  I like to be more aggressive during the summer with hydroquinone creams and use the cooler months for maintenance with hydroquinone-free creams.

If you are thinking about a laser, this would be a great time to consider since it may take 2 weeks to clear the treated pigment. 


Loralee Koontz