In our most recent post, we delved into what intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment is. If you’re considering an IPL treatment to lighten your skin pigmentation, you may also be considering a laser treatment. In this post, we’ll look at the differences and similarities between the two types of treatments.

Both IPL and laser treatments are medical devices, so you can’t purchase and use them at home.

Medical laser treatments emit a focused, single wavelength of light to target a particular area on the skin. Laser treatments affect a very small area with, again, a single color of light.

Laser therapy is used to lighten dark pigmentation (sunspots and freckles) and birthmarks and remove warts, moles, tattoos, and hair. It may also reduce the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes, and scars.

IPL treatments emit multiple wavelengths of light. IPL affects a larger area in a more diffused way. As a result, IPL gives off less energy and is gentler than a laser treatment.

Because IPL treatments are gentler than laser treatments, they require less downtime. The downside is that the require multiple treatments that are spread out over time. Laser treatments are more focused, and so more destructive, too. They can do things IPL can’t, like resurfacing skin or completely removing pigment. Following a laser treatment, a patient may have strong redness and even sores on the skin.

So, if you’re considering a laser or IPL treatment, it’s a tradeoff between gentleness and quick results. If you want fewer, more targeted treatments, or need major resurfacing, laser may be the better option. IPL is a better option for less downtime and gentler treatment.

Your Orlando ENT healthcare professional can help you to choose which treatment is best for you.