May 1, 2020 Is The IPL Laser Effective For Melasma?
There are many types of lasers that can be used to treat melasma, one of which includes the IPL laser (Intense Pulsed Light). Here’s what you need to know about IPL before deciding if this procedure is right for you.
How Do IPL Lasers Work?
IPL laser treatments are very flexible and can be adjusted to suit a variety of patient needs. They use varying frequencies, pulse duration, and a wide spectrum of light in order to target specific areas in the skin (Arora). In the case of melasma, IPL treatments target pigment.
Laser treatment, in general, is considered a second or third-line treatment. Your dermatologist may recommend IPL to address melasma that is resistant to other treatments.
How Effective Is The IPL Laser For Melasma?
The effectiveness of IPL laser treatment for melasma depends on different variables, from frequency to combined use with topical creams.
Most current studies involve IPL treatment combined with other types of treatment, especially topical treatments. Several studies have found that although IPL can treat melasma on its own, it is more effective when combined with other treatment types, such as topical creams (Shah).
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What Are The Side Effects of IPL Laser Treatment?
The side effects of IPL laser treatment are generally mild and limited to the treatment area. Side effects include:
IPL laser treatment for melasma isn’t right for everyone and can actually make this condition worse in some skin types. It’s important to consult with your dermatologist to make sure that IPL is right for your skin. They will assess your skin type and help you make the best decision to clear up your melasma.
- Arora P, Sarkar R, Garg VK, Arya L. Lasers for treatment of melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2012;5(2):93‐103. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.99436. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461803/.
- Shah SD, Aurangabadkar SJ. Laser Toning in Melasma. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2019;12(2):76‐84. doi:10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_179_18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6676813/.
About the author
Brandon Kirsch, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in clinical drug development and medical innovation. He is the founder of Kirsch Dermatology in Naples, Florida and is also the Chief of Dermatology at the ...