Our skin becomes less resilient and more susceptible to damage as we age. Daily exposure to harmful pollutants and UV rays is one of the main factors that can damage your skin cells, leading to accelerated aging in the form of dark spots or discoloration, fine lines, and other issues like rosacea! If you’ve considered rejuvenating your skin by getting rid of age spots, acne scars, and other signs of skin aging, you’re likely to come across Intense Pulsed Light Therapy™ (IPL™) and laser treatment as two of the most recommended procedures in the market today!
Although these two treatments might appear to be similar at a glance, there are key differences between IPL™ and laser skin therapy that you should be aware of before deciding which procedure is right for you.
WHAT IS IPL SKIN TREATMENT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light therapy commonly referred to as “Photofacial” and is a cosmetic treatment that uses quick, powerful flashes of light to target specific areas on the skin. These light sources are non-laser, and they make use of a high-powered, handheld flashgun that is controlled by a computer. IPL devices “flash” when they treat the skin due to the multiple wavelengths of light instead of just one.
IPL devices are a versatile technology for treating the skin due to the fact that the energy used is weaker and more diffused than a laser. This allows patients to be treated with customized settings based on their skin type and needs. The wavelength, fluence, number, duration, and delay of pulses can all be adjusted to create the perfect treatment for each customer, making IPL devices a popular choice among cosmetic professionals.
IPL treatments average $150-$300 per treatment, depending on the size of the treatment area, and may require 1-4 treatments depending on the skin condition.
WHAT SKIN CONDITION DOES IPL TREAT?
Some of the most common issues that can be treated and corrected using intense pulsed light include:
- Sun damage/sunspots
- Redness/flushed appearance
- Acne and acne scarring
- Broken blood vessels
- Ingrown Hair
- Spider veins
WHAT IS LASER SKIN TREATMENT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Many of our patients are well-informed about laser skin resurfacing treatments, but often they mistake it for IPL™. Lasers are unique in that they use a single spectrum of light to treat skin, meaning that it uses a more focused wavelength. This method is advantageous because it is very effective for treating specific skin conditions. As opposed to IPL™ treatment options which use a broader spectrum of wavelengths, laser therapy excels at treating targeted areas and issues more effectively. Additionally, Lasers can either be geared towards treating the skin’s surface or deep layers of skin, without disturbing the surface layers.
Laser treatment comes with a hefty price tag whereas IPL is often much more affordable. Laser skin treatment prices vary depending on the intensity of the treatment and the type of laser used. At The Park Med Spa, laser skin resurfacing with our Aerolase laser can range from $220-$530 per treatment and may require 1-6 sessions depending on skin condition.
TWO TYPES OF LASERS
Laser resurfacing can be done with two different types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative.
Ablative Lasers remove the top layer of skin and heat the underlying skin which stimulates the growth of collagen. It delivers the best result but requires more downtime.
Non-Ablative lasers work below the surface of the skin. A technique in which lasers are used to resurface the skin to improve pigment and texture without physical injury to the skin surface. It delivers the best result but needs multiple sessions and no downtime.
There are numerous types and brands of lasers currently used for cosmetic skincare. We use the Award Winning Aerolase Laser at our practice for a few reasons: 1. it’s ablative and non-ablative, meaning you’ll get the best of both worlds treating both surface and deep layers of skin, and 2. It’s quick, painless, and safe for all skin types and tones of all ages with little to no downtime. You can return to your normal routine after treatment.
WHAT SKIN CONDITIONS LASER SKIN CAN TREAT?
Laser treatments can penetrate deeper layers of the skin, triggering the growth of new collagen, while also working on the surface of the skin. When compared to IPL™, laser therapy is often recommended to treat more prominent scarring or to provide more dramatic results. Laser treatments can treat a variety of conditions, including
- Acne Scarring
- Fine Lines and Wrinkles
- Sagging Skin/Skin Laxity
- Aging Skin
- Irregular Pigmentation
- Broken blood vessels
- Spider Veins
- Psoriasis Clearance
- Ingrown Hair
PROS AND CONS OF IPL VS LASER SKIN TREATMENT
If the condition can only be addressed by one of the treatments exclusively, then you have your decision. If the condition can be treated by either procedure, then let’s look at the pros and cons of each treatment to help you plan:
IPL PHOTOFACIAL PROS AND CONS
|IPL can treat a wider range of skin conditions than lasers.
|IPL treatments are typically not as effective as lasers.
|IPL handpieces have a larger surface area than most lasers, making them more efficient to treat a broader area of skin.
|More IPL treatments are needed than laser treatments.
|IPL treatments tend to be more affordable than laser treatments.
|IPL is not effective or safe for treating darker skin tones, as dark skin is apt to over-absorb IPL’s light energy.
|IPL recovery is typically faster than laser treatments (depends on what laser it is)
|IPL treatments have lower complication risks because their light is less concentrated.
LASER SKIN TREATMENT PROS AND CONS
|Results from laser treatments typically last longer than IPL treatments.
|Laser treatments are more expensive than IPL treatments.
|Lasers require fewer and less frequent follow-up treatments than IPL.
|Lasers are limited to the conditions they can treat based on their wavelength.
|Lasers can treat more specific skin concerns than IPL.
|Lasers have a smaller spot size than IPL devices, meaning they can’t treat as large a surface area.
|Lasers can treat deeper layers of skin to promote collagen production, making them more effective at skin resurfacing.
|Laser treatment is usually considered more uncomfortable than IPL treatment since the light in a laser is more concentrated.
|Non-ablative fractional lasers can be used safely to treat darker skin tones.
|Laser treatments have slightly more downtime than IPL treatments.
When to choose IPL vs LASER SKIN TREATMENT
There are many reasons to choose either IPL or laser resurfacing, but how do you know which one is right for you? Both IPL and laser resurfacing has similarities and can offer significant benefits such as:
IPL & LASER SIMILARITIES
- Both IPL and lasers use light to heat and destroy skin blemishes.
- Both IPL and lasers can remove unwanted hair.
- Both IPL and lasers emit light that is absorbed by melanin, a pigment in the skin that determines the lightness or darkness of skin and hair.
IPL AND LASER SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS
- Age spots
- Discoloration caused by acne
- Vascular lesions, such as spider veins, birthmarks, and broken blood vessels
- Sun damage
- Unwanted facial and/or body hair
Choosing to have an IPL or Laser Treatment is not the easiest decision. When deciding between IPL™ and laser treatments, know what to expect and have the right expectations before deciding whether to have the procedure. Ultimately, the best way to decide between IPL Photofacia land laser resurfacing is to consult a professional who can help you assess your goals and choose the best treatment plan for you. It is important to have an open conversation about goals, downtime, and lifestyle with your care provider to select the best option for your needs.
WHERE TO BOOK IPL AND LASER TREATMENT IN NEW JERSEY!
The Park Med Spa proudly offers IPL™, laser therapy treatments and offers high-quality, individualized, and compassionate care for our patients. If you are considering either IPL or laser treatments as an option to revive your skin, The Park Medspa’s Expert Providers Dr. Miller and Ritu Gupta, MSN, FNP are happy to help you decide and determine the best treatment plan just for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!