Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment

IPL or intense pulsed light therapy is popular form of treatment for thread veins, hair removal and other similar conditions. It uses short bursts of light or 'pulses' – hence the name - to heat and destroy the affected veins.

This is a similar form of treatment to laser therapy.

Want to know more? Find out about this effective form of treatment in this section.

The intense pulsed light procedure

You will be provided with a pair of goggles which you must wear throughout this procedure. The specialist/therapist will also wear a pair as well.

The reason for this is that there are flashes of energy emitted during this session which may cause damage to the eyes unless otherwise protected. So the wearing of goggles is for you and the therapist's safety.

A test patch may be performed. This is where the therapist tries out the procedure on a small section of your skin to determine your response. If there are no adverse effects then the treatment will proceed.

The therapist will use a hand held device which emits bursts of light onto your skin. This is similar to laser treatment but for one important aspect: intense pulsed light devices send out different wavelengths of light compared to a laser which emits only a single narrow wavelength of light.

An IPL system can release hundreds or more of these wavelengths in a single burst or 'pulse'of light. This device can be used with a range of filters which enable it to perform in a similar way to a laser.

The therapist will aim this device at the area of skin which contains thread veins. These pulses of light cause the veins to rapidly heat up, which damages their inner walls and causes them to close up. These veins then gradually fade away where they are absorbed into the body.

A soothing gel is applied to the affected area during treatment which helps to cool the skin but also improves the contact between the IPL device and the skin.

This also helps to ease the stinging sensation commonly experienced during this treatment.

A single session can take up to 30 minutes in total.

The concept behind intense pulsed light

The aim is to emit short bursts of energy with a suitable interval in between these to enable the skin to cool. Doing this means that the thread veins receive the optimum amount of heat whilst minimising the risk of any damage to the surrounding area of skin.

A skilled therapist will have determined beforehand the exact number of pulses needed to destroy these veins.

What is certain is that the lighter a person's skin the better it is at absorbing these pulses and the greater the results. If you are fair skinned then you will fall into this category.

Post IPL treatment

Your skin will have a pink or reddish colour similar to mild sunburn. This is completely normal and eases after a day or so.

Blistering and damage to the pigment within the skin only occurs if too many light pulses are absorbed by the skin. If this happens then it can result in white patches on the skin.

You will be able to return to work and your normal daily activities as soon as possible.

Several treatment sessions are needed in order to get the results you desire and for you to notice any improvements.

Guide to Thread Veins

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