Take Time to Recharge Your Body
And Let Your Spirit Heal

Take Time to Recharge Your Body
And Let Your Spirit Heal

The Science Behind Intense Pulsed Light Therapy: How Does It Work?

Whether you are dealing with hyperpigmentation, age spots, vascular lesions, or more, skin concerns can be challenging to treat. However, advancements in aesthetic medicine have made achieving and maintaining a healthy complexion easier, more convenient, and more comfortable. 

One of these advancements is the use of intense pulsed light therapy (IPL therapy) to improve the complexion. IPL therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses light energy to target specific skin concerns. With its versatility, IPL is a popular option in cosmetic medicine, effectively addressing a myriad of skin issues, from discoloration to visible signs of aging.

Understanding the science behind intense pulsed light therapy and how it can help to improve certain skin concerns can help you to determine whether this treatment may be right for you. At Harvey Aesthetics & Wellness in Beckley, WV, helping our patients to learn more about our treatments is an important part of ensuring that each person gets the treatments that are the most helpful for them.

Understanding Light and Its Interaction With the Skin

Light, whether emitted by the sun or a device, consists of different wavelengths that make up the electromagnetic spectrum. IPL therapy uses a broad spectrum of wavelengths in the visible and infrared spectrum allowing it to target various layers of the skin.

IPL therapy primarily works in the dermis, or the layer that is beneath the surface layer of the skin. Once the light reaches the dermis, it can provide a wide variety of benefits from breaking down excess melanin to minimizing spider veins. 

IPL therapy is often confused with laser treatments. While both use light to treat various skin concerns and can be beneficial, laser therapy uses a single, concentrated wavelength of light while IPL therapy uses a broad spectrum, allowing it to target multiple skin conditions simultaneously. This makes IPL a versatile and comprehensive tool in the realm of aesthetic skin treatments.

What Is IPL Therapy? 

Intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL therapy, is a non-invasive cosmetic treatment that uses high-intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of the skin. This therapy works by directing light energy into the skin, which is then converted into heat. The heat is absorbed by targeted cells, encouraging the body’s natural healing processes. IPL treatments are designed to heat these targeted cells without causing harm to the surrounding tissues, making them a good option for skin rejuvenation.

How Does Intense Pulsed Light Therapy Work? 

When the intense pulsed light penetrates the skin, it is absorbed by either the melanin (dark pigments) or hemoglobin (in blood vessels) in the targeted cells. This absorption generates heat, which disrupts the unwanted pigmentation, causing it to break down. Over time, the body naturally eliminates these pigmented cells, leading to a more even skin tone and improved skin texture. Pulsed light therapy can also stimulate collagen production, a protein essential for skin elasticity and firmness.

Selective Treatments: Targeting Specific Skin Concerns

One of the standout features of intense pulsed light therapy is its customizability, which allows for treatments to be tailored according to the specific skin concerns and skin types of individual patients. The IPL device can be adjusted to filter out certain wavelengths, focusing only on those that are effective in treating a particular skin condition. These conditions can include: 

Flushed Skin

If you’re dealing with flushed skin, intense pulsed light therapy can be a solution. The therapy targets red pigmentation, resolving flushed skin and evening out skin color over time. 

Brown Spots

For brown spots on the skin, IPL treatments work by targeting melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of our skin, hair, and eyes. The absorbed light energy causes the melanin to break down, resulting in the gradual fading of these spots.


Pulsed light therapy is particularly effective for managing rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in your face. The light targets the blood vessels causing redness, reducing their visibility, and helping to alleviate the symptoms of rosacea.

Spider Veins

For spider veins, IPL therapy proves to be a beneficial treatment. The intense pulsed light targets the hemoglobin in the blood, causing the veins to constrict and eventually fade away, reducing their visibility on the skin’s surface.

Sun Damage

IPL therapy is a go-to treatment for sun damage, helping to correct and reverse the signs of aging caused by prolonged sun exposure. By targeting both melanin and hemoglobin, IPL can address pigmentation issues, broken capillaries, and uneven skin tone resulting from sun damage.

Enlarged Pores

For those concerned with enlarged pores, intense pulsed light therapy can help. The heat generated by the therapy stimulates the production of collagen, which can help tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of large pores.

What Are Some Benefits of IPL Therapy?

One of the benefits of IPL therapy is its minimal downtime. Patients can usually return to their regular routines immediately following the treatment. Appointments are also generally quick, with most sessions completed in less than an hour, making them easy to fit into a lunch break or free afternoon. IPL is also relatively comfortable, with many patients comparing the sensation to a mild, brief snap of a rubber band against the skin.

Learn More About the Science and Potential of IPL Therapy

The versatility and efficiency of intense pulsed light therapy make it a trusted choice for many seeking to improve their skin health and appearance. At Harvey Aesthetics & Wellness in Beckley, WV, we are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art treatments and personalized care to meet your unique skincare needs. If you want to learn more, you can contact us at (888) 672-1333 or reach out online to schedule a consultation today.