Rejuvenate your skin with IPL

Mar 18, 2008 at 5:10 a.m. ET

Instead of harsh chemical peels and more invasive skin treatments, many women are turning to IPL therapy to restore and rejuvenate their skin.

Skin TreatmentDermatologists use Intense Pulse Light (IPL) therapy to improve skin's texture, as well as treat a variety of skin conditions and discolorations. IPL has been used on age spots, fine lines, acne scars, freckles and other skin flaws. It has also proven effective in diminishing the appearance of rosacea, veins, tattoos and birthmarks.

How IPL Works

After numbing the skin with a cool gel, a series of pulses of light are sent through a glass prism to the desired area. Unlike invasive methods, IPL doesn't break the skin. Instead the pulses work inside the tissue to break up discoloration, improve collagen production and much more.

IPL is a gradual process. Usually four or more 20-minute sessions spaced every four weeks are necessary to reach desired results. However, the final results of IPL can last one to two years. The side effects of IPL are very limited. On occasion some slight swelling and redness may occur. It's recommended that patients undergoing IPL therapy, avoid direct sunlight for 30 days before and after their treatment.

Doctors usually charge per pulse for IPL therapy with a minimum of 10-15 pulses each session. The cost varies around the country, but $10-20 per pulse is not unheard of. Some doctors choose to use Botox injections in conjunction with IPL. Botox is more effective on wrinkles and fine lines, while IPL is good for restoring normal texture, tone and color to skin.

IPL at Home?

Similar to IPL therapy, several companies are selling beauty gadgets that use light to treat common skin problems. These hand-held device don't come cheap, but customer reviews show that they can be effective.

Marvel-MiniMarvel Mini
The Marvel-Mini uses different types of light (blue, green and red) to treat different skin conditions.

Marvel-Mini Rejuvenating Facial Light Therapy Blue uses blue light to help kill bacteria that causes acne. This hand-held device is easy to use. You can reduce your acne breakouts naturally by using it 15 minutes a day, twice a day for 30 days.

Marvel-Mini's green light edition is used to diminish hyperpigmentation and age spots. And the red light version of the Marvel-Mini is designed to help reduce fine lines and Wrinkles. Each of the Marvel-Minis comes at a price of $225 from

Baby Quasar
Another similar item is the Baby Quasar, which uses photorejuvenation light therapy to treat many flaws such as acne, age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores and others. It utilizes both red and invisible infrared light. The Baby Quasar is more expensive than the Marvel-Mini at $449 from

Lightstim offers three different models of their hand-held devices. Using LED photorejuvenation light therapy, they offer The Original LightStim (anti-aging), The Anti-Acne Light and the Anti-Aging Light (professional model). These devices work similar to the others and range in price from $197 to $329. You can find out more at

If you choose to try skin therapy at home, be sure to do your research before making your purchase. All of these products offer some sort of guarantee, however make sure to read all the details.

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