Why IPL and your tan don’t mix!

Here at the clinic we use IPL for both hair removal and skin rejuvenation but clients are often surprised that IPL can’t be used when you have a tan. However, with the winter months approaching and tans now a distant memory from a glorious summer, now is the best time to think about this highly effective treatment…

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and the technology it harnesses is actually similar to a laser. There are a wide range of IPL options available but here at the clinic we use Elōs, which is the first technology that combines bi-polar radio frequency and optical energy (either laser or light).

With IPL technology the light energy penetrates just below the skin’s surface so it is a highly effective option for precisely and safely targeting a variety of skin conditions, including pigmented lesions such as freckles, sunspots and age spots. IPL rejuvenation should also be considered for tackling other issues, such as vascular lesions and spider veins, and with the right IPL course, redness from rosacea or facial flushing can also be lightened and gradually fade.

The reason IPL can’t be used when you have a tan is that lasers are targeting brown pigmentation deep in the skin, bringing it to the surface so it fades away (equally, in hair removal the lasers are looking for dark hair to destroy the hair follicle). Having a tan means the IPL is unable to tell the difference between your skin and the pigmentation or hair follicle so the treatment won’t be as effective.