Intense Pulsed Light(IPL) therapy in treating vitiligo


What is IPL(Intense Pulsed Light) therapy?

Intense pulsed light, referred to as intense light, also known as photon, is a polychromatic pulse light source released by a high-energy xenon flash lamp under the action of tens of thousands of volts of high voltage. Intense pulsed light is composed of incoherent, non-parallel broad-spectrum light, usually with a wavelength of 500-1200nm, so it is not strictly a laser.

Photons are mainly used to treat skin aging. In addition, it is also widely used to treat various pigmented skin diseases, vascular skin diseases, hirsutism and even inflammatory skin diseases (such as acne and rosacea, etc.). Intense pulsed photodynamic therapy (photodynamic therapy, PDT) combined with photosensitizers (such as 5-aminolevulinic acid, etc.) has also become an effective means for the treatment of photoaging and severe acne.

As a broad-spectrum light, intense pulsed light basically covers the main absorption peaks of the above-mentioned target chromophore. Therefore, the wavelength that is more likely to be absorbed by the target chromophore is selected through a filter, and the pulse width is adjusted to make it shorter than the target chromophore. The thermal relaxation time of the color base, under the action of sufficient energy, combined with a reasonable pulse interval and synchronous cooling, can effectively and safely destroy skin lesions and achieve the purpose of cosmetic treatment.


What's the main indications of IPL?

  • Rosacea: IPL can reduce redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels associated with rosacea.

  • Hyperpigmentation: IPL can reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage, hormonal changes, and aging.

  • Acne: IPL can reduce the inflammation associated with acne and improve the appearance of acne scars.

  • Fine lines and wrinkles: IPL can stimulate collagen production, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Hair removal: IPL can be used to permanently reduce hair growth on the face and body.

  • Vascular lesions: IPL can be used to treat spider veins, broken capillaries, and other vascular lesions.


IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy can also be used to treat vitiligo, which is a skin condition characterized by the loss of pigmentation in patches on the skin. IPL works by delivering intense pulses of light to the affected areas of the skin, which can stimulate the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin.

During IPL treatment, a handheld device is used to deliver the light pulses to the affected areas of the skin. The light energy is absorbed by the melanin in the skin, which can trigger a healing response that can stimulate the production of new melanin.

IPL therapy can be an effective treatment for vitiligo, particularly when combined with other treatments such as topical steroids or narrowband UVB phototherapy.

What's the difference between IPL and UV Phototherapy?

ComparisionUV PhototherapyIPL-therapy
only uv lightbroad-spectrum, various light source
Indicationsskin conditions like vitiligo and psoriasis, etc.both skin conditions and skin beauty
Treatment sessionnormalfaster visible effects and less sessions
Side effectsalmost no side effectsto be verified
Costmore affordable, and in most cases, it's covered by insurancemore expensive, about $400 per session, and not covered by insurance
Usingvarious home use device, ideal for personal useIt's necessary to consulted doctor or dermatologist to confirm if IPL suits your skin

A Clinical trial about IPL treatment for vitiligo

The trial about 'Treatment of vitiligo using targeted UVB-Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)- phototherapy: evaluation of variables affecting therapeutic success'

intense pulsed light therapy for skin conditions

The conclusions:

IPL is a brand new treatment of vitiligo, and proved to be effective and well-tolerated. 

But we can't take the IPL therapy by ourselves directly, that must be under the guidance of professional doctors or dermatologists.

Also the cost of the IPL therapy is much higher than the traditional uv phototherapy. In conclusion, IPL therapy provides new opportunity for friends who has vitiligo.

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