Pulsed Light Treatment (Laser Treatments) for Vascular Lesions
Laser treatment of pigmented lesions goes way back to the 1960s with the first laser device being crafted out of ruby crystals. Since then, laser treatment technology has advanced to more sophisticated equipment such as the Intense Pulsed Light device ( IPL).
While the early ruby crystal prototype succeeded in treating dermatological conditions, there was still a need to advance the equipment for a number of reasons. To begin with, this laser device only emitted red light in the infrared spectrum which made it impossible to treat all types of pigmented lesions. Secondly, while the lesions were being eliminated, adjacent skin cells that were otherwise healthy became casualties of the red light as well. Dermatologists had to come up with a mitigating solution for this which led to the principle of photothermolysis. Photothermolysis is the use of different laser lights to treat specific dermal pigmentations at the tissue or cellular levels. Advancements in photothermolysis research led to the invention of the Intense Pulsed Light Device.
How IPL works
Modern pulsed light treatment devices have overcome the shortcomings faced by their predecessors. They have replaced the ruby crystal with a flash lamp that is capable of producing light emissions with a wavelength of 500-1200 nm (the ruby crystal device only managed 694 nm). This broader wavelength is able to penetrate skin layers that were once unreachable.
IPL devices can also emit different wavelength lights to target different pigmented lesions. While the previous laser devices could only emit red wavelengths, the new models can emit red, green, yellow, and infrared light wavelengths. This makes it possible to target three chromophores (hemoglobin, melanin, water) that determine skin pigmentation.
Is Pulsed Light Treatment Safe?
Since IPL devices can target specific chromophores, it makes it possible to protect adjacent skin cells from damage. In addition, dermatologists are able to treat all kinds of pigmented lesions, thanks to photothermolysis.
To reinforce safety, IPL devices are also fitted with special cutoff filters that block unwanted wavelengths of light. These are normally the shorter wavelengths that stray and damage adjacent skin cells. In addition, modern IPL devices are fitted with self-cooling devices that use either contact cooling, forced refrigerated air, or cryogen spray. This mechanism ensures that the skin is not damaged by heat when it comes into contact with the device.
Treatment of Vascular Lesions
Pulsed light treatment has proven successful in pigmented lesion treatment because it is non-invasive. As there are mechanisms to mitigate possible side effects, patients are able to recover quicker from the treatment session. Moreover, IPL devices can clear any type of pigmented lesions. They improve red pigmentations by targeting oxyhemoglobin cells. On the other hand, IPL devices improve blue pigmented lesions by targeting deoxygenated hemoglobins. Dermatologists are able to treat cherry angiomas and telangiectatic vascular lesions because both conditions respond better to pulsed light treatment.
Wrinkle lines, moles, blotches, and skin discoloration can all be treated through pulsed light treatment. The procedure is quicker and with minimal damage to skin cells. Patients recover faster and regain a radiant looking face which boosts their confidence in life.