Around the World: How IPL Can Help Varying Skin Types

IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light treat­ment, is a pro­ce­dure rec­om­mended by der­ma­tol­o­gists for men and women look­ing to improve cer­tain aspects of their appear­ance. IPL uses vary­ing wave­lengths to remove unwanted hair, reduce dark spots on the skin, and achieve a clear and even complexion.

Even though IPL is very safe and free from unwanted side effects, there is some debate over whoIPL is best suited for. Read on for more infor­ma­tion regard­ing IPL and the dif­fer­ent skin types that are best suited for the treatment.

IPL around the world skin types blog pic

The Fitz­patrick Scale

A Har­vard der­ma­tol­o­gist cre­ated a scale that iden­ti­fies the vary­ing skin types that are suited to Intense Pulsed Light treat­ment. The Fitz­patrick Scale iden­ti­fies six dif­fer­ent skin types, and each type is given a num­ber rang­ing from 0 to 30. Skin types that rank above 30 are con­sid­ered not ideal for IPL.

The Type One skin type on the Fitz­patrick Scale is white and fair. This type never tans and burns very eas­ily. This skin type is ranked from 0 to 7, and is ideal for Intense Pulsed Light treat­ment. Type Two is still white and fair but tans some­times, and ranks 8 to 16. Type Three on the Fitz­patrick Scale is known as “beige,” and ranks 17 to 25. Mediter­ranean type skin is Type Four on the Fitz­patrick Scale and ranks 25 to 30. Dark brown and black skin types, Types Five and Six, rank above 30 and are con­sid­ered not ideal for IPL treatment.

Fair Skin Types Are Ideal

While IPL can help a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent con­di­tions and can aid many peo­ple who have dif­fer­ent skin types and tones, fair skin types are ideal for Intense Pulsed Light treatments.

IPL works by using spe­cific wave­lengths that tar­get both hemo­glo­bin and melanin in the skin. The waves pass through the skin and are absorbed, which frag­ments melanin pig­ments. Because frag­ment­ing melanin makes sur­face color less vis­i­ble, effects are more desir­able if there is less melanin to begin with. Remov­ing light hair and achiev­ing a clear com­plex­ion is most effec­tive for Types One through Four on the Fitz­patrick Scale.

New Stud­ies Done on East Indian Skin

That being said, a new study has been done that exam­ines Intense Pulsed Light treat­ment on East Indian skin. Because it is assumed that darker skin is not suited for IPL, few stud­ies have been done before now. How­ever, results of the study showed that darker skin still ben­e­fits fromIPL. Unwanted hair was light­ened after mul­ti­ple treat­ments and acne scars saw a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion. In darker skin types though, mul­ti­ple treat­ments are required with the great­est results occur­ring after five treat­ments with 3 to 4 week intervals.

Despite com­mon belief, Intense Pulsed Light treat­ment is not just for fair skin types. IPL is suited for a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent skin tones and can yield pos­i­tive results as long as the treat­ment is prop­erly admin­is­tered. As long as the proper wave­lengths are used and the IPL pro­ce­dure spe­cific to each skin type is fol­lowed, there will be no unde­sir­able side effects. Men and women of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties can achieve the com­plex­ion and appear­ance they want by try­ing Intense Pulsed Light treatment.