IPL vs. Laser for Treating Pigmentation


It's almost impossible to avoid pigmentation, particularly living in Australia. Each day we have clients coming into clinic with concerns of discolouration, uneven skin tone, sun damage, melasma and capillaries. If you're considering a treatment for pigmentation, you've no doubt read about skin rejuvenation treatments that renew, rejuvenate and resurface the outer layers of the skin. Our most popular skin rejuvenation treatments are IPL 'Intense Pulsed Light' and Fraxel Laser Therapy; read on to learn the difference between light and laser treatments and which treatment will work best for you.

What is IPL?

IPL or 'Intense Pulsed Light' is a rejuvenation treatment which uses light therapy to break down melanin in the skin, reverse pigmentation and create a more even skin tone. At The Clinic we IPL on the face, chest, arms and even the back of hands which is often where sun damage appears the worst.

IPL pigmentation treatment on the chest - The Clinic Bondi

How Does IPL Work?

IPL works by producing beams of many different wavelengths of light which get absorbed into targeted skin cells to repair damage and breakdown accumulated spots of melanin.

An IPL session is 30 minutes in duration for the full face. Initially, a cooling gel is applied to the area to be treated, and you will be given protective eyewear to prevent eye damage from the light used. As the IPL hand-piece is moved over the skin, a sensation likened to a rubber band snap may be felt.

Following treatment, the skin will feel warm and tingly and you may notice slight redness for 24 hours. Over the next week or so after, brown spots and pigmented areas will turn darker as the body breaks down the melanin that has been released. The real results become evident after two weeks when you will visibly notice a reduction in pigmentation and discolouration.

Depending on your treatment area and desired results, we recommend between 1 and 5 sessions of IPL to see long-term improvement.

IPL Before and After

These are real client results, two weeks after a single treatment.

IPL Before and after result photo - The Clinic Bondi

What Is Laser Therapy?

Fraxel is the trade name for fractional laser treatments, a non-invasive laser therapy that penetrates the epidermis, targeting deeper within the skin. Fractional, because it delivers microscopic laser beams to treat a single column of skin at a time. The lasers mimic an injury to the skin, stimulating the body to go through its natural healing process, causing the existing collagen fibres to contract, and stimulating the production of new collagen, tissues and cells.

Fraxel Laser Treatment - The Clinic Bondi

Fraxel works in a single, 90 minute treatment and is our gold standard for total face rejuvenation, with dramatic improvements to pigmentation, acne scarring and fine lines and wrinkles.

However, Laser Therapy is not recommended for olive to dark skin tones and due to the intensity of treatment, requires short downtime as the skin goes through its natural healing process. Immediately after Fraxel, the skin will feel hot, appear red and over the next 2-5 days sloughing (peeling) will occur. The best results from Fraxel become evident after two weeks when you will visibly notice dramatic improvements in skin tone and texture.

If you are ready to start reversing your pigmentation, request a consultation with The Clinic today.