Intense Pulsed Light Devices are being used by some spa therapists to achieve results similar to those produced by lasers. "IPL units use incandescent light and all the wavelengths are contained in that light source," says Greif. "To some extent, IPL devices are capable of filtering certain ranges of wavelengths to get a laser-like effect."

The noninvasive approach offered by IPL is especially effective for treating signs of photo-aging without the inflammatory response and other complications of laser resurfacing. Researchers at Tokyo Women's Medical University recently treated 97 patients using IPL at 550 and 570 nanometers to determine the effectiveness of IPL photo rejuvenation. Each patient received three to six treatments at intervals of two to three weeks. The study reported in Dermatologic Surgery (Vol. 27, No. 7, 627-632) relied on the perceptions of both the doctors and patients to assess effectiveness. More than 90% of both rated pigmentation changes as "good" or "excellent"; more than 83% gave the same rating for improvement in dilated capillaries.

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