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 By Dr. Alistair Clark

Intense pulsed light, or IPL, is a term used to describe the delivery of extremely high energy from a light source used in skin laser treatments. This applies to laser, which is a single, specific wavelength of laminar light rays. IPL by contrast, is a broad spectrum of confluent, non-parallel light.  Now IPL has advanced to become OPL to offer patients better outcomes.

Quite simply, light is used as a source of energy to treat the skin. This has long been the benchmark for laser hair removal, and some doctors are skilled at using IPL as a photo-rejuvenation tool, treating sunspots, pigmentation and veins with this method.

IPL has advanced to become OPL (optimised pulsed light). OPL still offers patients broad-spectrum light, but does so more accurately and with less pain. It all comes down to control.

IPL Skin Laser has advanced to become OPL



OPL focuses the energy beam, eliminating scatter and wastage of light energy. This translates into more result from less power. The benefit to the patient is shorter treatment sessions with less pain, as well as shortened courses of treatment.

Skin Laser using OPL is also a perfect choice for hair removal

OPL controls energy at different wavelengths and pulse durations, creating a platform to more accurately treat sunspots, spider veins and sun damage, as well as laser hair removal. For photo-rejuvenation, we need to apply accurate and uniform heating to clear melanin pigmentation, then add the correct wavelength peak to be absorbed by haemoglobin – effectively destroying the vessels, leaving your skin clear. Having OPL control means any photo-rejuvenation issue can be treated at any depth with accuracy and minimal discomfort.

This control of power, depth and wavelength also makes OPL the perfect choice for hair removal.

Unlike IPL, OPL treats all skin types with safety, and the increase in spot size does not reduce power, meaning large areas are treated just as accurately and painlessly.

So instead of what you should know about IPL, know simply that there is now a better option. The upgrade improves on all of the benefits of IPL and eradicates all of the negatives. Given the choice, OPL is the only way to go.

Look for it when choosing a treatment.



Dr Alastair Clark is in full-time medical aesthetic practice as medical director and owner of the Sandton Aesthetic Institute in Johannesburg, and working frequently in Paris, Milan, Stockholm, China and Umhlanga. He is the head national and international KOL for Restylane, Galderma and for Silhouette Soft Threadlifts, Genop, and an exco member of the Aesthetic and Anti-ageing Medicine Society of South Africa.


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This post has been curated by a Longevity Live editor for the website.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.