How to choose the right IPL provider

By Warren B. Seiler III MD

Many patients, practitioners and even physicians are not aware that there are a lot of different IPL devices available on the market and not all IPLs are the same.  In my opinion, IPL is the most under-respected device in the non-invasive laser/light device category.  IPL is a very good treatment for “browns and reds,” namely sun damage, melasma, spots, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, spider veins, and other forms of discoloration. However, it is not without possible complications if the wrong device is used or if used by an under-trained practitioner. Therefore, there are a couple of things that you as a patient or practitioner need to know in how to choose the right IPL provider.

  1. Not all IPLs are created equal. There are different levels of quality of IPL machines. You can find them for as cheap as 10K or as expensive as over 100K.  You get what you pay for.  I believe my IPL from Lumenis Lasers is the best (and most expensive) on the market.
  2. A sophisticated IPL  is multifunctional & customizable for each patient and concern. Different settings and parameters can be changed and customized for each patient, concern, and skin type.  Cheaper devices will not have these customizable settings and will likely not provide safe and effective results. An advanced IPL can select certain colored targets at each different level of depth in the skin for each different skin type, like a sniper.  Less advanced systems will be more like the shotgun approach, hoping you hit something!
  3. Highly Trained Provider and Responsible Physician. It is also extremely important that the person performing the procedure be very highly trained.  You have to know the theory and physics of IPL, why you should or shouldn’t use it for different conditions and how to use the settings on your device to maximize result and safety.  Many practitioners do not think they need advanced training because “it’s just a light.”  Well, it’s a device that can really cause harm if not used by a well-trained practitioner.
  4. State Medical Laws. Finally, practitioners using IPL must follow state medical laws.  I see it all too often that a patient has an IPL treatment at a place with little to no physician involvement, or even a physician without proper training.  This is against the law. In all states that I am aware of, IPL can only be used in a physician’s practice. If the procedure is to be performed by a non-physician, the physician still must be properly involved in treating and consulting with the patient, in giving informed consent, and in protocols for safe and effective treatment with before and aftercare.

You can see from our videos and testimonials, especially from the patients who have had IPL at other places, how happy our patients are with their results. I hear all too often of a patient who had IPL somewhere else and was not happy with the result and they are amazed at the difference a great IPL and IPL provider can make. With the right practitioner and device you will like the results!

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