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IPL treatments: expert advice on staying safe

Posted: 01/12/2016

We have recently commented on the hazards presented by intense pulsed light treatments (IPL) which are being carried out on the high street. This can put patient safety at risk and is a worrying trend. Now, we would like to share with you some advice we have come across from Dr Nick Lowe, an internationally renowned consultant dermatologist, who trained in both the UK and the US, and Professor of Dermatology at UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles. We wholeheartedly agree with these pointers:

  • A growing number of non-physicians give cosmetic advice and treatment, creating a potential minefield of insufficiently expert practice. Some of the technicians have only been trained by the companies that sell the equipment.
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser treatments, including hair removal, should only be undertaken or directly supervised by dermatologists, GPs and plastic surgeons, who have completed additional training in these cosmetic procedures.
  • Make sure you are examined by a doctor in one of those specialties on the day you start the IPL photo facial treatment.
  • Medical aestheticians with full training in lasers and light treatments should only administer treatments under the supervision of a doctor. They should consult the doctor about laser / IPL energy levels for a patient.
  • Always ask for a test patch to be carried out first.

This is extremely sound advice, of course, coming from an eminent consultant dermatologist. The heart of the issue, which angers so many patients, is the lack of regulation of these treatments in the UK, allowing them to be undertaken by non-qualified practitioners.

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