Section : Conference Notes

IPL (Intense-Pulsed Light) vs Pulsed-Dye Laser (PDL) (For Professionals)

IPL (Intense-Pulsed Light) vs Pulsed-Dye Laser (PDL) (For Professionals)


-IPL (Intense pulsed light):

  • since 1994
  • many devices
  • lots of indications (but overall less efective)
  • usage by non doctors and lower doses
  • easy to use but applicator more heavy than that of PDL.

-Pulsed dye laser (PDL):

  • only two devices
  • a lot easier to use (applicator less heavy)
  • fewer indications (but more effective)



  • Port-wine stain, less effective (the whitening of lesions does not lead to complete clearance).
  • Telangiectasia treated by adding a green filter, sometimes one treatment session only is enough.
  • Rosacea, papulo-pustular type, two treatment sessions.
  • Pigmentation and aging (an indication wherase for PDL it isn’t).
  • Erythrosis colli, one treatment session is enough with a green filter.
  • IPL (instead of the red led light) accompanied photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be used for treatment of actinic keratosis.
  • Scars
  • Pay attention to treatment induced burning !!!


  • port-wine stain
  1. acts by selective photothermolysis (short pulse) induction of purpura) or selective photocoagulation (longer pulse)(absence of purpura)
  2. usage of stacking methodology: many smaller imnpacts on a same area of treatment (same effect for less thermal effects…).
  • Rosacea

-Treatment tried for:

  1. angiokeratoma
  2. molluscum contagiosum
  3. red keratosis pilaris
  4. ascending telangiectasia of the legs
  5. psoriasis (Study by Dubertret et al.)

Note: for the treatment of ulcerated and bleeding hemangiomas, the pulsed dye laser is effective for pain relief when beta-blocking drugs are used.


Dr Christophe HSU – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source of information (French): Controverses au sujet du laser (Magis M), Journées dermatologiques de Paris 2009