Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a technology used by cosmetic and medical practitioners to perform various skin treatments for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes, including hair removal, photorejuvenation (e.g. the treatment of skin pigmentation, sun damage, and thread veins) as well as to alleviate dermatologic diseases such as acne.[IPL is increasingly used in optometry and ophthalmology as well, to treat evaporative dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction.
The technology uses a high-powered, hand-held, computer-controlled flashgun to deliver an intense, visible, broad-spectrum pulse of light, generally in the visible spectral range of 400 to 1200 nm.
Various cutoff filters are commonly used to selectively filter out shorter wavelengths, especially potentially damaging ultra violet light. The resulting light has a spectral range that targets specific structures and chromophores (e.g. melanin in hair, or oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels) that are heated to destruction and reabsorbed by the body. IPL shares some similarities with laser treatments, in that they both use light to heat and destroy their targets.