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Light vs. Laser: Which Treatment is Right For You?
Written by Dr. Marcia Fleming   

A side-by-side comparison of IPL and Fraxel therapies.

light vs laser anti-aging treatmentsThe world of anti-aging treatments continues to evolve at a rapid clip, making the decision-making process all the more bewildering when it comes time to choose the right therapy for you. Many of us are familiar with intense pulsed light, or IPL treatment for the skin, which is renowned for its ability to target sun-damaged skin and eliminate dark spots. But you may be hearing information about a laser technology called Fraxel, and wonder how it differs from IPL and which treatment would be most effective for your specific needs. The following chart is designed to shine a little light on light (IPL) and laser (Fraxel) therapies to help you determine the right course of treatment for your skin.




Excellent for reducing brown sun-damage spots

Good for reducing brown sun spots

Excellent for removing or diminishing blood vessels and red skin

Minimal improvement on blood vessels


Some improvement of fine lines and pores

Good improvement of fine lines and pores

No improvement of acne scars

Good improvement of acne scars

No downtime

Usually two to three days of swelling and one week of redness

Best when done as a series of four to five treatments

Best when done as a series of three to six treatments depending on the indication

Gives long-lasting results, often with one or two treatments every year

Gives long-lasting results, often with treatment in two to three years

No anesthetic required

Topical anesthetic required

No help with precancerous lesions

FDA approved treatment for precancerous spots

Can be safely performed only on non-tanned skin

Recently tanned skin is avoided

Light energy

Laser energy

Target is pigment brown, blue and red

Target is water in the skin

May not be suitable for darker skin types

Suitable for all skin types

Can be used on face and body

Can be used on face and body

IPL and Fraxel treatments are not mutually exclusive. In fact, many people start with one therapy and then move to the other. They can also provide extra benefit when used together. Be sure to consult a qualified cosmetic physician before proceeding with treatment, and in the meantime, drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun!


Dr. Marcia Fleming -

Dr. Marcia Fleming is one of the most accomplished and respected physicians in the field of cosmetic rejuvenation and has been practicing in the Vancouver area for over nine years. Her goal is to help everyone achieve beautiful skin for life, beginning at any age. She can be reached at Delta Laser & Skin Care Centre, call 604-543-8965.


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