Intense pulsed light, commonly abbreviated as IPL, is a technology used by beauty studios and medical practitioners to perform various skin treatments including hair removal and photorejuvenation. The technology utilises specific wavelengths of light to target various chromophores in the skin.
Intense pulsed light describes the use of intense pulses of non-coherent light distributed over a range of wavelengths from 500 nm to 1200 nm, for removal of hair and other purposes. A related but distinct technique is laser hair removal; the primary difference is that laser treatment uses laser-generated coherent and monochromatic light.
The two techniques are often confused. One cause of confusion is the range of names used for intense pulsed light treatments, as intense pulsed light is a registered trademark, which was strongly policed during the early days of the technology, hence the introduction of new names and trademarks for similar or identical treatments.
A distinction is sometimes made between beauty-grade and medical-grade machines. This distinction is mainly to get around regulations. Under the CE system no such distinction exists, it is all seen as medical devices.