Optimized Pulsed Light is similar to Intense Pulsed Light in that flashes of light onto the skin are absorbed by pigment such as melanin (in sun spots and melasma) as well as hemoglobin (in visible superficial blood vessels and rosacea), thereby effectively clearing those issues and creating a smoother, more glowing facial appearance. The difference between intense and optimized pulsed light is that the ICON has filters at both ends of the light spectrum which allow the beneficial rays to pass through for effective treatment, but block the rays which are more likely to lead to side effects such as minor burns or post-treatment hyperpigmentation as often seen following treatment with the older model IPLs.
OPL treatment is effective and only associated with minimal discomfort. A mild hot snapping sensation is felt over the darkest spots and largest vessels, but overall, the treatment is extremely tolerable.
There is no significant social downtime associated with OPL treatment. Some patients experience minor redness which clears quickly. When brown spots are treated, the spots become darker first, then within approximately a week, the spots flake off or are reabsorbed by the skin.
Several sessions are generally performed, with the first session removing the darkest spots and largest vessels, and in subsequent sessions, the energy can be increased to target the medium ones, and then finally the faintest ones. By proceeding with progressively higher energies, the best possible clearance can be achieved with the lowest possible risk.