My ‘Hole in a Stick’ technique…

Using IPLs on vascular and pigmented lesions can be very successful when the correct parameters are used. My theoretical research clearly shows that longer pulses are ‘better’ than shorter ones, when dealing with small and large targets.

In order to test this I submitted my lovely wife to a series of treatments on her angiomas and superficial pigmented marks, on her chest. I wanted to use long pulsewidths to see how they affected those lesions.


However, I did not want to subject the surrounding skin to excessive energies. So, I took a standard wooden spatula and cut a hole in it with a screwdriver. The hole is around 3 to 4 mm in diameter.

The idea behind this is that the fluence (energy density) across the whole face of the IPL handpiece tip is the same at every point. Hence, the fluence propagating through the small hole is still the same fluence as would enter the skin, if the stick was not in the way.

By lining the handpiece tip along the stick, most of the fluence is absorbed within the wood and not the skin – thereby irradiating ONLY the target tissue.


On the device I selected a high fluence – 40 J/cm2 which was contained within five sub-pulses, resulting in an overall pulse width of 95 milliseconds. This may appear to be excessive but I wanted to see the effects of such a long pulse on these lesion types.

The first treatment was carried out on the 28th May 2019. My volunteer reported a ‘slightly nippy’ sensation and her skin responded with some mild erythema.

Chest_before_16May   Chest_after_22July

Before treatment – 28th May           Final result – 22nd July

The two largest angiomas were treated twice (the second treatment was on 23rd June) – all the other vascular and pigmented marks were treated only once.

The photo showing the final result was taken 8 weeks after the original (before) photo. As you can see, the spots have virtually disappeared leaving the skin with a very nice texture. I can report that my wife is very pleased with this result!

I then treated her stomach and upper back which had a few vascular/pigmented spots. These were treated on 30th June and I will post these results soon.



It is clear that the stick was heated during the process. This is what I had expected to see.

However, this ‘masking’ effect saves the skin from unwanted exposure to the IPL energy, thereby minimizing both painful sensations and any potential skin damage.


It’s still in the early stages, but I am confident this ‘hole in a stick’ technique will prove very useful for such small lesions. In addition, these wooden spatulas are very inexpensive and environmentally friendly (they grow on trees, apparently!!)

Watch this space for more soon….







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