IPL, IPL facial or IPL photofacial… No matter what you call it, this non-invasive skin treatment has some serious benefits for your skin. Commonly thought of as an alternative to laser skin treatments, the IPL facial is an easy way to regenerate your skin and banish common issues like uneven skin tone. It can also help with wrinkles and improve your skin’s texture. 

Is the IPL facial for you? Let’s talk about the way it works and the benefits of using the IPL treatment.

IPL Photofacial Facts 

Intense pulsed light technologies like the IPL were introduced to the medical community around 30 years ago. While they have evolved over time, they are now considered a tried and true technology with many applications in medical and cosmetic procedures.

How do IPL Photofacials work? 

The IPL photofacial is a non-invasive skin treatment that utilizes broad-spectrum light. This light pulses and heats up the treatment area, which may remind you of a camera flashing. This is why the IPL treatment is called a “photofacial” because it is kind of like a photoshoot.

The broad-spectrum light penetrates your skin to get through the epidermis and into the underlying area, the dermis. This is where the IPL treatment does the magic, strategically heating the cells causing issues like fine lines or uneven pigment. While this damages the cells, it also forces them to heal and regenerate, producing healthier tissue with even tone and pigment. 

IPL functions on a principle called selective photothermolysis. This is a big word that simply refers to the ability of the type of energy used in IPL to confine its impact to desired areas. This is why IPL can be used to treat select epidermal and/or dermal tissues in a targeted way without damaging neighboring tissue.

What can IPL Photofacial help with? 

The IPL facial can greatly improve the appearance and texture of your skin. Because it causes skin cells to regenerate, the impact can be quite dramatic, especially for those with pigmentation issues. 

The IPL Photofacial can help you with the following skin concerns:

  • Dark brown and light brown spots
  • Hyperpigmentation (Too much pigment)
  • Redness (Rosacea)
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Telangiectasia (tiny veins)
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Does an IPL Photofacial treatment hurt? 

The IPL treatment uses intense pulses of light which create heat. This can create a sensation like a pinching or stinging in the treatment area. So there is some discomfort but typically a cooling gel is applied prior to treatment. This reduces the sensation and helps make the session more comfortable. 

How long does an IPL Photofacial treatment take and will I need downtime?

Typically your IPL treatment lasts an hour or less. This includes set up and treatment. As for downtime, this is really minimal. Your skin will be red afterwards and may appear swollen. This could last a few hours or a few days, depending on your skin and how aggressive the treatment was. However, you can resume normal activities on the same day with a couple exceptions. For example, you’ll want to avoid strenuous exercise and high heat situations for 48 to 72 hours afterwards. 

You’ll need to avoid sun exposure for around two weeks and be absolutely adamant about using sun protection. You may notice that darkened areas of your skin start to dry and flake, which is a normal, desired result. As this happens, your skin is creating new cells with improved tone and texture. So while this may be annoying, it’s a positive sign of the treatment working.

After your IPL treatment you do need to help yourself heal in order to get the best results. Your provider will give you exact aftercare guidelines to follow based on the treatment you received and the state of your skin.

The following are general guidelines on how to treat your skin post-IPL treatment: 

  •  Wear sunscreen and moisturizer. Ask your treatment provider for recommendations because there are some ingredients you may need to avoid.

  • Avoid strenuous exercises for 48 to 72 hours. If you are especially red or swollen, extend this until these issues have resolved.

  • Avoid exposure to high heat, like overly hot showers or hot tubs, for 48 to 72 hours unless your provider suggests a longer window for recovery. Warm showers are okay, but keep the heat in check.

  • Do not pick at, rub or exfoliate the area during the healing process. This will undermine your results and prolong the healing process.

  • You may need to avoid makeup for the first 48 hours. Talk with your provider to see what they recommend in your situation.

It’s also typically recommended that you avoid using products high in Vitamin A, like retinoic acid, glycolic acid, tretinoin, Accutane and alpha-hydroxy acid, after the treatment. It’s very important that you discuss and understand all pre-care and aftercare guidelines before your treatment. Walk your provider through your normal skincare routine and ask about washing, drying, moisturizing and using makeup. No question is too small!

IPL photofacial treatments take around 30 days to fully heal. One treatment may be sufficient, but if you have severe sun damage or discoloration, you may need multiple treatments to achieve your goal. In this instance you need to wait 30 or more days in between so that your skin has time to heal between procedures.

IPL facials are a fantastic tool for regenerating the skin. This safe and effective treatment forces your skin to create healthy new skin. It is an especially powerful tool for treating discoloration and sun damage. Unlike some options, the IPL is noninvasive and requires little downtime. This makes it a great option if you’re too busy to take time off. 

If you are curious about if the IPL facial could help with your skin concerns, we’re here to help. Send us your questions or give us a call 928-277-7414 to talk with our team.