What Is IPL PhotoFacial?
IPL (intense pulsed light) also known as PhotoFacial has been around for years. As with all good technology, it improves over time and so do the results. At WIFH, we use the Icon IPL device made by Palomar to eliminate those bothersome imperfections on your face and body.
IPL PhotoFacial utilizes pulses of light to gently deliver energy into the skin to target issues like pigmentation (sun damage), and redness (rosacea). In just a few treatments you will see visible results. It’s perfect for treating: face, neck, chest, arms, hands, back, shoulders and legs.
- Pigmentation due to sun damage or age spots (benign brown spots)
- Reduce redness (rosacea)
- Improve texture, tone and skin laxity
- Reduce pore size & Eliminate facial vessels
How Does IPL PhotoFacial Work?
IPL is intense pulsed light technology which uses multiple wavelengths of light with specialized filters to deliver just the right amount of energy to treat skin conditions like brown spots, sun-damage, redness or vascular lesions.
These benign pigmented areas absorb the energy, and the destruction process begins. Brown spots will darken in color and flake off over the next few days/week. We recommend having your annual skin check with your dermatologist before having IPL treatments to make sure everything is benign.
IPL can treat the redness caused by rosacea. It works by heating the epidermis, collagen, and blood vessels below the surface. The hemoglobin found in the blood absorbs the energy, heating it up. This results in the destruction of the vessels and capillaries. Over several weeks the vessels are reabsorbed by the body, and the facial redness diminishes.
What Are The Risks/Side Effects?
IPL treatments are only appropriate for those with light skin types. The reason for this is IPL is a broad spectrum light source (multiple wavelengths) that is attracted to pigment (brown spots), it does not have the ability to differentiate between benign lesions and melanin in the skin. For patients with darker skin types looking to address pigmentation issues we recommend VI Peels.
Even in light skin types IPL treatments carry the risk of pigmentation abnormalities; however, with the use of our skintel device which helps us to see color not seen by the naked eye, this is an unlikely risk.
It is imperative that you refrain from sun exposure prior to treatment. For this reason, many of our patients choose to have this procedure in the fall and winter months.
*This treatment is not safe during pregnancy.
Preparing For IPL PhotoFacial
You should discontinue using Accutane 6 months prior to any skin treatment and refrain from any sun exposure several weeks prior to your IPL treatment.
2 weeks prior to your treatment you shouldn’t wax or have a skin treatment like a chemical peel.
3-5 days before your photofacial it is advised to discontinue using exfoliating products, acids, tretinoin (Retin-A), retinols and bleaching creams/products.
The day of your treatment, if possible, it is always preferred that you come in for with a clean face (no make-up or skin care products applied).
If you typically exercise, we recommend you plan to do that before you come in for your IPL/Photofacial treatment as exercising following treatment is not recommended.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Before your treatment the area will be thoroughly cleansed removing any and all make-up, lotions and residual oil. You will be required to wear protective eyewear during treatment as the light flashes during treatment are super bright.
The IPL handpiece will be placed flush against the skin. The device will then pulse, there will be a flash of light and you will experience mild heat delivered to the skin.
The treatment is very tolerable, patients do not require numbing cream, everyone does really well, and the results are so worth it.
What you’re addressing will determine the number of treatments you may need. Sun damage typically requires 3 treatments and Rosacea typically requires 6 to 8 treatments. IPL can be used to treat most areas of the body like the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, shoulder, and legs.
IPL PhotoFacial Recovery & Aftercare
Immediately following your IPL PhotoFacial treatment, it will feel like you have a mild sunburn. This typically resolves within 2-24 hours. Redness and/or swelling are normal and usually resolves in 2-3 days. The treated pigmented areas will gradually darken over the next few days. They will crust and eventually flake off. This process can take up to 2 weeks.
- No sweating for 24 hours.
- Vessels may immediately appear grayish or blanched. These will fade within about 2 weeks.
- Keep your skin well hydrated.
- No make-up for 24 hours.
- Use only gentle cleansers for 3 days post treatment.
- Refrain from using any exfoliating or acid-based skin care products for at least 5-7 days.
- Use sunscreen, SPF 30 or greater, at all times throughout the course of treatment.
After 5-7 days you can resume your normal skincare regimen.
IPL PhotoFacial Consultations
Patient consultations are always complimentary at WIFH. We believe consultations are an important step in understanding your treatment options when considering treatments for your skin. Our consultations give us the opportunity to get to know you and to listen and understand exactly what you are looking to achieve with your skin.
At your consultation you will meet with one of our experienced medical aestheticians who will put together a treatment plan to include corrective treatments performed at WIFH along with product recommendations to be used at home for you to consider. It’s important to remember achieving good skin is a process and it’s not a one size fits all. Each patient’s plan is customized to achieve their unique goals. We want to partner with you and make your skin as healthy and radiant as it can be.
IPL PhotoFacial Before & After Photos
IPL PhotoFacial FAQs
IPL PhotoFacial is designed to treat browns and reds. Sun damage, age spots and freckles respond very well to IPL PhotoFacial treatments. It is always recommended to be seen by a dermatologist to have your sun damage, age spots and freckles assessed to be sure they are benign. IPL PhotoFacial can also treat rosacea and facial vessels. Regardless of whether you are treating browns or reds a series of treatments will be necessary to achieve the best results.
During the treatment you will feel warmth and with each pulse you will snap on the skin, similar to that of a rubber band. This procedure is well tolerated and does not require any numbing.
Depending on the area of the body being treated with IPL PhotoFacial, treatments can take 45 minutes or more.
While there are no studies showing adverse effects during pregnancy, we choose not to perform IPL during pregnancy.
It permanently removes the treated pigment, however if you have continued sun exposure new sun damage is likely to form. Once you complete a series of treatments it is recommended that you return 1-2 times per year to maintain results. If you are using IPL for Rosacea the same will apply to keep your symptoms at bay.
For best results we recommend a series of IPL/Photofacial treatments. Depending on whether you are addressing sun damage or redness will determine the number of treatments you may need. Sun damage typically requires 3 treatments and Rosacea typically requires 6 to 8 treatments.
IPL can be used to treat most areas of the body. Some of the most popular areas are face, neck, chest, hands, arms, shoulder, and legs. Depending on the area being treated, treatments should take approximately 45 minutes. Larger areas can take more than one hour to treat.
It is recommended that you return every 4 weeks for treatment. Once you have completed your series you may want to come in for 1-2 treatments a year to maintain results. You’ll be amazed at the difference this treatment makes to your skin.
IPL/Photofacial treatments are well tolerated by patients. We wouldn’t describe it as a relaxing treatment, but we also wouldn’t describe it as painful. While the sensation can vary from patient to patient, the vast majority describe the sensation like a rubber band snapping the skin accompanied by mild heat. The sensation is quick and does not linger once the handpiece delivers the pulse. With each pulse comes a flash of light, which even with the protective eye coverings can be seen. Your treating provider will check in with you to ensure you are comfortable throughout your treatment. As stated, this treatment is very tolerable, patients do not require numbing cream, everyone does really well, and the results are so worth it.