IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light therapy, which delivers short bursts of high-intensity light below the skin’s surface, targeting acne, improving the appearance of rosacea, redness, broken capillaries, sun damaged skin, uneven pigmentation, dull complexions, age spots, and skin texture, as well as effectively rejuvenating skin.
When the pulse of light is delivered, some clients experience a slight pinching or stinging sensation, often likened to the snap of a elastic band. For certain conditions, we will apply a topical numbing cream before your treatment, so as to minimize discomfort. For other conditions, the cooling head on the IPL if sufficient to make the treatment comfortable. Either way, your comfort is our priority.
Immediately following the treatment, the area may appear a bit red and swollen, and feel a bit sun or wind-burnt. Following the treatment, patients can immediately return to their normal activities. Because some redness may occur, sunscreen should be applied to any treated areas exposed to the sun, as well as kept out of direct sun as much as possible for a minimum of 2 weeks. It is also good to recognize that any brown spots or age spots will appear somewhat darker for a few days before flaking off. This is perfectly normal and expected, and a good sign that the IPL is doing exactly what it's supposed to!
The ideal number of treatments will depend on your skin and the issues you wish to address. Most patients will need between 2 and 5 treatments to achieve their desired goal.
Although patients experience few side effects, those most commonly noticed are slight reddening and local swelling of the skin, similar to sunburn, along with darkening of treated dark spots and age spots prior to their flaking off. Any discomfort following treatment typically lasts only a matter of hours, or for very specific conditions a few days. In rare instances, blistering may occur. Avoid hot baths, hot tubs and saunas for 24 hours. Aloe Vera or cortisone cream may be applied if needed.
It is important to stay out of the sun both before and after treatment, so much so that we often recommend waiting until fall for those who are in the sun for much of the summer. Those who have recently been tanning are not candidates for this treatment. We always recommend using a broad spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or more. Please discontinue the use of antibiotics, Hydroquinone, Retin-A or bleaching cream, at least 7-10 days prior to treatment. These medications and products will cause an increased sensitivity to light energy. And we will discuss all of this during your consulation, but those who have a history of melanoma or have active skin infections are not candidates for IPL.
Absolutely not! We have seen some amazing results on hands, necks, and chests, as well. They often see just as much sun as the face, so they need some care, too!