What is IPL?

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy, also known as IPL, or IPL Photofacial, uses broad spectrum light to treat various skin concerns such as wrinkles, sun damage, acne, dark spots, uneven skin texture, unwanted hair, etc. IPL penetrates down to the second layer of your skin (dermis) without harming the top layer (epidermis), so it causes less damage to your skin. Pigment cells in your skin absorb the light energy, which is converted into heat. The heat destroys the unwanted pigment to clear up freckles and other spots. Or, it destroys the hair follicle to prevent the hair from growing again.

How is IPL performed?

During the procedure, your therapist will first start by cleaning the area that is to be treated, followed by the application of a conductive gel, commonly referred to as ultrasound gel. Your therapist will then use a handheld device to deliver the pulsed light over the areas being treated. During the treatment you will be asked to wear protective eye goggles. Depending on the areas being treated, the procedure can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour.

Who is a good candidate for IPL?

You are a good candidate for IPL if you have fair to light brown skin, and are wanting to treat specific skin concerns that can be targeted using intense pulsed light. IPL is not recommended for those with dark skin, or those who are prone to keloids or hyperpigmentation.

Is IPL Painful?

While IPL can cause mild discomfort, it should not be painful. The pulses of light are commonly described as feeling like a rubber band snapping on their skin. If you find your treatment to be incredibly painful, please be sure to let your esthetician know, as the settings are likely too high for your particular treatment. (A topical numbing cream can be applied to those who have sensitive skin, or are worried about any discomfort, prior to your treatment- please let us know if you’d like to be numbed when scheduling your appointment, as this requires an additional 30 minutes to your appointment time.)

How many IPL treatments do I need? 

While everyone is different, most areas require 3 to 6 treatments for each targeted area for optimal results. Areas can be retargeted every 4-6 weeks.  

How will I look and feel after each IPL treatment?

After your IPL treatment, the treated area may look and feel like a slight sunburn. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. The area may be pink or red in appearance, but will dissipate within a few hours. You may also experience mild swelling at the treated area as well. If you notice any dark spots are beginning to darken even more, don’t be alarmed! This means the treatment is working, and over time they will begin to fade. 

What is required prior to IPL?

Prior to your IPL treatment, it is best to limit your sun exposure for at least 48 hours, and to avoid tanning, waxing, or getting any chemical peels for two weeks. You may also be asked to stop taking certain medications, or to stop using certain topical products such as retinol or hydroquinone. 

What care is required after IPL?

After your IPL treatment, you should care for the area the same way you would care for a sunburn. You should avoid direct sunlight, apply sunscreen, avoid having hot water on the area treated, avoid any vigorous exercise for 24 hours (to keep the skin from overheating), and try to not use any makeup for at least 12-24 hours. 

What are the possible side effects of IPL?

Possible side effects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Skin sensitivity at the treatment sites
  • Blistering
  • Pinpoint Bleeding
  • Pain or swelling at the treatment sites
  • Redness or irritation at the treatment sites
  • Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation
  • Non-immediate results as it is a gradual process

How do I get started with IPL?

If you’re interested in starting IPL treatments, we recommend sending an email to info@serenitybhc.com that includes:

  • First and last name
  • Phone number
  • Detailed description of the areas of concern
  • Photos of the areas you’d like treated
  • Description of your lifestyle and diet
  • Available dates/times for your first appointment

After a Licensed Master Esthetician is able to review your information, we will give you a call to schedule your appointment or request more information if needed.