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What Is IPL Treatment?

What Is IPL Treatment?

  • Nathalie Guerrero

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, aka photofacial, is a way to improve the color and texture of your skin without surgery. It can undo some of the visible damage caused by sun exposure -- called photoaging. You may notice it mostly on your face, neck, hands, or chest.

IPL may help if you have red, brown, or splotchy skin because of a health condition.

How IPL Treatment Works

IPL uses light energy to target a certain color in your skin.

When the skin is heated, your body gets rid of the unwanted cells, and that gets rid of the thing you’re being treated for. Unlike lasers, an IPL device sends out more than one wavelength of pulsating light. It can treat a range of skin conditions at the same time.

After IPL, you may look younger because your skin tone is more even. And since the light doesn’t hurt other tissue, you can get better quickly.

A board-certified dermatologist should give it. (You might see the letters FAAD -- fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology -- after their name.) In some cases, a nurse or physician assistant might be able to do it. Either way, find someone who’s skilled with IPL.

Who Should Get IPL Treatment?

It works best if you have pale or light brown skin. Talk to your dermatologist if you want to lessen or get rid of:

  •  Acne
  •  Birthmarks
  •  Stretch marks
  • Liver or age spots
  • Broken blood vessels
  • Brown spots, also called liver or age spots
  • Dark spots from hormonal changes
  • Discolored skin
  • Fine wrinkles
  •  Freckles
  • Redness from rosacea
  • Scars
  •  Spider veins
  • Unwanted hair

 

Who Shouldn’t Get IPL Treatment?

Talk to your doctor first if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have a skin condition
  • Take medication for other conditions

IPL isn’t a good idea if you:

  • Are sensitive to light
  • Have recently tanned your skin using sunlight, tanning beds, or tanning creams
  • Might have skin cancer
  • Use a retinoid cream
  • Are very dark-skinned
  • Have a skin resurfacing disorder
  • Have severe scarring
  • Have keloid scar tissue

On the day of your appointment, avoid using perfume, makeup, and scented products that can irritate your skin.