What to expect from IPL – Intense Pulsed Light Treatment?

Woman Getting IPL

Intense Pulsed Light treatment, better known as IPL, is a popular non-surgical cosmetic skin treatment that can be used to address a range of different skin issues, from the signs of aging, acne scars, and much more. Many people have heard of IPL, but if you’ve never looked into it before, here’s what you should know about what to expect from IPL treatment.

What conditions can IPL treatment be used to treat?

IPL is a very versatile treatment and can be successfully used to treat a variety of different skin problems. These include:

  • Acne and acne scarring

  • Birthmarks

  • Stretch marks

  • Liver/age spots

  • Broken blood vessels

  • Dark patches caused by hormonal changes

  • Discolored skin

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

  • Excessive freckling

  • Redness from rosacea

  • Scars

  • Spider veins

  • Unwanted hair

Before you can get an IPL treatment, you’ll need to have a consultation appointment with our team at Green Dermatology & Cosmetic Center to establish what issues you are hoping to address and whether you are a suitable candidate for the treatment. This is important because certain factors may prohibit you from getting IPL, such as sensitivity to light or having severe scarring.


How does IPL treatment work and does it hurt?

IPL is often compared to laser therapy since it works similarly. However, while laser therapy delivers just a single wavelength of light energy, IPL delivers multiple wavelengths. What this means is that it can be used to treat a larger area in less time than it would take for conventional laser therapy.

IPL works by accurately targeting a certain color within your skin. As the light energy targets the cells of this color, it heats them and over time, they start to break down. Once they are sufficiently damaged, the body is then able to metabolize the damaged cells and pass them out of your body using the usual methods of elimination.

Each treatment session is usually fairly short and can normally be completed in a lunch break. You’ll be given dark glasses to wear to protect your eyes. Then, the laser energy is applied to your skin using a small, handheld device that is used over the area of your face or body that you are targeting. IPL is non-invasive, but some patients report slight discomfort during the procedure, which they describe as similar to a rubber band snapping sensation. To counteract this discomfort, you may be offered a local anesthetic which will numb the skin ahead of the treatment.


What to expect after IPL treatment?

It’s normal for your skin to feel a little sore in the hours after your IPL session, with many patients comparing the sensation to mild sunburn. You can place a cool washcloth over the area to help soothe your skin. You may also find that it looks a little red and swollen. Our team at Green Dermatology & Cosmetic Center will give you specific aftercare instructions to follow, which will ensure your skin is properly protected while it heals. This will include things like wearing sunscreen, avoiding wearing cosmetics if your skin feels sore, and staying hydrated.


How many sessions of IPL treatment will I need?

Every patient is unique and may respond slightly differently to IPL treatment. Dr. Green will create a personalized treatment plan for you, but we may revisit this partway into your treatment, depending on how you react to the treatment. IPL tends to work best on pale or light skin colors. This is because it is easier for the laser to differentiate the targeted area from normal, healthy skin.


For more information about what to expect from IPL, or to schedule a consultation to see if you would be a good candidate for this treatment, please contact our friendly and knowledgeable team at Green Dermatology & Cosmetic Center by calling 954-947-4500 today.



Back to all blog