IPL Laser Treatments & Their Effectiveness

What is an IPL Laser?

IPL Laser

IPL is similar to laser treatment, but the light is less concentrated. Where lasers use a single focused wavelength, IPL spreads out the light using several wavelengths. 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.

What kind of conditions can be treated by an IPL laser?

IPL is attracted only to red and brown pigment, but there are many conditions that it can help with. These include:

  • Common brown or red blemishes
  • Sunspots
  • Age spots
  • Vascular redness
  • Broken blood vessels
  • Rosacea
  • Cherry hemangioma (red “mole-like” discolorations)
  • Hormonal pigmentation
  • hair on your face, neck, back, chest, legs, underarms, or bikini line
  • sun damage
  • freckles
  • birthmarks
  • varicose veins

Is It Painful?

This depends on your pain threshold. Some describe it as mild discomfort or as if tiny rubber bands were flicking the skin. If that thought doesn’t seem fun, Dr. Vitaly Blatnoy can prescribe a topical numbing cream that is applied before treatment. After a treatment, there is often mild scabbing in some of the treated areas. Many patients say it feels a bit like a sunburn afterward. One of the benefits of IPL is that there’s very little to no downtime. You can typically go back to work or your daily routine the next day.

You should avoid:

  • direct sunlight
  • tanning beds
  • waxing
  • chemical peels
  • collagen injections
  • drugs that increase your bleeding risk, such as aspirin (Ecotrin) and ibuprofen (Advil)
  • creams or other products that contain vitamin A, such as RetinA, or glycolic acid

How to prepare

Before your IPL procedure, a dermatologist at the Orlando Dermatology Center will examine your skin and let you know what to expect. Let them know if you have any skin conditions that might affect healing after your treatment, such as inflammatory acne or eczema.

Your dermatologist may recommend that you avoid certain activities, medications, and other products for two weeks prior your procedure.