IPL Treatment

IPL treatment, also known as intense pulsed light therapy, flashlamp therapy, or photofacial, is a form of skin treatment that uses multiple wavelengths of light energy to improve the color and the texture of the skin, reducing the signs of photoaging caused by sun damage, among other things. It can be used to treat a large variety of skin conditions, including spider veins, acne, birthmarks, stretch marks, liver or age spots, broken blood vessels, discoloration, fine wrinkles, redness, freckles, scars, and unwanted hair. The treatment works by targeting a specific unwanted cell, heating it, and thereby killing it, neutralizing the unwanted factors.

Yes Doctor’s Plastic Surgery Procedure IPL Treatment

What is an IPL Treatment Procedure?

IPL treatment, commonly known as flash lamp therapy, a photofacial, or intense pulsed light therapy, is performed using an IPL machine, which removes certain types of unwanted abnormalities beneath the upper layers of the skin. Treatment generally takes 20-30 minutes, depending upon the size of the target site. Patients are given an eye shield to wear while a handheld device is passed over the skin, emitting different wavelengths of intense pulsed light. The light heats the specified area, often causing it to flake off or break down. The treatment works on a variety of conditions, such as lesions, pigmentations, unwanted hair, and vascular issues. When applied to pigmentations such as freckles, age spots, and pigmented birthmarks, it will target the melanin in the skin's surface, heat it and destroy it, removing the discoloration. When applied to unwanted hair, it will attack the follicle, cause the hair to fall out, and make it impossible for the hair to grow back. When treating vascular issues such as vascular birthmarks, thread veins, and spider veins, the light will heat the blood supply within the vessel, causing the blood to thicken inside of it and hinder circulation. The veins collapse, and the body absorbs them.

IPL is similar to laser systems in that it uses heat to target specific issues within the dermal layers. But unlike lasers, it makes use of various wavelengths of pulsing or flashing light, meaning that it can target multiple issues at once. Also, the majority of IPL systems use some type of filtration that narrows the wavelength in order to target a specific type of abnormality inside the skin without affecting the surrounding area. It is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique. Unlike certain types of ablative surfacing, it does not attack the upper layers of skin, known as the epidermis. Instead, it pushes through, applying heat directly to the bottom layers, known as the dermis. This means that the process isn't as drastic, and patients do sometimes need multiple treatments to see the results they are trying to achieve. Skin conditions may require 3 to 6 treatments to be removed. Hair removal often requires 6 to 12. Still, IPL treatment is preferred to other more dramatic treatment options, such as microdermabrasion and harsh chemical peels, which may damage the skin. Sometimes subtle is better, especially when considering the amount of recovery time. Patients who receive IPL treatment can often attend a session on their lunch break, then go back to work right away. 

Types of IPL Treatment

  • Which IPL Treatment Procedure is Right for You?

    There are countless IPL machines out there, touting the benefits of updated technology and innovation with new features and big promises. It's impossible to keep track of them all, and they all seem to vary, offering different head sizes, different concentrations of light, and different wavelengths. Even providers have a hard time deciding which one to purchase. Some can even be used inside the home. But they all tend to use the same baseline technology with a few different modifications, and it can take years to learn how to use that technology to achieve the desired results. Professionals pick up tricks on how to apply the light and which wavelength to use for particular skin tones and abnormalities. It doesn't matter how nice the machine is or how much it costs. It's about who is using it, how skilled they are, and their level of experience. That being said, there are different types of technology to take into consideration. Some are better at tackling certain issues than others. They have different effects, and of course, they all have their pros and cons. Patients should talk to their providers to decide which device is best for them, and they should also shop around at different clinics. Many providers only make use of one type of machine. Here's a list of a couple of different features patients can choose from:

  • Elight

    Elight machines make use of the standard, variable filter technology found in basic IPL machines. They can attack most types of abnormalities that IPL can treat, from freckles to lesions and spider veins, and they are effective in doing so. But unlike your standard IPL machine, Elight comes equipped with an electromagnetic radio frequency device that emits heat, which can help to stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin. This has a lifting effect that can be great for patients with loose skin. It's particularly effective for dealing with stretch marks, sagging from weight loss, as well as wrinkles and lines caused by aging and gravity.

  • SHR

    SHR stands for super hair removal. SHR devices are specialized IPL machines built to remove hair quickly and effectively. Unlike many IPL machines, which use a variable filter that can be set to different wavelengths, SHR machines come with a static 640 nm filter. This particular wavelength is perfect for the precision targeting of hair follicles. It does not attack lesions, veins, or other types of skin cells. It will not remove pigmentation or scars. It ignores everything else, but it does tend to get better results than other IPL machines. Keep in mind, IPL is only suitable for darker-colored hairs, not small light ones.

Why IPL Treatment Procedure?

IPL is safe, and it is effective at reducing the signs of photoaging. It is also known in the medical field for its ability to treat vascular disorders, certain types of acne, rosacea, and various disorders found in the eyes. It is a tried and true method, to be certain. While it does come with various risks and potential side effects it is often preferred over alternatives, such as various types of laser and chemical treatments, which are known to damage the surrounding tissue and have a higher risk of burning the skin. This is because the type of pulsing light used by IPL machines is capable of passing through the upper layers of the epidermis and working in the deeper layers where the real issues reside. This means that it's less damaging. There's less of a chance of redness and peeling. Side effects are rare and they're almost never serious. They can mostly be avoided by working with a trained, experienced professional. IPL can also treat larger areas of the skin than lasers. Patients with big lesions and scars tend to prefer it. The treatment is also gentler, which means that it requires less downtime. Here are a few of the benefits of IPL treatment below:

  • Quick
  • Effective
  • Rejuvenating
  • Safe
  • Less side-effects

What are Concerns for IPL Treatment Procedure?

IPL treatment is immensely popular, largely due to the fact that it works without requiring the use of scalpels, anesthetic, or any type of injections. It can be performed externally, using nothing more than light. That significantly cuts down on the risks of undergoing treatment. But light poses its own series of risks, and damage is still possible. For that reason, the treatment should only be administered by someone who is experienced and skilled in performing it. In the wrong hands, it can be dangerous. It can cause botched results, or patients might not see results at all. It's not for everyone. Some patients may find that the treatment will be detrimental, if not to their health than to their appearance. The decision to undergo treatment is a serious one. It should be discussed thoroughly with the provider and patient, and patients should take the time to research on their own. They may find that some types of IPL treatment are better for them than others, and more often than not, clinics only carry one type of machine. Patients should approach this process with caution, interview multiple providers, and carefully interview providers with the understanding that profits are a motivation for many. They should also take the following list of considerations into account.

  • Side-effects

    Side effects of IPL treatment are rare, but they can occur. They are usually minor and temporary. The most common are pain and reddening. This may last for a few days. Sometimes certain pigmentations darken or appear unnaturally light. More often than not, this is temporary, but that is not always the case. Patients may also experience blistering, burning, bleeding, infection, scarring, keloid formation, edema, hematoma, and crustiness, though these side effects rarely occur. Patients should seek immediate medical assistance if they see signs of pus and pain beyond the skin that spreads rapidly. These could be signs of an infection, and they must be treated right away.
  • Before Receiving Treatment

    Patients will receive a list of instructions from their provider before receiving IPL treatment. They should be followed closely in order to avoid any chance of side effects or complications. In the weeks leading up to the procedure, wear sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher to avoid any further sun damage. Avoid smoking or any nicotine products for six weeks. Patients should ask their provider about any medications they may be taking, especially those that cause excess bleeding. They may be asked to discontinue antibiotics. They should drink water before receiving treatment, and they should avoid any skin retinoid creams that may cause sensitivity.
  • After Receiving Treatment

    After receiving IPL treatment, patients will receive a list of instructions from their provider. They should be followed closely to maximize results and avoid any potential side effects and complications. Patients may feel a little raw, almost like they've been sunburned. This should subside within a few hours. Applying ice or a cool washcloth may help. Avoid exfoliation, hot baths, or hot showers. Use a facial moisturizer and be sure to apply sunscreen with 30 SPF, preferably with a blocker like zinc as well. SPF protection is key to achieving the best results from treatment. When washing the face, only use cleansers for sensitive skin.

Steps to getting your procedure


Step 1


Step 2

Matching with a doctor

Step 3

Getting financing

Step 4

Booking a consultation

Why Yes Doctor for IPL Treatment

It's easy to get lost in the maze of search results and provider's websites, each promising the perfect skin tone and the latest in innovation. Patients need a trustworthy source that can guide them through the process of finding the right treatment and the right person to administer it. This is especially the case with IPL, which has to be performed properly by someone who knows what they're doing. Yes Doctor was created to be a user-friendly no-nonsense network with everything patients need to make the right decision, and with our easy financing options, we make cosmetic treatment accessible to everyone. Many patients already qualify for 0% APR.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes it can be frustrating for patients when they receive their first IPL treatment, go through the healing process, follow all of the instructions, and find that there are no results. This is perfectly normal. IPL is subtler than other forms of treatment, which means that multiple sessions are usually required. Patients typically need 4 to 6 treatments to achieve the desired results. Each of those treatments will be spaced out about 3 to 6 weeks. This will vary depending on the target site and the type of solution patients are looking for. Providers will sit down with each patient and help them come up with an individualized plan that fits them best.
Patients should be aware that IPL does cause a certain amount of pain and discomfort both during and after the procedure. Many describe it as similar to having a bandaid snap against the face. Others say it is like being burned slightly. The light does attack cells within the body, so patients will walk away feeling like their skin is raw. This feeling could last for several hours or it could last for several days depending upon how patients react to the treatment. Overall the experience varies based on a patient's pain tolerance, the target site for treatment, and the wavelength that is used. Luckily, the pain isn't enough to keep patients from returning to work the same day.
IPL is not for everyone or every condition. There may be alternatives that are safer and more effective. Individuals who show signs of photoaging are often good candidates, but IPL works best on light skin tones. Those with dark skin may not show results at all. The same can be said for patients with a dark tan. IPL is not for people with deep wrinkles, scars, or serious acne. Patients who are pregnant, taking medications to alleviate skin conditions, or have a skin condition should ask a provider before seeking treatment. Patients who have skin cancer, are sensitive to light, use a retinoid cream, or have a skin resurfacing disorder should not receive IPL.
IPL treatments can have a permanent effect. It removes specific types of skin cells and pigmentation, but sometimes they can grow back. The sun and other elements could reverse the effects of treatment. It's important to stay out of the sunlight to avoid exasperating photoaging. Patients should also try to protect themselves with moisturizer and sunblock. IPL can remove spider veins and other vascular issues, but sometimes they can reappear. An old vein may be replaced by a new one. It depends on the patient and their specific biology. Some patients find that they need a touchup after a year or so. Others find that the results of IPL are permanent.

Doctors that perform IPL Treatment procedures