Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Evidence Basedcheckmark3d try-onchevron-right

IPL, or intense pulsed light, often referred to as a photofacial, is a skin rejuvenation treatment that minimizes sun spots, freckles, redness, and other signs of uneven skin tone and texture.

Intense Pulsed Light Overview - 1084

Try on Intense Pulsed Light Solutions

‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

App QR Code

The Skinny


Average Recovery

1 weeks

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Laser/Light Therapy

Surgical

No

Cost

$500 - $2100

Before & After Images by Provider

Intense Pulsed Light Before, Female 70 - 1704Intense Pulsed Light After, Female 70 - 1704
profile picture
Intense Pulsed Light Before, Female 32 - 923Intense Pulsed Light After, Female 32 - 923
profile picture
Intense Pulsed Light Before, Male 35 - 843Intense Pulsed Light After, Male 35 - 843
profile picture

The Specifics


What is intense pulsed light (IPL)?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy (a.k.a. photofacial) is a less invasive alternative to laser skin resurfacing. IPL therapy bypasses the epidermis (top skin layer) to target the second skin layer (i.e. dermis) for improvements to skin pigmentation, skin texture, and overall complexion. IPL causes less damage to the surface skin so there is minimal peeling, scabbing, and flaking. IPL requires a series of treatments over months for results.

IPL is especially effective for abnormal pigmentation and skin tone (like freckles, sun damage, brown spots, discolorations, and certain birthmarks), and can also be used for rosacea, vascular lesions, and visible blood vessels (think: broken capillaries or spider veins).

What cosmetic concerns does an intense pulsed light procedure treat?

  1. Fine Lines & Wrinkles: Targeted alterations to the second skin layer reduces signs of early aging.
  2. Uneven Skin Tone: Hyperpigmented cells are recycled and new cells exposed to create a more uniform complexion.
  3. Uneven Skin Texture: Collections of damaged cells are dissolved for a more uniform skin texture.
  4. Rosacea: Damaged skin cells and capillaries are broken down via IPL.
  5. Melasma: Hyperpigmented cells are broken down to allow new cells to replace them.
  6. Acne Scars: Deeper scar tissues can be damaged through IPL.

Who is the ideal candidate for an intense pulsed light procedure?

The ideal candidate for an intense pulsed light procedure has minor skin imperfections (like dark spots), uneven or blotchy skin, or certain chronic skin conditions like rosacea. IPL is not recommended for pregnant women, those who have used Accutane in the past six months, or those with darker skin tones due to the risk of hypopigmentation.

What is the average recovery associated with an intense pulsed light procedure?

There is minimal downtime following an intense pulsed light procedure. Most patients resume normal activities immediately following the treatment with limitations only on strenuous physical activity. Redness and swelling usually resolve within a few days to two weeks. Patients are advised to avoid sun exposure.

What are the potential side effects of an intense pulsed light procedure?

Potential side effects following an IPL treatment include blistering, changes in skin pigmentation, redness, and bruising. Most of the more common side effects resolve within two weeks.

What can someone expect from the results of an intense pulsed light procedure?

The results of an intense pulsed light procedure will evolve over a series of initial treatments. After three to five sessions (usually once a month), patients can expect a rejuvenated and refreshed skin aesthetic. Maintenance treatments are generally needed every six months, and minimizing sun exposure can help to enhance the results.

What is the average cost of an intense pulsed light procedure?

An IPL procedure can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,100. The actual cost of an intense pulsed light procedure is dependent upon location, provider, and length and involvement of the cosmetic procedure. Learn more in our complete guide to the cost of IPL.

thumbs-upPros

  • Noninvasive
  • No Downtime
  • Quick Treatment

thumbs-downCons

  • Multiple Treatments
  • Requires Upkeep Sessions
  • Gradual Results

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


IPL, or intense pulsed light, is a skin rejuvenation treatment that minimizes sun spots, freckles, redness, and other signs of uneven skin tone. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after treatment with IPL.

The Takeaway


Intense pulsed light (IPL), aka a photofacial, is a minimally invasive skin rejuvenation procedure to correct sun damage, common skin conditions and lesions, and even the complexion. Unlike laser skin resurfacing, IPL does not cause skin flaking and peeling.

Is this article helpful?

To learn more about our content creation practices, visit our Editorial Process page.

Source List

+

AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Many Ways to Firm Sagging Skin
  2. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery Skin Tightening americanboardofcosmeticsurgery.org
text-me-the-app

‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

App QR Code