How Much Does Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Cost?

A laser to resurface your skin or remove unwanted hair? Intense pulsed light therapy can treat numerous cosmetic concerns. What is the cost? We’ve got the details.

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The Skinny


What is the average cost of intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average cost of an intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment was $406 in 2019. This is a general cost estimate based on the price of a single IPL session, the fee of the provider performing the session, and the geographic location of the facility.

AEIDT Average Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Procedure Cost Range Chart

  • Average Cost of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): $406
  • Price Range for Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): $400 - $2,500

For candidates considering IPL, the total cost of the cosmetic procedure will ultimately be dependent on a myriad of factors outlined in the table below:

Factors to Consider in the Total Cost of an Intense Pulsed Light Procedure

FactorExplanation
Type of ProviderHair Removal vs. Skin Resurfacing
ProviderTraining, experience, board certified dermatology vs. plastic surgery provider
Consultation FeesMay or may not count towards the final cost of the procedure
Cost per SessionDependent on provider and location
LocationFacility fees vary by region and are typically higher for larger facilities
Result MaintenanceTiming and regularity of follow up treatments

The Specifics


What does IPL treat?

Ok, quick refresher on what intense pulse light therapy actually does. IPL can be used for skin resurfacing and hair removal. Both IPL for skin and for hair require multiple treatments for optimal results and the results are temporary necessitating regular maintenance.

IPL for skin resurfacing (a.k.a. photofacial or photorejuvenation) is used as a minimally invasive alternative to laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels. IPL wavelengths bypass the epidermis and penetrate directly into the dermis to remove damaged skin cells and promote new growth and collagen with minimal side effects or downtime. IPL can be used to treat rosacea, sun damage, age spots, fine lines, blood vessels like broken capillaries or spider veins, hyperpigmentation, brown spots, and dark spots. IPL for unwanted hair targets melanin cells to damage hair follicles with light energy and slow hair growth. IPL is best for those with dark hair and light skin.

Friendly reminder that following any intense pulsed light therapy session, good skincare and a broad spectrum sunscreen at the treated area will lessen the risk of uneven skin tone and pigmentation and also enhance the results.

What affects the cost of IPL include?

The cost of an IPL session will be impacted by numerous factors, including, the actual cost of the IPL session, the time of the provider, the body area being treated, the desired results, your geographic location, and any supplies used during the procedure.

It is important to remember that IPL for skin and hair is a temporary procedure. The final results may come after one or numerous sessions, and all results require regular maintenance. For example, if your underarm hair removal procedure costs $600 and requires four initial treatments, your initial outlay will be $2,400. Maintenance costs will then need to be considered as well.

The table below offers an average range of single-session costs specific to each IPL type.

Average IPL Therapy Cost by Treatment Type

TypeCost
IPL for Skin Resurfacing$500 to $2,100
IPL for Unwanted Hair$500 to $2,100

It is common practice for facilities and providers to have discounts and incentive programs for regular IPL candidates. Researching these incentives, financing options, and programs in your area can help to reduce costs.

What does the cost of IPL include?

We’ve covered the basics of what an IPL session entails, and now you may be curious what the price of an IPL session actually includes? We’ve got answers. The cost of the time the dermatologist or cosmetic provider spends performing the IPL procedure is usually what gets reported as the ‘average cost’ or ‘surgeon’s fee’ (yes, we do know IPL isn’t a surgical procedure). The following is not entirely accurate, but it’s basically the hourly rate of your provider. Remember, they have business expenses like rent, payroll, professional insurance, and office/medical supplies.

The price of the IPL procedure may increase as possible additional factors are added. Any other medical staff in the room during your session (nurses or assistants), the tools and supplies used during your IPL (the device, gauze, gloves, etc.), and any fees for using the facility’s procedure room.

It’s worth repeating: IPL is a temporary treatment. Multiple initial sessions may be needed and regular maintenance will also be needed for results upkeep.

How much does IPL cost?

When it comes to IPL, the cost variations come mostly from what body area is being treated. There may also be price differences based on skin type or hair type, severity of your concern, and your response to treatment. We’ve outlined below some general estimates of how many sessions you may need at a treatment area, but remember there is significant variation between candidates.

Average Number of IPL Sessions by Treatment Area

TypeCost
IPL Photofacial4 to 6 treatments
IPL for Unwanted Hair3 to 6 treatments

How much does IPL cost across the United States?

It’s all about location! Location is a major consideration in the overall cost of any cosmetic procedure. As stated above, the 2019 ASPS Report shows 77 percent of all IPL treatments occurred on the coasts. More procedures creates higher costs.

The data from the table reflects a generalized estimate for all skin resurfacing procedures — including dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy.

AEDIT Average Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Procedure Costs By State Chart

The table below breaks down IPL per session costs by state. The numbers in this table are from zip codes selected from the capital of each listed state.

Average IPL Therapy Cost by State

StateAverage Cost
Alabama$1,685-$3,295
Alaska$1,715-$4,785
Arizona$1,300-$2,570
Arkansas$1,575-$3,275
California$1,715-$4,785
Colorado$1,300-$2,570
Connecticut$1,980-$3,170
Delaware$1,980-$3,170
Florida$1,685-$3,295
Georgia$1,685-$3,295
Hawaii$1,715-$4,785
Idaho$1,300-$2,570
Illinois$1,575-$3,275
Indiana$1,980-$3,170
Iowa$1,575-$3,275
Kansas*$1,650-$3,420
Kentucky$1,980-$3,170
Louisiana$1,575-$3,275
Maine$1,980-$3,170
Maryland$1,980-$3,170
Massachusetts$1,980-$3,170
Michigan$1,980-$3,170
Minnesota$1,575-$3,275
Mississippi$1,685-$3,295
Missouri$1,575-$3,275
Montana*$1,650-$3,420
Nebraska$1,575-$3,275
Nevada$1,715-$4,785
New Hampshire$1,980-$3,170
New Jersey$1,980-$3,170
New Mexico$1,300-$2,570
New York$1,980-$3,170
North Carolina$1,685-$3,295
North Dakota$1,575-$3,275
Ohio$1,980-$3,170
Oklahoma$1,575-$3,275
Oregon$1,715-$4,785
Pennsylvania$1,980-$3,170
Rhode Island$1,980-$3,170
South Carolina*$1,650-$3,420
South Dakota$1,575-$3,275
Tennessee$1,685-$3,295
Texas$1,300-$2,570
Utah$1,300-$2,570
Vermont$1,980-$3,170
Virginia$1,980-$3,170
Washington$1,715-$4,785
Washington DC$1,980-$3,170
West Virginia$1,980-$3,170
Wisconsin$1,575-$3,275
Wyoming$1,300-$2,570

*these states are presented as national averages as specific information is not available

How much does IPL cost around the world?

For those considering pursuing a IPL abroad, the following table compares average per session cost ranges in a few countries. Before you get too excited about the price difference, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses and consider the reputation of the provider and facility when comparing prices. The table below reflects per session costs converted to U.S. dollars.

Average IPL Session Cost by Country in USD

CountryAverage Cost
Canada$250 to $1,800
Mexico$100 to $1,250
Colombia$75 to $1,000
United Kingdom$175 to $2,000
Australia$175 to $1,800
Japan$150 to $1,500
United Arab Emirates$175 to $2,000

Does insurance cover the cost of IPL?

Are you wondering if insurance will cover your IPL session? The answer is probably not, but let’s educate ourselves for a minute. These definitions from the American Medical Association (AMA) are helpful:

  • Cosmetic Surgery: Procedures for reshaping normal structures for improved appearance and self-esteem.
  • Reconstructive Surgery: Procedures performed on abnormal body structures resulting from congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, disease, infection, or tumors.

To summarize, cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance and reconstructive surgeries possibly are. This is because insurance only covers procedures that have a medical indication and medical necessity. To keep it simple: your IPL session will almost certainly be considered cosmetic and, therefore, not be covered.

The Takeaway


Are you ready to take the plunge and book your IPL therapy session? Skin rejuvenation and hair removal via IPL may be right for you and your wallet. Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of the myriad of skin conditions and hair concerns an IPL device can treat.

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