Sun exposure, age, and other skin conditions, such as rosacea or spider veins, produce skin discoloration that may be challenging to treat with standard over-the-counter remedies. IPL (intense pulsed light) photofacial treatment is a safe, non-invasive cosmetic procedure used to treat common skin conditions, providing a rejuvenated appearance and removing sun spots. The procedure is effective and requires minimal downtime. Understanding what to expect before, during, and after this treatment will help ensure remarkable results.   

How to Prepare for IPL Photofacial Treatment: Before Your Appointment 

While IPL photofacial treatment is less invasive than other cosmetic procedures, you should adhere to some simple yet important guidelines before your appointment. 

Not everyone is a good candidate for IPL photofacial treatment. Your dermatologist will assess your skin and may do a spot test to establish optimal settings for your skin type and condition. 

If you follow these guidelines in preparation for your treatment, you will have a better experience and see optimal results:

  • Avoid exposure to the sun and tanning beds for two weeks before your appointment. You may be at a higher risk of burns, changes in pigmentation, or scarring without proper protection from these types of exposure.
  • Discontinue the use of self-tanners for four weeks prior to the procedure. 
IPL photofacial treatment results on a female patient
IPL photofacial treatment before and after on a female patient

The IPL Photofacial Treatment Process: What to Expect During Your Session

Before and after front image of IPL and Alexandrite treatment on a female's neck and chest performed by Dr. Boen at our San Diego medical spa

During your session, you will wear protective eyewear and lie down on a comfortable procedure table. Your board-certified dermatologist will cleanse the treatment area, apply a cool gel to your skin, and use a handheld device to deliver pulses of light to the treatment areas. Cosmetic Laser Dermatology uses the state-of-the-art Lumenis M22™ Stellar IPL, the best device on the market for treating sun damage, rosacea, and other skin conditions. 

You may feel some mild discomfort or warming of the skin during treatment. Treatments are relatively quick, lasting only 5-15 minutes; however, these times vary based on the size of the treatment area. 

What Happens After Treatment? Recovery and Aftercare

IPL photofacial results after one treatment may produce some redness, swelling, or mild discomfort in the treated area. These are normal and temporary side effects that should subside within a few hours or days – applying an ice pack to the treated area will help soothe any discomfort. 

You will be instructed to avoid direct sun exposure and use sunscreen to protect your skin from further damage. You may also notice some darkening or flaking of the pigmented lesions, which will gradually fade away over time. You should avoid picking or scratching them to prevent scarring or infection. 

before and after of IPL photofacial treatment for facial discoloration

Maximizing the Results of IPL Photofacial Treatment: Tips and Recommendations

Maximizing the results of your IPL photofacial treatment requires adherence to some important guidelines to ensure your overall experience is pleasant and your results live up to your expectations. 

  • Avoid sun exposure before and after each treatment. Sun damage can reduce the effectiveness of IPL and cause unwanted pigmentation or inflammation. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily and wear a hat and sunglasses outdoors.
  • Always follow your dermatologist’s instructions for post-treatment care, which may include ice packs or cold compresses, and avoid sun exposure. 
  • Keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. IPL can dry out your skin, so use a gentle cleanser and a hydrating cream twice daily. Avoid products that contain alcohol, retinoids, or exfoliants, as they can irritate your skin or cause peeling.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and skincare routine. IPL can improve your skin’s appearance but cannot prevent future damage or aging. 
  • Prolong the IPL photofacial benefits by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking. 

How Often Should You Schedule IPL Photofacial Treatment? 

IPL photofacial treatment is a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of your skin and reduce signs of aging, sun damage, acne scars, and other imperfections. The number of sessions you need depends on your skin type, condition, and goals, but most people see optimal results after two to three treatments spaced about four weeks apart. Maintaining your IPL photofacial results may require touch-up sessions every six to 12 months. Dr. Goldman at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology is a pioneer in skincare and helped to develop the first IPL, so your skin is in good hands with the expert board-certified dermatologists in San Diego. To learn more about IPL photofacial treatments and how they can give you a look you desire, contact us today to schedule your appointment

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Reshape & Tighten Your Neck With ThermiSculpt
In this webinar, Dr. Groff will educate you on how the experts at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology can provide life-changing results without surgery through ThermiSculpt.

Speaker: Dr. William F. Groff
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 30th, 2024 at 5:30 pm PST / 8:30 pm EST

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