As warmer weather waltzes in, there’s no better time to revamp your skin for a fresh, healthy look. Spring is the season for renewal, and one versatile cosmetic skin treatment that will refresh your appearance is the IPL photofacial. This procedure helps people of all ages not only achieve better skin tone and texture, but also helps alleviate the symptoms of some skin conditions such as rosacea and melasma.

At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, we offer a comprehensive variety of 50+ laser, light, and energy treatments including our most popular IPL photofacial device Lumenis M22 Stellar to suit our patients’ unique skincare needs. Dr. Mitchel Goldman pioneered the field of IPL. He has published dozens of medical papers, including a review with colleagues regarding his early experiences with IPL and the development of its use over time. (Almukhtar R, Emily Carr E, Goldman MP: Intense Pulsed Light: The Early Years. Dermatological Reviews 2020;1-10) We are proud to share our research findings with you and offer this skin rejuvenating treatment at our San Diego medical spa.

Based on the review mentioned above, IPL is clearly an effective treatment modality for a wide range of dermatologic lesions, from pigmented to vascular and inflammatory lesions. The flexibility of IPL’s wavelength also allows for it to treat a variety of skin conditions. And in addition to the team’s constant investigative pursuits of IPL, we also have more experience performing IPL treatments than any other practice in the world.

What Can IPL Do for You?

If you enjoy being out in the sun but don’t enjoy the spots or lined and leathery appearance it’s caused, IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, can effectively treat sun damage (age spots), other signs of aging, as well as pigmentation issues and other dermatologic diseases just in time for spring.

The review authored by Dr. Goldman, Dr. Rawaa Almukhtar, and Dr. Emily Carr highlights the safety, efficacy, and versatility of IPL, which can treat the following issues:

  • Lentiginous disease
  • Melasma
  • Poikiloderma of Civatte
  • Acne Vulgaris
  • Rosacea
  • Vascular lesions
  • Pre-malignant and malignant lesions
  • Hypertrophic scars and keloids
  • Sebaceous gland hyperplasia
IPL treatment results in San Diego

Actual un-retouched patient before and after IPL treatment for hyperpigmentation by Dr. Goldman. Disclaimer: Results may vary from patient to patient. Results are not guaranteed.

How Does IPL Work?

Now that you’re ready to get that healthy, younger looking skin this spring, it is good to first understand how IPL works and why it is effective.

The published review explains that IPL utilizes light with a broad spectrum of wavelengths (ranging between 400 and 1200 nm), which allows the device to target melanin within the skin. With the device’s cooling system, IPL can safely penetrate down to the dermis (second layer of your skin) without damaging the epidermis (top layer). Pigment in the skin then absorbs the light energy, heating the photodamaged cells in the skin and breaking them down. The body then naturally removes the damaged tissue and unwanted pigment, helping you achieve a more even skin tone. 

Some IPL devices have a single pulse, whereas our Lumenis IPLs have multiple sequential pulsing. Furthermore, some devices will vary depending on the pulse duration, the energy fluence, or both in each pulse. Other variables include the size of the delivered light, power outputs, and cooling system, meaning that not all IPLs are the same. The devices available at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology are some of the most powerful IPL machines available today, offering superior results for our patients no matter what their skin concerns might be. 

Pigment Issues IPL Can Treat for Your Spring Refresh

  • Lentiginous disease – a variant of melanoma found on sun-damaged skin. IPL has been shown effective in treating pigmented lesions, particularly lentigines and ephelides on the face and body after an average of 3-5 treatments. 
  • Melasma – a common pigmentation disorder. IPL can lead to an improvement in patients with melasma in conjunction with topical therapy.
  • Poikiloderma of Civatte – chronic discoloration commonly seen on the neck. Results of a study report a significant reduction in vascular, pigmented, and atrophic skin changes in 81%-82% of patients after 3-5 IPL sessions.
IPL laser treatment results in San Diego

Actual un-retouched patient before and after IPL laser treatment for rosacea by Dr. Goldman. Disclaimer: Results may vary from patient to patient. Results are not guaranteed.

Other Concerns IPL Can Address

  • Acne vulgaris – occurs when hair follicles are blocked with dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil (sebum). The blocked follicles cause pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts. Several studies explored IPL as a treatment option for acne vulgaris or as an activator of PDT (photodynamic therapy). The study showed a significant reduction in the surface area of the sebaceous gland following IPL treatment. IPL also has antiinflammatory effects, with acne patients showing a reduction of both inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions. 
  • Rosaceaa chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes redness and bumps on the face. IPL effectively reduces blood flow, telangiectasia, and severity of erythema in individuals with rosacea, with efficacy equal to that of PDL (pulsed-dye laser). Typical reported improvement was 50%.
  • Vascular lesions – consist of telangiectasias, hemangiomas, and port-wine stains. These are the easiest conditions to treat with most going away quicker and with less bruising than with a pulse dye laser treatment. 
  • Premalignant and malignant lesions – Actinic keratosis (AK) is the most common pre-cancer that forms on sun-damaged skin. Several studies investigated the use of IPL as an activator of photosensitizing agents for PDT of AK. Results suggest IPL alone may be effective in the treatment of AK, but it is enhanced by the addition of a photosensitizer. IPL with photodynamic therapy also shows promising results for the treatment of superficial BCC (basal cell carcinoma) and Bowen’s disease.
  • Hypertrophic scars – A hypertrophic scar is a thick, raised scar that does not extend beyond the boundaries of the original wound, while keloids are enlarged scars that grow bigger and wider than the original injury. One study demonstrated a 50% improvement in all hyperpigmented, erythematous, and proliferative scars treated with IPL after a mean of 2.97 sessions.
IPL treatment in San Diego

Actual un-retouched patient before and after IPL laser treatment by Dr. Goldman. Disclaimer: Results may vary from patient to patient. Results are not guaranteed.

Low Risk, Multiple Benefits

We understand that renewing your skin this spring and achieving that coveted glow shouldn’t come with a dangerous price. The good news is that studies have found IPL to be well-tolerated for most patients. Minimal side effects include mild discomfort, erythema, purpura, edema, blistering, and crusting. These issues typically resolve within 48 hours, although some patients find they can persist for up to one week. Post treatment hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation are also possible very rare adverse effects of IPL. 

In addition to its low risk, benefits of IPL include:

  • Quick and effective – each session typically lasts 5-15 minutes
  • Appropriate for all skin types
  • Minimal discomfort – since dermatologists use a cooling gel and cold air during treatment, most patients report minimal pain
  • Long-term results – the better you care for your skin, the longer the results will last. Many of our patients have seen their results last for several years, coming in every year to touch up age spots or to simply rejuvenate their skin.
  • Ability to combine with other treatments – for a more comprehensive skin transformation this spring, IPL can be done in conjunction with other treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, injectables, Botox® Cosmetic, and Ultherapy.

Trust the Experts at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego

With over 100,000 satisfied patients, 100+ years of combined experience, and an in-house dermatology research center in our San Diego medical spa, we can say with confidence that you can trust us to give you healthy, rejuvenated, and younger-looking skin this spring. Dr. Mitchel Goldman helped develop the first intense pulsed light device for treating common skin issues almost 30 years ago, and each of our six dermatologists has been involved in numerous research studies involving IPL.

Get Sensational Skin This Spring With An IPL Treatment From Our Medical Spa

Make IPL a part of your spring skincare routine and enjoy healthy, beautiful skin all season long and beyond. To learn more about how you can benefit from IPL treatments and other cosmetic procedures, browse through our blogs or contact Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego, CA to schedule a consultation.


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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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