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Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Rejuvenating Treatment for Face & Body

IPL is a non-ablative light energy treatment that can produce changes in skin texture, pore size, and collagen remodeling along with standard improvement of red and brown spots. The process involves a series of 1-5 treatments spaced 2-4 weeks apart. Most skin types are candidates and untanned skin is ideal for the best results, that is why fall and winter in the Lakeland is the best time to try this treatment out.

aesthetician performing IPL treatment

In our clinic we have a Reveal camera, we get to see the reduction of red and brown spots on the face and neck during your series of IPL treatments. Sometimes fine lines, skin texture and enlarged pores respond to treatment as an added bonus.

Red spots such as:

  • Facial Telangiectasias
  • Small Spider Veins & Broken Vessels
  • Cherry Angiomas
  • Erythema from Rosacea flushing or papules

Brown spots such as:

  • Lentigos
  • Dyschromia
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Flat Pigmented Lesions
  • Melasma

Also, red and brown discoloration from Poikiloderma of Civatte (sun damage on the neck) can be treated with a series of IPL treatments.

Quite often I get patients inquire about how long the rejuvenating effects from IPL treatment last and how often to come back. Maintenance treatments will be needed, usually every 6-12 months depending on the patient’s compliance with a skin-care regimen, use of sun protection products, and whether they are experiencing intrinsic diseases such as melasma or rosacea.

Who is not an ideal candidate for IPL?

closeup of woman getting IPL treatment
  • History of skin cancer or evidence of suspicious lesion
  • Active Infection
  • Use of Accutane within the last year
  • Diseases that may be stimulated by light, for example, lupus, active herpes simplex, porphyria
  • Photosensitizing medications or herbs that may cause sensitivity to 790-830 nm light, such as use of isotretinoin, tetracycline, or St. John’s Wort
  • Immunosuppressive diseases or medications, such as HIV infections or AIDS
  • Pregnancy and nursing
  • Skin Type V-VI
  • Active tanning or the use of artificial tanning within 2 weeks
  • History of keloid scaring

Are there any side effects of IPL?

Typical side effects of IPL treatments include temporary redness, itching and swelling at the treatment site, which may last up to a few days. Other possible side effects include blistering, prolonged redness, bruising, peeling, rash, lightening or darkening of skin colour, and removal or lightening of freckles. There is a possibility of incidental hair reduction or hair removal in the treated areas. Extremely rare but possible side effects include scarring.

Preparing for your IPL Treatment

IPL wand
  • Discontinue sun tanning and the use of tanning beds 2 weeks and self-tanning products at least 7 days before.
  • Always use an SPF-30 or greater sunscreen on all exposed treatment areas and re-apply as necessary. Wear protective, light-occluding hats and clothing.
  • Discontinue use of exfoliating products such as retinol, glycolic acid, masks or other skin exfoliating products 1 week before and after your treatment.
  • If you have a history of cold sore out breaks in the area of treatment, possible prophylaxis (Valtrex or Zovirax) prior to treatment is recommended.
  • Be aware there is the possibility of coincidental hair loss on areas treated.
  • Topical anesthetics are not needed for this procedure.
  • Tattooed areas cannot be treated

Day of Treatment

IPL treatment procedure
  • Please do not wear make-up, deodorants, perfumes or powders that are difficult to remove on the areas to be treated. Broad spectrum sunscreen is acceptable to have on.
  • Inform the provider of any changes in medical history and all medication you are taking.
  • Tylenol may be taken immediately before treatment for comfort measures.
  • Your skin will be less sensitive if you are well-rested, fed, and not thirsty during your treatment. Keep in mind to avoid caffeine and spicy foods too. Also, for women, possibly wait until after your menstruation.

After your IPL Treatment

  • You may experience redness or minor swelling of the skin, similar to a mild sunburn. These are temporary effects and usually resolve within 2-24 hours. For some people a mild sunburn-like sensation persists for up to 72 hours. Mild swelling and/or redness may accompany this, which usually resolves in 2-3 days. Apply cold compresses every hour for 10 minutes until symptoms subside. Sleep elevated – as many pillows as you can tolerate after your treatment. Most swelling usually happens the first day after your treatment and last 2-3 days.
  • Following and throughout the course of the treatments, the treated skin is sensitive to sunlight. Avoid direct sun exposure (natural or artificial) for 2 weeks. If sun exposure cannot be avoided, please use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and a broad-brimmed hat.
  • Bathe or shower as usual, treated areas may be temperature sensitive. Cool showers or baths may offer relief.
  • Avoid waxing, swimming, hot tub/jacuzzi, and any excessive exercise until the redness resolves.
  • If you started out with discoloration, your brown spots will appear darker for 5-10 days, in which they may appear scabby and/or crusty. Do not pick or exfoliate these “coffee grind” looking spots, as you can leave the area hypopigmented (white spots).
  • Make-up can be worn 24 hours after treatment. We recommended Colorescience as it is calming to the skin, deliver a physical block for sun exposure and has healing as well as anti-ageing properties.

IPL treatments are fast, easy and comfortable and they deliver remarkable results without the healing downtime like other types of invasive skin treatments. Pulses of filtered light target and erase imperfections at the surface of your skin without harming surrounding tissue. As a result, you will enjoy clearer skin that looks younger and fresher.

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Charlene Brown

Charlene graduated in 2000 from MC College, Edmonton, as an Aesthetician. In 2012 she graduated with honors from the well-acclaimed European Institute of Esthetics, as a Medical Aesthetician. Subsequently, Charlene has also returned to the European Institute of Esthetics and obtained her Certified Clinical Laser Technician designation, as well as specialized certifications in microneedling and dermaplaning treatments. Charlene joined the Ageless Living team in 2012 and has been an integral part of our team from the beginning. She has extensive knowledge and experience with regard to creating customized treatment plans. Charlene persists with continuing education to bring you the latest in medical aesthetics and best practice protocols.