Published: Jan 14, 2022
IPL Aftercare: Useful Tips for Fast Recovery
A form of light therapy known as intense pulsed light (IPL) can be used to treat a number of skin conditions on your face. In addition to your face, neck, underarms, legs, and bikini line, IPL can also remove unwanted hair.
Several activities and products should be avoided before your IPL treatment, such as tanning beds, direct sunlight, chemical peels, waxing, collagen injections, and blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin. Similarly, after IPL treatment, you should follow IPL aftercare instructions to promote proper skin healing.
In this article, we'll be instructing you through the do's and don'ts of IPL aftercare, as well as what to do immediately after IPL treatment.
What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?
Like laser treatments, IPL treatments use light energy. The difference between IPL and a laser is that IPL focuses a multitude of wavelengths of light on your skin, similar to a photo flash. IPL also emits less focused and scattered light. The light penetrates your skin without causing damage to the top layer.
Upon absorption of the light from IPL, the pigment cells in your skin turn it into heat, which eliminates freckles, age spots, and other blemishes in your skin. Intense pulsed light may also destroy hair follicles so that hair will not grow over that area anymore.
Despite its versatility, IPL may not be as effective on uneven skin. If you have darker skin tones or keloid scars, intense pulsed light therapy should not be used. Dark hair responds better to IPL than lighter hair.
What Happens During an Intense Pulsed Light Treatment?
In order to prepare the skin for treatment, your skin care specialist will clean it. He/she will then apply a cool gel to the area. Following that, she will utilize the IPL device to treat the skin. Dark glasses will shield your eyes from the light during the procedure. You may feel some stinging during the procedure.
Depending on the size and location of the area being treated, the process will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. With IPL hair removal, a series of six to twelve treatments are typically necessary; each spread out at least one month apart to provide your skin with the time it needs to heal.
What Should You Expect After IPL Treatment
With IPL, light is converted into heat that penetrates deeper layers of the skin to break up pigmentation and blood cells that cause discoloration. When the treated area heals, healthy collagen and elastin are produced, restoring the skin to a youthful state.
Most patients tolerate one session well, and it takes 30 to 90 minutes. In general, it is described as mildly uncomfortable and as feeling like a rubber band is poking you.
Your skin will appear as though it has been sunburnt immediately following an IPL photofacial. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure. You may also experience some mild swelling. After the procedure, you can even apply makeup. The redness will usually begin to fade within 24 hours, and sunspots and discolored areas will actually appear darker. This results from your treatment working properly.
Is it Safe for Your Skin to Use IPL?
IPL is completely safe. Generally, the entire process is conducted by an experienced IPL technician at a specialized treatment facility. If you are having IPL treatment, you will be directed to the treatment room by your dermatologist. To protect your eyes, special glasses or eye pads will be worn. The skin will be treated with a cool gel. Next, the IPL device is gently placed on your skin. Since you are wearing eye protection, you won't see anything, but you will feel the pulsing light, which may feel like a slight tingle or sting. As we've mentioned before, this procedure is completely safe and proven to be effective too!
IPL usually leaves the skin red, swollen, and sensitive. Swelling and redness usually go away within a few days. The skin may remain irritated for a few days afterward. Infections, skin color changes, bruising, and blistering can sometimes occur.
There may be a slight tingling sensation that can be relieved by contact cooling or topical anesthetics during treatment. The skin may also turn pink and feel sore after the procedure. There may be some redness, peeling, and swelling as a result of the treatment for mild sunburn.
IPL Aftercare Instructions
Intensive pulsed light therapy treats uneven pigmentation, redness, rosacea, large pores, facial vessels, laxity, and large pores caused by sun damage.
In addition, IPL has the advantage of treating different areas of the skin since it works on a range of light wavelengths. That makes IPL more versatile than other light therapy methods, such as laser treatments. However, you should follow important IPL before and after care instructions to ensure you get the best results from your IPL PhotoFacial.
We've compiled some tips from IPL and PhotoFacial specialists about how to manage your skin after IPL treatment. With the following IPL aftercare instructions, you can effectively help your skin heal between treatments so you get the best results.
What to Do Immediately After Treatment?
Your first step in IPL laser aftercare is to ice the treated area for at least 30 minutes. If the pain persists after half an hour, you need to apply an ice pack every 15 minutes for three hours. During the night of your treatment, you should also sleep with an extra pillow under your head to prevent swelling.
Keeping well-hydrated will also help keep swelling at a minimum. It is recommended to wash your face the evening before your treatment as long as you use a gentle cleanser and warm water. It is recommended to gently exfoliate your skin twice a day and pat it dries afterward with a clean towel. You may experience a mild skin burn sensation after the treatment, which can last for a few hours or even a few days. Applying makeup should not be done until the redness subsides.
Avoid Using Other Hair Removal Methods
Here are some IPL hair removal aftercare instructions. During IPL treatments, avoid other hair removal methods like tweezing or waxing. These methods will hinder your IPL treatments. Ideally, you should avoid shaving the treated area between treatments. After intense pulsed light treatment, hair loss can occur between five and 14 days later. It may appear as if new hair is growing, but dead hair pushes its way out. A hot shower and a washcloth can help exfoliate the hair.
Avoid Exposing Your Skin to the Sun
After undergoing an intense pulsed light treatment, avoid the sun for four to six weeks to minimize the risk of developing light and dark spots. You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you plan to venture outdoors. Don't forget to reapply sunscreen every few hours. Alternatively, you can cover your arms and legs with clothes to protect them. Your face can also be protected with an umbrella or hat.
Frequently Moisturize Your Skin
Keep your skin thoroughly moisturized during the recovery process. Avoid harsh products with irritating chemicals. Following treatment, rest and avoiding strenuous exercise should also be part of your regimen during the first two days following treatment.
Another important IPL aftercare tip is to keep treated skin moisturized. Follow up your procedure with a gentle moisturizer. You may receive a moisturizer after IPL treatment from your skincare specialist, or you may be recommended an effective moisturizer to use while your skin heals.
You should avoid removing your skin's oils with hot showers or baths. When possible, use a moisturizing soap. You should moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower or bath. Drinking water will also help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Fruits and vegetables that are watery will also help hydrate your skin. A lot of water is found in watermelons, apples, tomatoes, kiwis, cantaloupes, oranges, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and zucchini.
Avoid Using Skin Irritants
For the first few days following your IPL treatment, stay away from anything that might irritate your skin. Stay away from clothing that's too tight. For a few days, avoid swimming pools with chlorine and other chemicals, hot tubs, saunas, and hot showers, as well as activities that make you sweat excessively. Make sure to wait until your skin has fully healed before applying makeup on or near treated skin.
During the next 48 hours, avoid using scented lotions, soaps, and creams on the treated area. Two days before your treatment, do not use products with vitamin A, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, retinol, or glycolic acid. You may also want to avoid using bleaching creams, chemical peels, and astringents during this time.
Avoid Picking or Scratching Your Skin
You can scar an area of treatment by scratching it or picking it. For relief of itchiness, while your skin heals, you can apply over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream. Using Aloe vera can also prove useful for irritation relief.
Putting a cold compress on the burning or itchy area can also alleviate the discomfort.
What not to Do After IPL Therapy
Taking care of your skin after IPL requires a lot of consideration. In addition to using the right products on your skin, there are other things to avoid to keep the healing process going. Here is a list of activities to avoid after treatment:
- You can't take a hot shower for 48 hours.
- For two days after treatment, avoid using aspirin, ibuprofen, consuming alcohol, and doing heavy exercise.
- It is best to avoid harsh topical products such as retinol and glycolic acid after treatment for one week.
- During the first 4 to 6 weeks following the treatment, prevent direct sunlight on the treated area and wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater.
- Avoid chlorine pools and other pools with chemicals.
- No hot tubs.
- Avoid activities that cause excessive perspiration.
- Do not pick at or remove loose skin.
- After the treatment, do not undergo electrolysis, facial waxing, or depilatories (hair removal products).
Benefits of IPL Aftercare for Speedy Recovery
As soon as IPL Photofacial treatments are administered, their benefits become apparent in the days and weeks following the treatment. While most IPL photo facials require very little to no recovery time, there are things you should (and should not) be doing as a result of this facial to maximize its benefits and minimize its negative effects.
Therefore, be sure to follow our IPL aftercare instructions above to maximize your results as quickly as possible! Check out the full list of benefits of IPL skin treatment here!
To Sum Up!
IPL photo facials are extremely useful treatments for addressing a wide range of conditions. This full-face treatment can dramatically improve fine lines, discoloration, and uneven skin texture. A photofacial can also improve facial contouring and tighten skin. In addition to improving damaged skin and acne scars on the neck, chest, arms, or back, IPL can also improve the appearance of wrinkles. For patients looking for skin resurfacing treatments that are effective yet require extremely minimal downtime, an IPL photofacial is a great choice.
However, it is crucial to remember that IPL treatment needs to be followed by a strict skincare regimen. Aftercare is essential for successfully healing your skin and reaching maximum results!