Woman's face before and after IPL treatment
Tips & Articles for Your Skin

IPL Before and After 1 Treatment Results

It is extremely natural to be excited after your first Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, especially if you have heard of the several benefits of the procedure. As word about the impact of IPL has spread far and wide over the years, most people expect that they will begin to see the benefits right after their first treatment, but this may not always be the case.

Before you undergo your first IPL treatment, you should know exactly what you are getting into, as well as the results to expect after the procedure. So, in this article, we will be answering some of the most important questions about IPL facial results, including what results to expect after the first treatment and the various factors that can affect how quickly you begin to see results, such as your skin condition or hair texture.

Additionally, we will be exploring how many treatments it generally takes for people to see results, how long you should expect the results to last, and much more.

Can I See the Results After 1 Treatment?

Generally, you should not expect much change after your first treatment. So, if you have not noticed any difference, don’t get too worried. You must remember that IPL treatment is a progressive procedure, and it requires consistent visits to your practice over several weeks to gain the maximum effect, and the people who have long-lasting changes are those that attend every session.

However, while most people will not experience much of a difference after their first treatment, this is not always the case. Although it is rare, some people report huge changes on their skin after their first session, though such people should be considered as the lucky ones. Additionally, if you have already had the IPL procedure in the past, then you may also experience some change after the first treatment. So, you should not place too much emphasis on comparing the results of your IPL before and after one treatment.

What are The Factors for the Treatment to Work?

Before starting the procedure, you must speak to your provider about how likely it is for the treatment to succeed, as any IPL procedure will depend on several factors to work, such as:

Your Skin Color

IPL works better for some skin tones than others, and we do not recommend that you have any IPL treatments if you have a darker skin tone or shade. This is because the nature of many treatments, such as hair removal, attempt to target melanin. So, if you already have a high level of melanin, this can lead to a lot of trauma for your skin. IPL treatment on darker skin tones can also lead to scarring, burning, and hyperpigmentation.

However, IPL is extremely safe for those with light to medium skin tones, and we highly recommend it. If you are unsure if the procedure will be safe for you, it is best to speak to your provider before any treatment. This will help keep your skin safe from any potential or future damage.

Different skin tones

The Type of Skin Issue You Are Using the Procedure For

Naturally, the type of issue that you are attempting to treat will affect the number of sessions required for maximum results. While there are particular treatments that IPL is highly effective for, there are others that require more effort and time for long-lasting changes.

Generally, if you are using IPL for a Photofacial treatment, such as removing age spots or ironing out wrinkles and fine lines on the skin, then the procedure has a high chance of success and can be completed in as little as three sessions. However, if the case is more severe and there are many areas to treat, this could easily rise to six weeks.

On the other hand, IPL is not as effective for hair removal, as the beam of light uses various wavelengths. This means that it does not concentrate directly on the hair follicle, making it a much weaker option than other solutions. So, if you want to have your hair removed using IPL, you may need as many as eight treatments. Though, for those with thinner and darker hair, this could be achieved in as little as six treatments.

However, you must remember that these numbers are simply an average and you may need more or less depending on the intensity of the issue that you are trying to solve. In any case, your provider will likely examine your skin before the treatment and give you a schedule. This will detail how many treatments you will need and how spaced out each session will need to be.

Woman with the acne scars

Your Hair Color

IPL for hair removal is one of the most common uses of the machine. Essentially, this treatment works by using the melanin in your hair follicles to attract a strong beam of light. Your hair follicles will receive this light as heat, which will help cause the follicle to decay. However, because this treatment is based around the level of melanin in your hair, people with lighter shades of hair, such as blondes, may find that it will take longer for their hair to be removed than those with darker hair shades.

So, if you do not have dark hair but would still like to undergo the IPL treatment, you should speak to your provider about how long the treatment will take before you undergo the procedure. This will allow you to allocate the right amount of time for your IPL without leaving you disappointed if you need to have any extra sessions, as you will already have planned for this. Additionally, newer IPL machines are becoming increasingly effective in removing hair with little melanin, so you should also speak to your provider about this.

Different hair color

The Condition of Your Skin

One of the main factors that affect the time it will take to see results is how much damage needs to be corrected. Everybody’s skin is different, and you will likely have gained a few unique scars through the course of your life. If your skin does not have many issues to correct, then you will naturally require fewer treatments.

One good use of IPL is to treat sunspots or age spots, but these all have subtly different colors or shades. You may notice that some are extremely dark while others are scarcely visible and almost match your natural skin tone. To be able to treat all these spots, the IPL device will need to target all the varying levels of pigmentation on each pass. Naturally, this will take longer if you have extremely varying dark spots.

In any case, your practitioner will likely speak to you about this. After examining your skin, they will inform you just how much damage has been done over time and how many treatment sessions will be required to completely correct these issues. However, you should still be able to see some change after a few sessions.

Your Body State Before Each Treatment

For certain issues, the state of your body when you carry out the treatment is extremely important for the procedure to be successful. Before you start any treatment, your practitioner will likely give you a set of instructions that you should follow before your session. Such instructions will likely be tailored to your treatment schedule so you should speak to your skin therapist about how long you will need to follow the instructions before you visit your practice.

So, if you are using IPL for hair removal, you may be told that you should not shave or wax before your treatment. You should try as much as possible to follow such instructions. Some patients turn up to hair removal sessions fully shaven as they believe that it will make the treatment quicker, but due to the nature of IPL, it simply makes it more difficult for the beam to identify the pigmentation in your hair.

Woman body before the treatment

How Many Treatments Will I Need to See IPL Facial Results?

Due to the myriad of factors that we have already discussed, there is no definite answer for this. However, because IPL is a gradual process where each result builds on the last, you should always expect to have multiple sessions to see the true benefits of the treatment. So, you must allocate this time out of your calendar if you decide to go for the procedure. In any case, the sessions do not last very long and are highly spaced out so you should not expect any massive disruption to your schedule.

To make sure that you see maximum results, you should try your best to attend each treatment. Generally, every session will take place after four weeks. This timeline follows the cycle of your skin shedding off dead cells and returning to its normal state before any subsequent treatment. However, your skin therapist will give you the best schedule depending on your condition or what issue is being tackled.

If you believe that you are not going to be able to make a session, you must speak to your provider so that they can reschedule you for a time that is closer to the original date, which will allow you to remain on track. In any case, if you do miss a session, don’t panic and don’t give up on your journey either, simply speak to your skin therapist about the best way to continue the treatment, however, this may mean that you will require additional sessions for maximum results.

Happy woman

Are the Results from IPL Permanent?

Most of our patients ask us if the results from IPL are permanent, but because of the nature of our body, there is no one answer to give. Much like many skin-related issues, several factors will affect how long the treatment will last, such as:


While IPL is a highly popular treatment option for cases such as hair removal, there may be several reasons why the procedure may not work permanently for you. One of the top reasons for this is hormonal imbalance. In this case, you should think of it as the biology of your body fighting a man-made machine, while it may win in some areas, it cannot conquer all the hair on your body.

Essentially, because some of our hormones, such as testosterone encourage hair growth, it can be difficult to permanently remove your hair while these hormones remain in our bodies. If you are a man using IPL, then it may be even more difficult to have your hair permanently removed as men generally have higher testosterone levels than women.

However, some women may also experience this issue if they have high testosterone levels or a hormone imbalance. So, if you used IPL for hair removal and followed the treatment schedule correctly but found that the hair in the targeted area grew back quickly, it could be because of a hormonal imbalance. If this is the case, you must speak to your skin therapist and general practitioner, who may conduct a test to study your testosterone levels.

The Skin Issue That You Used IPL For

There are simply some issues that IPL cannot permanently solve. You may have used the IPL treatment to help remove fine lines or wrinkles on your face and must have been extremely excited by the outcome. However, you should not expect such a result to last permanently because you are still constantly aging and more of these fine lines are bound to appear in the future.

This is also the same case for using IPL to treat issues such as sunburns. While the procedure is one of the most effective beauty treatments to help remove any marks or scarring from the sun, you must remember that it cannot protect you from all future scarring. Especially if you live in an area where you have a high risk of sun exposure. For issues such as aging and sunburns, we suggest that you visit your practitioner every year for a touch-up, this will help keep your skin rejuvenated and fresh year after year.