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

IPL Photofacial Before and After Results

The time has come and you want younger-looking skin and are finally ready to invest in a cosmetic procedure.

You’ve made all the calls, you’ve scrolled through social media accounts, selected an excellent provider and you probably have googled “IPL Before and After” images.

You realize that while the treatment is popular, you want to see improvements in the skin.

  • Does it even work?
  • Is it worth the cost?
  • How long does it take?
  • Honestly, does it hurt?

All of these questions are important to consider when looking at a cosmetic improvement for your skin. The reality is, however, that your skin is unique to you so having a realistic expectation when approaching your procedure will enhance your IPL treatment experience.

While IPL is a cosmetic treatment, the trained medical team at your skin center will discuss several important factors with you before moving any further in the process. In our previous article IPL before and after 1 Treatment, we touched on the results after initial treatment for either unwanted hair removal or photofacial treatment.

In this article, we want to answer all your questions on what to expect before an IPL procedure for complexion and what to expect in the healing process.

Beautiful woman face

What Exactly is a Photofacial Treatment?

If you’re just beginning your research on photofacials, there are two common technologies to improve the texture of the skin. The first is IPL therapy.

Let’s unpack exactly what IPL or “intense pulsated light” is and how it affects your skin. IPL therapy is a treatment that helps to rejuvenate the color and the texture of the skin.

Casually speaking, it can act as an eraser for years of sun damage to your face or other areas with extensive over-exposure. It is also a proven therapy to help with the appearance of Melasma.

IPL harnesses the power of light and heat to remove unwanted discoloration caused by damaged cells. While laser treatments send a direct, more targeted wavelength, IPL delivers several with every pulse. You can find more procedural detail here.

What are IPL Photofacials Used for?

Because IPL is a penetrating therapy, it can affect deeper layers of the skin. This allows for photofacials to have proven results for more than just skin discoloration. Wrinkles, spider veins, large pores, and acne scars have all responded positively to an IPL photofacial.

While IPL is widely used, LED photofacials are also available. LED or light-emitting diode treatment is designed to specify the treatment based on the desired result.

The different colors of light used in the treatment repair different problems of the skin. The LED treatment is not designed to penetrate as deeply making it better for issues on the top layer of the skin such as acne scars.

While both procedures can be performed in medical beauty spas, it is critically important to make sure the location you select has board-certified professions administering treatment. Shopping around for a reasonable price is wise but when it comes to this level of cosmetic procedures, choosing a safe option is the best way to protect your one of a kind skin.

Woman is getting IPL photofacial

What Should I Expect from Consultation and Treatment?

As far as the procedure goes, you’ll begin with a consultation appointment to discuss your goals, the number of treatments suggested, and how to care for your skin after the IPL.

Some providers will often ask if you are committed to wearing sunscreen daily during your IPL process. One, it’s better for your skin but it also drastically improves the results.

On the day of your procedure, you’ll arrive and settle in the treatment room. Your provider will clean the skin and in many cases apply a topical numbing cream to ensure comfort during the procedure. IPL isn’t incredibly painful but there can be some slight discomfort.

Due to the nature of the IPL process, the discomfort lasts only a few seconds and is isolated to the exact spot the light penetrates. The numbing process takes about 30 minutes. If you’re undergoing IPL for a photofacial and you have bangs or long hair, you may want to pull it up in a ponytail or sport your favorite headband to keep your face as clear as possible.

If you happen to come from work and forget your hair accessory, don’t worry. Providers often have headbands and scrunchies available for use. Some doctors or nurses will even offer a glass of champagne while you wait! Talk about self-care!

Once the area is prepared for treatment, you will receive any last-minute instructions. For example, if you are having the procedure to improve the texture of your face, you’ll be provided with protective eyewear.

The technician or doctor will begin with a test area to check the reaction from the skin and to discuss any present discomfort with you. Be clear in what you are thinking and feeling. IPL therapy should be a good experience for you so stay open about your needs.

How Long Does an IPL Treatment take?

The length of the IPL procedure is usually between 30-90 minutes. Many patients enjoy conversations with the doctor or listen to headphones during the appointment. The exact duration will depend on the size of the area being treated and the nature of the skin for the desired area.

When you are finished with the IPL therapy, you will be given some skin care products to aid healing and aftercare instructions. You should be able to return to your normal activities unless it includes spending hours outside.

You want to protect that newly treated skin for a bit. You can expect some redness and warmth but your medical team will give you tips on how to cool the skin if it becomes too uncomfortable.

Skincare products

What is the Recovery Like after the IPL Treatment?

The recovery is so minimal that it makes the procedure doable even on an extended lunch break. Most people do not experience extended discomfort making this a great choice if you want your skin to appear younger.

In the following days, the treated area will turn darker tones of brown and black. If you aren’t aware, this can be shocking at first. Trust the process. It can be tempting to scratch or pick the dark spots but refrain from doing that. Use a gentle cleansing cream from your spa or cosmetic office to remove the unwanted skin cells carefully.

Applying makeup to the skin to cover the appearance of the spots is fine, just try your best to avoid harsh chemicals on the face during the healing process. You may want to take before and after photos.

There is nothing quite like having your own before and after pictures. After any cosmetic procedure, it is amazing to see the results of the technology in the cosmetic industry.

You’ll want to commit to wearing daily sunscreen for the weeks following the IPL. This is the best practice always but it is critical when the skin is healing. Finding a tinted moisturizer that has 30-45 SPF will make the morning routine a lot easier.

The results from a photofacial are often noticeable after the very first treatment but for some individuals with fair skin and a significant amount of discoloration 3-4 IPL treatments are suggested.

Best results come with multiple treatments and clients often look forward to each session and enjoy the time investing in their appearance. Many medical spas will offer a packaged deal for multiple treatments. Be sure to ask about this!

Girl during the skincare routine

How Long do I Need to Wait Between Sessions?

It is important to give the treated skin some time to heal. The recommendation is to wait at least 4 weeks between each IPL photofacial session. The timeline does depend on your skin type, treated area, and the desired outcome.

The technical term for the process is called, cellular turnover, which means the continuous rejuvenation of the outermost skin layer. The procedure signals your body to produce new, younger-looking skin during this process.

What Can I do to Prolong the Results of IPL Treatment?

The best advice is to, trust the professionals. The team working with you has been educated and trained on this procedure, take their advice. Experience is the best teacher and finding a practitioner who has used IPL frequently is key. Pay attention to their directions for skin recovery.

If remembering a list of directions after the appointment is difficult for you, ask the provider to write the directions down for you. Many providers will send you home with an after-care kit that includes directions for best results. Take care of your skin and pay attention to how the reaction of your skin.

So now you know what exactly an IPL photofacial is and you know what to expect in the appointment. You have an idea about the recovery timeline and the only thing standing in the way of you and more youthful skin is scheduling the appointment.

Take the step and you’ll be glad you did. IPL photofacials are a low-risk way to erase time from the skin. Who doesn’t love the feeling you get when friends and family members compliment your skin?

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