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Tips & Articles for Your Skin

Is It Normal to Experience Swelling After IPL?

Swelling after IPL is very common. Most people who use this treatment for skin improvement or hair removal will experience some side effects. Like any procedure for the skin, it offers some risks that differ depending upon the patient's complexion and the condition being treated.

With this in mind, we'd like to mention that redness and swelling after IPL are both barely noticeable or long-lasting. In fact, symptoms are only observed during the first 24 hours after the treatment. The symptoms appear because when applying the intense pulsed light, a high temperature is needed that the application machine regulates according to each person's skin type and characteristics.

In this article, we will explain in more detail the essential tips and skincare routines you must follow to help your skin recover after the treatment.

Tips For Treating Swelling After IPL

skin care for swelling after IPL

The first thing you should know about swelling after IPL is that this side effect usually lasts between 24 to 48 hours. Whether it is a photofacial application or IPL for permanent hair removal, these symptoms will occur. You will have to consider factors such as the aggressiveness of the treatment, the healing characteristics of your skin, and the particular condition being treated.

You should take into account that the observed swelling will be minor. So, if you have a lot of swelling, you should consult your doctor. Moreover, if you plan to use IPL for photofacials, it is important to go to a specialist who has the right equipment to perform the procedure. As long as you follow the recovery tips listed below, everything will be fine.

Use Cold Compresses

Cold compresses should be applied for 10 minutes to the treated area to minimize swelling after IPL. The process must be repeated every three hours during the first 24 hours following treatment, especially before sleeping.

Avoid Using Makeup at Least for 3 Days

A little redness will also be normal after the treatment. The reddish glow disappears after the first few hours, but it could last for several days. If the redness bothers you, you should apply a little makeup to hide it. Ideally, apply makeup at least three days after applying the treatment so that your skin can rest.

Use Skin Cleanser 

Keep your skin fresh and supple by using a gentle cleanser every morning and evening. Remember to protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen (at least 30 SPF) and clothing that prevents direct sun contact with your skin, such as hats, sunglasses, scarves, and sweaters.

Avoid Peeling off the Scrabs

On the other hand, in addition to swelling and redness, your skin could begin to crust and subsequently peel off after the first three days. Remember to avoid tearing off the scabs at all costs if that happens. You should use a simple moisturizer at least twice a day to avoid itchiness or increased redness. To help the hydration process, drink plenty of water. If you follow these instructions, the scabs will fall off on their own very soon.

Additional Tips to Keep in Mind After IPL: What Not to Do

Here are some tips about treating side effects after IPL to make the healing process faster, longer-lasting, and ultimately help achieve your goals.

What not to do after treatment:

  1. During the first few days after applying the treatment, avoid taking hot showers or using hot tubs on your skin. You may also raise your skin heat by attending spas, saunas, or engaging in strenuous exercises. 
  2. Avoid using skin products such as scrubs, astringents, and strong soaps. You should also avoid tonics containing acids or retinoids and bleaching creams, at least until your skin has completely healed. This is a time to use other skin care products, such as moisturizers or recovery creams. 
  3. You should avoid tearing off crusts or small peelings. They will fall off on their own. If you do it, you could hurt yourself and run the risk of hyperpigmentation, resulting in spots appearing on the treated area.

What are IPL Photofacial Side Effects?

IPL side effects

An IPL photofacial is a non-invasive and totally safe procedure that eliminates different skin conditions, such as sun damage, broken capillaries, wrinkles, fine lines, rosacea, red or brown spots, and the list goes on. Its mission is to eliminate the cells that cause these conditions and ensure that the skin recovers its usual tone, shine, texture, and softness after recovery.

To achieve this, the technology that uses intense pulsed light consists of a manual device (or IPL machine) that emits rays of light at a specific temperature - and through a filter - directly towards the second layer of the skin - the dermis. The dermis is where the dead cells that cause obvious signs on the skin are found. Likewise, it also seeks to promote the formation of collagen and elastin, which are other cells that begin to produce less and cause the skin to lose its proper shine and texture after a certain age.

What Side Effects Might Occur?

Suppose IPL is applied to a specific area that requires treatment. Your skin may react to the treatment in different ways, depending on your complexion, skin characteristics, and the severity of the condition being treated. Here are some of the most usual side effects following IPL treatment:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Desquamation
  • Scabs
  • Sensitivity
  • Irritation

The effects described above do not happen to everyone. On average, however, three of them usually emerge. They do not occur simultaneously but rather over time.

For example, scabs and peeling are two of the last effects that appear during the last stage of the recovery process after IPL and indicate that your skin is recovering appropriately and as expected.

Remember that receiving a photofacial treatment exposes the skin to a high-temperature level, so it is normal to see your skin look like it is sunburned. All in all, the good news is that you will be able to deal with these side effects (with the tips we mentioned previously), and your skin will look much more beautiful, shiny, and youthful.

What Benefits Make IPL Treatment Worthwhile?

IPL benefits

People who decide to receive an IPL treatment know that it has more advantages than disadvantages. The side effects we mentioned above are the only ones that will occur.

As long as you go to a specialized center and are attended by experts in the treatment application, you will always obtain the best results that the treatment can offer you.

Whatever condition you are treating, some benefits and advantages you may experience include:

  • You will regain the shine, texture, and healthy appearance of your skin in the treated area.
  • It will stimulate collagen and elastin production, so even if time passes, your skin will continue to look cute, shiny, and soft.
  • It will avoid extensive pain or suffering that other invasive treatments cause. With IPL machines, the treatment is almost not felt, so there is no pain.
  • Recovery is really fast, so you will be able to maintain the performance of your daily activities even during the recovery stages.
  • Treatment costs are affordable.
  • You can attend review sessions once or twice a year after the first scheduled sessions.

Thus, if you take proper care of your skin before and after the treatment, the multiple benefits will add up depending on the condition you are treating.

Final Considerations Regarding Swelling after IPL

As we have explained throughout this article, IPL has more benefits than disadvantages. In fact, swelling after IPL is just an effect that will last 24 hours after the treatment is applied. The only thing to worry about is to follow the doctors' tips as well as those that are more general and may help preserve the appearance of your skin for a long time.

Furthermore, we stress the importance of being fully informed about everything connected to this type of treatment. You will be able to identify whether or not you are a suitable candidate based on the general condition of your skin.

In our blog, you can find multiple articles related to everything that covers skin care and the appropriate treatments. In the same way, your beautician or trusted doctor can also reaffirm each of these issues directly with you.