what is photofacial
Tips & Articles for Your Skin

What is Photofacial? Types, Benefits, and Side Effects

Photofacial treatments have continued to rise in popularity in recent years. Though, this is hardly surprising, as it can be used to treat various issues of the skin such as acne, discoloration, and poor skin texture. Essentially, this makes the world of Photofacials extremely vast, with several types of treatments and procedures for specific issues. So, if you are interested in what is Photofacial, then you must understand the various types of Photofacials and how they will interact with your skin. 

What is a Photofacial?

Photofacial treatments focus on using light energy to treat various skin-related issues such as discoloration, poor skin texture, and blemishes on the skin. There are two main types of Photofacials that you must be aware of which are Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED).

Generally, IPL Photofacials deliver pulses of the broad light spectrum onto the skin through the use of handheld devices. As the skin receives this energy, healthier cells are stimulated, which should help leave your skin feeling more refreshed. As IPL Photofacials also target deep layers of the skin, it is ideal for treating sun damage, broken capillaries, and redness. 

On the other hand, the LED Photofacial treatment works by using the colors of LED lights rather than the broader light spectrum. Essentially, LED Photofacials are more tailored to specific issues which can make them more effective. For example, blue LED light is extremely effective in killing acne cells. So, by using this light source, such cells can be destroyed faster.

As LED Photofacial focuses on delivering low energy to your skin while IPL focuses on delivering high energy, there are advantages to each type of technology. So, before partaking in the Photofacial procedure, you must think about which will be best for you. In general, if you want to treat a larger area of skin, then we suggest that you use the IPL Photofacial. However, for more superficial issues such as acne, then the LED may prove to be a better choice.

IPL photofacial treatment

What is a Photofacial Good For?

As there are several skin therapy treatments available, it can feel overwhelming to pick which is the best option for you. However, we will always suggest that you pursue Photofacial treatment when pigmentation or skin blemishes are an issue. Additionally, both the IPL and Photofacial treatments have several advantages:

The IPL Photofacial Pairs Well With Non-Surgical Treatments:

One of the many questions that we receive is, “Can I do a Photofacial if I’m still doing another procedure?” Naturally, you may be concerned about pairing several treatments together as they may not be compatible. While we do not recommend that you receive a Photofacial when you are undergoing other surgical procedures, you should not expect issues with non-surgical treatments. 

So, if you are undergoing a BOTOX procedure, you should still be able to get a Photofacial. In some cases, we may suggest that you undergo these types of treatments at the same time. This is because a procedure like BOTOX may be able to target areas that a Photofacial cannot. So, by combining both treatments, you can get the maximum skin rejuvenation results.

Effective Treatment For Sunburn Damage:

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common skin-related issues that you can have. This is because each time you leave the comfort of your home, you risk your skin being damaged by the Sun. While the effects of this can vary from wrinkles to dark spots, you should expect the heat rays to deliver several blows to your skin. 

Fortunately, Photofacial treatments are one of the most recommended sun damage therapies in the realm of skincare. In essence, when Photofacials are used for sun damage treatment, the light rays are directed at any discolored cells that may live deep beneath the skin. As your skin receives this light in the form of heat, these cells can quickly be dissolved, leaving more room for much healthier cells to grow.

Treatment of Stubborn Acne:

Acne is one of the most common skin-related issues and can be prevalent from adolescence. Fortunately, these can be treated with Photofacials, including the LED type of this treatment. This is extremely beneficial because such treatment is extremely easy to perform, making it a quick and easy way to treat stubborn acne. Essentially, by directing LED light on the problem area, activity in the acne-causing glands is reduced. This should allow your skin to become more rejuvenated.

It Offers Downtime Skin Rejuvenation Results:

What makes the Photofacial treatment a special procedure is the lack of downtime. Although the light pulses can burrow deep into the skin, it is non-abrasive and non-intrusive, so there is no redness or swelling. Many patients, may ultimately forget that they have had the procedure soon after due to such effects. So, you should never be concerned about how such a procedure will affect your routine or schedule.

It is Relatively Affordable:

While skincare treatments generally require a significant amount of money, you should expect Photofacials to put less of a dent in your pocket. Though many factors will affect the price of your Photofacial such as your location and provider, you can expect to pay as little as $400 for a Photofacial treatment. However, more expensive options may cost about $600 per treatment. 

It Can Be Used for Hair Removal:

The IPL variant of this procedure offers an extra advantage as it can be used to remove unwanted hair. What makes this procedure effective over others is that this removal process can be conducted extremely quickly by directing the light beams at the melanin in the hair. Once the hair follicles receive this level of heat, their effectiveness is greatly affected, causing them to produce little or no hair. 

IPL photofacial

What Area of the Body Can I Do a Photofacial Treatment On?

Photofacials can be performed on almost all areas of the body, which includes the neck, chest, hair, and back. Generally, most patients prefer treatment in areas that may be visible in the public. While this means that the Photofacial is mostly used on the face, the area around the eye is always avoided due to the risk of the light beams being shone directly onto the eye. In any case, protective gear should be to ensure that there is no damage during your treatment. 

Is a Photofacial Treatment Painful?

The simple answer to this is that it will depend on the patient. This is because some patients deal with pain better than others, so a burning sensation for some might be a tickle to others. However, the type of treatment is a great factor that will affect the level of discomfort that you feel. For example, if you undergo an LED Photofacial, you will likely feel no pain as it will be a similar effect to placing an LED beam next to your skin. The light from this treatment has little intensity, which means that the level of uneasiness is extremely low. 

On the other hand, the pain from IPL treatments is more noticeable. Though it may vary from person to person, some patients liken the discomfort to a stinging sensation while they are undergoing the procedure. However, the pain is still said to be quite mild and you should be able to perform daily tasks even after the procedure. 

In addition to the type of light waves beamed on your skin, other factors may also affect the level of pain that you are feeling. Some patients have experienced more discomfort when certain areas are being treated. This means that the area of treatment can also lead to increased levels of discomfort. So, if the pain is an issue, you must be wary of this before undergoing the treatment. 

Photofacial Side Effects

While patients who partake in LED Photofacials generally don’t show any side effects, you may face some from the IPL treatment. In any case, you should be on the lookout for the following side effects after having the procedure:


You may feel some difficulty in swallowing after having the procedure. If this happens, we suggest that you stick to softer foods or liquids while you heal.

High Temperature:

Some patients experience a high temperature after the procedure. If this is the case, you should expect your temperature to stabilize soon after the procedure. However, if this persists, then you must speak to your practitioner. 


Redness after a Photofacial treatment is extremely common. This generally indicates that your skin is irritated and should go away after a few hours.

Dark Areas After Treatment:

Several patients who partake in the Photofacial treatment for dark spots may notice that these spots get darker after the procedure. However, this is completely normal and you should expect these spots to disappear soon after a week.


As Photofacial treatments are non-abrasive, you should not expect any bruising on your skin after the treatment. However, some patients may still experience some bruising. If this is the case, then you should speak to your practitioner. 

Change in Skin Tone:

While this is very rare, you may notice that the skin in the surrounding areas has either become darker or lighter after the treatment. If this is the case, then you should contact your practitioner immediately.


While burns are not expected, due to the nature of the Photofacial procedure, they can still occur. This is mostly caused when the treatment has not been applied properly or the equipment has been misused. If you notice any burns on your skin after the procedure, you must contact your practitioner. 

Young woman with damaged skin

When Can I See The Photofacial Results?

Photofacial treatments are known for their quick turnaround time, though this is not always the case. While some patients may see effects soon after their procedure it may take a bit longer for others. Mostly, this is because several factors will affect the results of your Photofacial. This includes the area that you have treated, the type of Photofacial you chose, your skin tone, etc. We simply suggest that you remain patient while the treatment does its work. 

What is the Cost of a Photofacial?

Several factors can affect the cost of your Photofacial. This could include your location, the type of treatment you are choosing, your provider, etc. While an IPL session can cost between $400 to $600, we recommend that you do not think of treatments as single sessions. This is because a single session is likely not going to solve your skin issues. 

To get the best out of your Photofacial procedure, you should be considering having three or four sessions in a single treatment. This means that the price of your IPL Photofacial may truly be between $1600 to $2400. You must also consider that you may need multiple treatments throughout the year to maintain your rejuvenated look.