IPL™ Photorejuvenation FAQs
IPL™ photorejuvenation, also known as IPL™ photofacial, is a procedure designed to stimulate and encourage healing and regeneration of the skin through the application of a broad-spectrum light. “IPL,” in fact, stands for “ intense pulsed light.” While this therapy is not as concentrated as laser treatment, it can nevertheless have incredibly beneficial effects on the skin.
What is intense pulsed light (IPL™) therapy?
Intense pulsed light therapy was invented by Dr. Patrick Bitters Jr. The IPL™ photofacial skin procedure involves the use of an intense beam of broad-spectrum light (as opposed to lasers, which operate within a very specific wavelength) that targets the dermis, the lower layer of the skin. The procedure simultaneously removes damaged and photoaged skin while stimulating collagen growth. IPL™ photorejuvenation therapy can improve the color, consistency, and texture of the skin all at once.
What does IPL™ photorejuvenation treat?
IPL™ photorejuvenation can treat a wide variety of skin problems. It can be used to remove red spots or diffuse redness and can help with acne or rosacea. IPL™ treatments can also help to smooth uneven skin texture, close large pores, and eliminate wrinkles by stimulating collagen growth.
With so many applications, it is no wonder that many consider IPL™ photorejuvenation to be the most versatile skin treatment available.
Are fotofacial, photofacial, and photorejuvenation the same thing?
Yes. These terms all refer to facial treatment based upon a common principle: heating and stimulating the dermis (the inner layer of the skin) while cooling and protecting the epidermis (the outer layer). There are a wide variety of technologies and procedures available for this type of treatment, however, and each works in a slightly different way.
Is IPL™ photorejuvenation safe?
IPL™ photorejuvenation is one of the safest light-based facial treatments available. Most patients experience little or no pain during the procedure. Some patients have reported that the light pulses feel similar to a light “snap” from a rubber band. There have been few reported long-term side effects of IPL™ photorejuvenation, and the most common side effects — redness, minor swelling, and inflammation — usually go away within a few hours to a few days after treatment.
What results can I expect after IPL™ treatment?
Immediately after your treatment, your face will appear slightly red or flushed, but this is completely normal. It will take several hours to a day or so for the treatment's results to become noticeable. The redness will fade, and you will see improvements more and more. Depending on the condition you are treating, your experience will differ. For example, if you are treating acne with IPL™ photorejuvenation, your skin may remain red for several days before you notice an improvement. If you are seeking to stimulate collagen growth, the redness may disappear sooner, and you will begin to see a smoother skin texture within a few days.
Though recovery from IPL™ photorejuventation is rapid, it is important to keep in mind that sunscreen is vital to ensuring the results of the procedure last as long as possible. Be sure to protect the treated area from the sun for at least a couple of weeks, either by covering the area or wearing strong sunscreen. Speak to your physician about the best way to do this. If the proper steps are taken to maintain the improvements, the results of your treatment may last up to a year or longer.
Are multiple treatment sessions recommended?
Depending on the area being treated and the severity of the problem, multiple treatment sessions may be recommended. For many problems, physicians will recommend between three and five treatments.
Are photorejuvenation and photodynamic therapy the same thing?
No. Photodynamic therapy usually refers to the use of a compound called a photosensitizer that is applied to the skin and activated by a light source. A good example of photodynamic therapy is Levulan® treatment. Levulan® contains Aminolevulinic Acid, a naturally occurring photosensitizer. When activated by a blue light, this compound shrinks the glands that cause acne and other skin problems.
Unlike photodynamic therapy, IPL™ photorejuvenation works by light alone; the only substance applied to the skin is an optional gel designed to lubricate and cool the skin. IPL™ photorejuvenation works by targeting the dermis, “tricking” the lower level of the skin into thinking it has suffered a minor injury, which stimulates rebuilding processes such as the regrowth of collagen. Though Levulan® and IPL™ photorejuvenation both help to rejuvenate the skin, they do so by different methods.
What is the average cost of IPL™ treatment?
IPL™ photorejuvenation cost usually runs between $300 and $600 per treatment. However, the exact amount varies depending on the area of the country in which the treatment is performed.
Are there side effects associated with IPL™ photorejuvenation?
Most reported side effects of IPL™ photorejuvenation are mild and resolve themselves within a few hours or days of treatment. The most common side effect is facial redness or flushing. Small capillaries may appear larger immediately following treatment as well — but don’t worry; this is common and will fade quickly. In rarer instances, mild bruising and swelling may occur, but this too will go away within a day or so. Permanent side effects from photorejuvenation are extremely rare. Learn more about the risks of intense pulsed light therapy.
What are the advantages of IPL™ photorejuvenation vs. laser treatment?
One of the greatest benefits of IPL™ photorejuvenation is that it can treat a wide range of skin problems. With IPL™ therapy, patients can undergo a single type of treatment for multiple skin conditions, rather than having to undergo several procedures, such as laser skin tightening and laser skin resurfacing. IPL™ photorejuvenation is usually less expensive than laser treatment as well. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the procedure, however, is that it is associated with a smaller risk of burns and scarring than laser treatment.
Have Further Questions? Consult a Physician in Your Area
If you’re interested in learning more about IPL™ photorejuvenation, contact a physician in your area. He or she will be able to discuss your goals and medical history with you and help you decide if intense pulsed light therapy is right for you.