Frequently asked questions
What is IPL?
"IPL" stands for "Intense Pulse Light". Also know as a flash lamp device. It is not a laser. An IPL treatment can cater to many different skin concerns-we use our IPL machine to treat redness, discoloration, acne, aging and hair reduction on lighter hairs that our laser can’t isolate well. An intense dose of high-powered light travels into the skin and treats the problematic skin condition by attacking the chromophore (or pigmented target). IPL is polychromatic light energy so the extra benefit is in instances such as acne or aging, that same intense pulse light kills the acne causing bacteria also stimulates a burst of collagen induction in the skin, producing an anti aging effect. We use different filters and wavelengths to address a variety of skin concerns.
Does it hurt?
IPL feels less painful and more "shocking" due to the intensity and speed. There is a quick pulse of intense heat that lasts a fraction of a second, milliseconds technically, accompanied by a moderate warmth that feels similar to a sunburn. Depending on the chromophore selected, you may experience mild to severe erythema that will last between 1-3 days. A mild sunburn-like sensation is expected, you can apply ice packs (not direct ice) to the treated areas help feel more comfortable over the next couple days.
Is it safe for all skin types?
No, unfortunately. IPL is only safe for Fitzpatrick skin types 1-4. If you have too much melanin in the skin the IPL will focus on the skin as well and you can risk burns and blisters.
How many sessions will I need?
It depends on the chromophore and numerous other factors including location and size of the target.
Acneic clients should plan on visiting us a minimum of 4-6 sessions spaced out between 2 and 4 week intervals to obtain the benefits of p.acnes-killing IPL treatment. We recommend alternating with microneedling to help smooth out acne scars. We avoid active lesions during microneedling and treat the surrounding areas. Please see Microneedling FAQ on our website.
Clients seeking anti aging effects from IPL will notice tightening and lifting within a few days after treatment and should schedule IPL treatments intermittently to continue reaping the collagen producing benefits. The full benefits of collagen production is a slow process and can take up to 6 months post session.
What should I do after treatment?
It is imperative to wear an SPF of 45 or greater and avoided unprotected artificial or natural sun for 6 weeks post session. This prevents hyperpigmentation or adverse affects of IPL.
A mild sunburn-like sensation is expected. This usually lasts 1-2 hours but can persist up to 24 hours, individuals may vary. Mild swelling, tenderness and/or redness may accompany this.
Apply ice packs or gel packs (do not apply direct ice) to the treated area for 10-15 minute intervals every hour for the next four hours as needed. A topical anti-inflammatory can be used for redness and tenderness. An oral, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken to reduce discomfort, use according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Shower as usual. Treated areas may be temperature-sensitive. Avoid soaking in a hot tub of water. Avoid scrubbing, use of exfoliants, scrub brushes and loofah sponges until the treatment area has returned to its pre-treatment condition.
Do not pick, scratch or remove any scabs. Allow them to flake off on their own. Lesions are usually healed in 7-10 days. They will continue to fade over the next 6-8 weeks after treatment.
Until the redness has completely resolved, avoid all of the following:
Applying cosmetics to the treated area
Swimming, especially in pools with chemicals, such as chlorine
Ocean swimming and Hot Tubs/Jacuzzis
Excessive perspiration or irritation to the treated area
Sun exposure to the treated areas – to prevent skin color change