What is IPL or Intense Pulse Light, Photo Rejuvenation and PhotoFacial and what does it treat? The Dermatologists and Skincare Specialists at Advanced Specialty Care in Connecticut created this IPL Treatment Guide to answer some of the most common IPL Treatment questions we receive and to explain the entire Intense Pulse Light treatment process from consultation to post-treatment so you’ll know exactly what to expect during your IPL treatment!
IPL, also known as Intense Pulse Light, Photo Rejuvenation and PhotoFacial, is a non-laser, light source that delivers a pulse of different wavelengths of light to your skin that targets pigmentation and blood vessels.
The intense pulse light targets damaged skin to reverse sun damage, correct pigmentation and complexion concerns and restore a more youthful appearance.
Dermatologists have been using IPL for over 10 years and it’s considered a safe and effective option for treating skin concerns such as acne, sun damage, rosacea, brown spots and general anti-aging.
At Advanced Specialty Care, our highly skilled Dermatologists and Skincare Specialists have been successfully and safely treating patients using IPL, Intense Pulse Light, Photo Rejuvenation for several years
What Does IPL/Intense Pulse Light Treat?
The Dermatologists at Advanced Specialty Care use IPL or Photo Rejuvenation, to treat a wide variety of skin conditions including:
- Broken facial capillaries
- Ruddy, blotchy complexion
- Effects of sun damage
- Age spots
- Sun-induced freckles
- Uneven skin tone
How does the IPL work?
Different wavelengths of light are pulsed over the treatment area to specifically target blood vessels (hemoglobin) and pigmentation (melanin). Over a course of approximately 3-4 IPL treatment sessions, the wavelengths of light work to destroy skin damage and to reduce enlarged blood vessels and abnormal pigmentation resulting in, on average, a 70-90% improvement in redness, brown spots and skin tone.
Before your IPL treatment, you’ll have a consultation with a Dermatology provider to discuss any skin conditions, rashes, sensitivities, medications, autoimmune problems or other medical issues. You’ll be asked several important questions which are used to tailor the IPL sessions to your skin type and sensitivities. IPL consultations are available at Advanced Specialty Care’s Connecticut Dermatology offices in Danbury, Norwalk, Ridgefield and Stamford.
Is IPL Safe?
In the hands of trained medical provider, IPL/Intense Pulse Light treatments are very safe however, when used incorrectly, IPL can have adverse effects because of the complexity of the IPL machine and the various wavelengths uses. At Advanced Specialty Care, all IPL patients have a consultation and are evaluated by a medical provider before they receive treatment and all treatments are performed under physician supervision.
What Happens During an IPL Treatment at Advanced Specialty Care?
During the actual treatment session, your eyes will be covered and a protective layer of a cool, ultrasound gel will be applied to your skin. The tip of the IPL handpiece will be placed on your skin over the treatment area and a light will be pulsed through.
Depending on the condition being treated, multiple sessions may be needed and are done 4-6 weeks apart.
Each treatment only takes around 20 minutes per area. If you’re having multiple areas treated during each session, you can expect your appointment to last more than 20 minutes.
Discomfort is minimal and the treatment is often described as feeling like a mild heating of the skin.
Before Your IPL Treatment at Advanced Specialty Care
- Meet with of our Dermatology providers, Dr. Kenneth Egan, Sarah Tullo, APRN or Dr. Rand Werbitt, for a consultation to discuss your individual IPL treatment.
- Avoid sun exposure, tanning beds and self tanner products for 4-6 weeks before and during treatment. Using IPL over tanned skin can cause hypopigmentation since the wavelengths of light are designed to specifically target melanin. If you are tan you will need to postpone your treatment.
- Use broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection that is at least SPF 30 or above. Sunscreen should be applied before, during/in-between treatments and after treatments are completed.
- Discontinue use of Retinol or Hydroquinone (if treating face) and sun sensitive medications such as certain antibiotics, one week prior to treatment.
- Be sure to follow any additional instructions you received during your consultation.
After Your IPL (Intense Pulse Light) Treatment
After your IPL treatment at Advanced Specialty Care, you can expect mild redness or swelling but there’s no downtime which means you can resume your day immediately after treatment.
What to Expect:
- Redness and swelling of the skin after treatment is normal and may last for an hour to a few days. You may apply a cold compress or ice pack for the first 24 hours after treatment to help reduce this.
- Freckles and sun spots may initially and temporarily become darker and then scab, crust and flake off. This is normal and expected. A topical antibiotic ointment may be ordered by your provider and should be used as directed.
- While uncommon and extremely rare, if your skin blisters or becomes painful, you should call your provider immediately.
Steps to Take After Treatment:
- Broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection is very important and sunscreen should be applied before leaving the office after your treatment. If you don’t have sunscreen with you, please let your provider know.
- Makeup can be applied immediately following treatment and gentle skin care can resume the same day.
- Don’t scrub or scratch treated area.
- Apply cool compress or ice for 24 hours if swelling occurs.
- Avoid exfoliants, aggressive cleansers and scrubs.
- Facials can resume two weeks following IPL treatment.
- Hair removal can resume two weeks following IPL treatment.
The interval between follow-up evaluation/treatment is four to six weeks.
Dr. Ken Egan, Sarah Tullo, APRN, and Dr. Rand Werbitt provide complete adult and pediatric dermatology care at Advanced Specialty Care’s dermatology offices in Danbury, Ridgefield, Norwalk and Stamford, CT. Same-day dermatology appointments are also available in our Danbury, CT office.