Intense Pulse Light (IPL) Treatments Photorejuvenation | FotoFacial®

IPL, also called FotoFacial® and Photorejuvenation, is a breakthrough technology that has become one of the most popular cosmetic treatments. Both the pleasures and stresses of life, along with the simple passage of time, tend to cause our skin to appear older. Intense Pulsed Light is a non–ablative, non–wounding, laser treatment that can be customized to your individual needs and will provide superior cosmetic results and high levels of satisfaction. After only the first treatment, skin feels smoother and appears more even toned. The amazing thing is that IPL can be used on nearly any part of your body including your neck, hands and feet.

IPL treatments utilize intense visible pulsed light to effectively treat skin conditions. The experienced physician operating a pulsed light device can customize settings to select the wavelengths, number of pulses, duration of pulses, delay between pulses, and power delivered to best match the relative depth, size, and absorption characteristics of the imperfection. This flexibility and variability allows the knowledgeable physician to maximize results and minimize side effects—a much broader range of possible settings than available in any single or even in many combinations of laser treatments.

The process begins with a consultation and a treatment plan. A treatment schedule is designed for specific skin types and areas that will respond best to IPL technology. The informed consent process involves a discussion of the procedure, enumeration of risks, discussion of anticipated results, and presentation of alternative options. During this consultation, you have an opportunity to ask questions. Your understanding of benefits and risks is necessary for informed consent to take place.

An IPL treatment package consists of a series of five to eight treatments. A series of at least 5 treatments is needed to obtain the best results. Some patients may benefit from more treatments depending on the severity of the condition treated. Treatments are given 3–4 weeks apart.

What is an IPL treatment like?

Patients tolerate the non–invasive procedure very well. Those with more sensitive skin may use a topical anesthetic, applied 30 minutes before the procedure. Before treatment, a cold gel is applied to the area treated, and you may be given dark glasses to protect your eyes from the bright light. During the treatment, you will hear a beep each time the machine is used. Afterwards, for a few minutes or hours, the skin may be flushed and appear irritated. These initial effects usually fade within hours, but can occasionally last for a few days.

By dividing the full program into several treatments, the procedure provides gradual improvement. Skin texture becomes smoother, skin tone more even and pore size and wrinkles will be reduced. This procedure is for people who don't want to take time off to heal from deep laser resurfacing or multi–layer chemical peels.

Indications for Treatment:

  • Young patients with milder degrees of skin damage or early aging changes
  • Rejuvenation of skin of the face, neck, chest, arms or hands
  • Pigment changes/sun damage or aging skin
  • Ruddy skin appearances ("dyschromia")—rosacea, red chests and necks
  • Enlarged pores
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Telangiectasia (veins)
  • Unwanted freckles
  • Hyperpigmentation or brown spots
  • Sun–damaged skin
  • Acne scarring
  • Moderate to severe cystic acne
  • Pre–cancerous skin lesions
  • Abnormal pigmentation (melasma and hyperpigmentation)
  • Birth marks

Before Treatment:

  • The area should be cleansed and all makeup or creams remove
  • Depending on the skin and the skin condition, a topical anesthetic may be applied 20–30 minutes before treatment
  • Each treatment takes approximately 30 minutes
  • It is very important to avoid tanning before and after treatments
  • Complete the consultation and sign the treatment consent form

After Treatment:

  • Cold packs may be used for ten minutes after treatment for delicate skin
  • Immediately following a treatment, the skin may appear pink and flushed
  • Gentle cleansing and sun protection are important while the skin is sensitive
  • No bruising, swelling, discomfort or downtime
  • Shows gradual improvement with very low risk

IPL Photorejuvenation—Fequently Asked Questions

What are IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation?

The term "Photorejuvenation" refers to the non–ablative, non–invasive treatment of red and brown pigment that leaves a smooth skin texture and even complexion, yielding a more youthful appearance. IPL Skin Treatments are a safe, effective and popular way to improve the signs of aging from the face, neck, chest, arms and hands. This in–office procedure is performed by a physician or trained medical staff member and typically requires four to six sessions of about 20 minutes each, performed at three–week intervals.

What are the advantages of IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation?

In addition to effectively treating multIPLe symptoms and locations in each session, the IPL procedure is gentle, non-invasive and safe, requiring no downtime. In fact, many people even schedule their sessions during their lunch breaks. Additionally, IPL treatments are customized to each individual's specific skin type and condition, providing the best possible results.

Who is a candidate for this procedure?

Any man or woman who shows the signs of aged and sun-damaged skin is a candidate for IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation. A brief consultation with an IPL specialist should provide all the information needed.

How are IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation performed?

Before treatment, a cold gel is usually applied to the area to be treated, and patients are given protective eyewear. During treatment, the smooth, glass surface of the IPL handpiece is gently applied to the skin, delivering precise pulses of light to the area being treated. IPL treatments are usually pain–free, but an anesthetic cream can be used if the light pulses are uncomfortable. Some patients compare the sensation to a light pinch or the snap of a rubber band. Treatment sessions usually last about 20 minutes, and a complete program usually includes four to six sessions. After treatment, patients can immediately return to normal routines and activities. Occasionally evidence of treatment such as redness or blotchiness may last for an hour or two.

Why are multIPLe treatments necessary?

Several IPL treatments are required to provide gradual, natural-looking improvement with very low risk. Results usually last a year or more.

How much do IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation cost?

Costs vary depending on the portion of the body where the procedure is performed, the severity of the skin condition and other factors. Compared to other aesthetic procedures, IPL Skin Treatments are quite affordable. IPL is usually priced above microdermabrasion and some chemical peels, but less than laser resurfacing and cosmetic surgeries. IPL procedures are not covered by health insurance.

Say goodbye to the effects of sun damage, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and more. With the innovative Intense Pulsed Light (IPL™) photofacial/ fotofacial procedure, gentle skin rejuvenation is now easier than ever. IPLPhotorejuvenation is the latest in modern dermatology, allowing patients to transform red, blotchy skin into a radiant complexion. If you suffer from any of these problems, photofacial/fotofacial treatments may be the dermatological approach you've been looking for.

What Is IPL™ Photofacial/Fotofacial?

A photofacial, or "fotofacial," is a 30–minute procedure in which intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin. IPLPhotorejuvenation then causes collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis to constrict, reducing redness and age lines. The procedure involves only minimal discomfort, while the redness and swelling that sometimes occur after treatment disappear shortly. Most benefits of a photofacial/fotofacial occur gradually in the weeks following treatment. For even greater cosmetic enhancement, patients may also opt for a FotoFacial RF™, a procedure that combines radio waves with light waves to achieve excellent results.

IPL™ Photofacial Candidates

IPLPhotorejuvenation can be used to treat redness caused by acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and facial veins, as well as the fine lines and wrinkles caused by aging or sun damage. And if your skin has been discolored as a result of smoking, alcohol use, or hormonal changes, an IPL™ photofacial/fotofacial can smooth and refine your complexion. However, certain factors, including dark or deeply tanned skin, may make certain people ineligible for IPL ™. In consultation with a trained dermatologist, patients will be able to determine whether they are good candidates for Photorejuvenation.

Cost of IPL™ Photofacial Treatment

While IPLPhotorejuvenation is generally more costly than procedures like microdermabrasion and chemical peels, it is less expensive than most cosmetic surgery and laser skin treatment. Still, the price for a single photofacial/fotofacial session can be as high as $500 or $600. The overall cost of Photorejuvenation treatment will depend on the severity of the aesthetic issues involved as well as the number of treatments needed to resolve them.

How IPLPhotorejuvenation Works

During IPLPhotorejuvenation treatment, high energy light waves are used to reduce or eliminate many common effects of aging, including facial wrinkles and skin discolorations. IPL™ light also encourages the production of collagen, a natural protein that fills in wrinkles, making the skin smooth and supple. With each treatment, the results of IPLPhotorejuvenation become more pronounced. Five full–face IPL™ photofacial/fotofacial sessions spaced three weeks apart are normally required for optimal results.

Risks and Benefits of IPLPhotorejuvenation

IPLPhotorejuvenation involves relatively little discomfort and no downtime. Unlike many laser techniques, the procedure is nonablative, meaning no skin is removed during treatment. This contributes to the relatively easy recovery and low risk associated with the IPL™ photofacial/fotofacial, while allowing patients to return to their everyday routine immediately. However, patients should be aware of both the risks and benefits of Photorejuvenation; potential risks include bruising, blistering, scabbing, and changes in the skin's pigmentation, although most of these issues soon disappear.

IPL™ Photofacial—Fequently Asked Questions

Because the IPL™ photofacial/fotofacial is a relatively new approach to cosmetic enhancement, many people have questions about the procedure. Before undergoing treatment, it is important to clearly understand what Photorejuvenation can and cannot accomplish. You can get the best information by scheduling a consultation with a qualified cosmetic dermatologist. In the meantime, take a look at DocShop's answers to frequently asked questions about the IPL™ photofacial/fotofacial technique.

A unique facial rejuvenation option that produces dramatic results, laser skin tightening effectively reduces the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin for a smoother and more youthful appearance. Learn more about facial skin tightening below.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a non–invasive and non–ablative treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of vascular lesions including spider veins, port wine stains, broken facial veins, rosy cheeks, thread veins of the legs, mild acne spots, freckles and age marks, and facial lines and wrinkles. The procedure of rejuvenating aged skin is referred to as Photorejuvenation and may consist of a series of IPL treatments.

How does it work?

IPL systems work on the same princIPLes as other lasers in that light energy is absorbed into particular target cells with color (chromophores) in the skin. IPL systems are different lasers in that they deliver many wavelengths (or colors) in each pulse of light instead of just one wavelength. Most IPL systems use filters to refine the energy output for the treatment of certain areas.

IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The advantage of IPL therapy is its minimal downtime—a patient can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.

Before and After Recommendations?

Prior to the procedure your specialist practitioner will explain the process and clearly define your expectations of the treatment. It is important that the correct diagnosis has been made by your doctor prior to treatment.

IPL treatments are normally straightforward. Make sure the specialist practitioner has been properly trained and is experienced in IPL therapy.

  • Avoid sun exposure in the days and weeks before and after treatment.
  • A topical anesthesia may be applied to the area but is not usually necessary.
  • Cold gel is applied to the area being treated. IPL devices often have integrated cooling systems to prevent discomfort.
  • The smooth, glass surface of the IPL treatment head is applied to the skin, delivering precise pulses of light to the area being treated.
  • Treatment sessions usually last about 20 minutes.
  • A course of 4–6 sessions every 3–6 weeks may be needed to achieve desired results.
  • Most patients can return to work immediately after treatment.
  • Throughout the treatment session the patient must wear protective eyewear.
  • IPL treatments are relatively painless—the sensation has been likened to a light pinch or the snap of a rubber band, but some people find it distressing.
  • Results show gradual improvement over one–six weeks

Are there any side effects?

Side effects are minor and include:

  • Minimal pain during treatment (reduced by contact cooling and if necessary, topical anesthesia)
  • Skin turning pink and a little tender immediately after the procedure.
  • Sensation of a mild sunburn (redness, peeling, swelling) that may last a few days after treatment.
  • Rarely, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy and blistering can occur.
  • Sometimes the pigment cells (melanocytes) can be damaged leaving darker or paler patches of skin. White patches or scars are rarely permanent. Hair loss may occur.
  • 10% of patients may experience bruising.

What are IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation?

IPL Technology improves the appearance of photo–aged skin, removes age spots (sun–induced freckles), most benign brown pigments, redness caused by broken capillaries and gives the skin a smoother, more even tone through a process called Photorejuvenation for face and body. IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation help restore a more youthful appearance.

Are patients satisfied with the results of this gentler, more delicate approach?

IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation are recognized for a very high measure of patient satisfaction. Patients are very pleased with treatment results because the process treats the full face, neck, chest or hands, rather than addressing a single isolated area or imperfection. With a series of treatments, IPL technology can help restore a more youthful appearance without downtime.

Dermatology Online Journal: Volume 9 Number 1

Intense pulsed light technology and its improvement on skin aging using photorejuvenation parameters

Daniel Laury, M.D.
Dermatology Online Journal 9 (1): 5

IPL Intense Pulsed Light Technology: Dermatology Online Journal Vol. 9 No. 1


As seen in Table 2, there was a trend toward age reduction as documented by the patients. Importantly, all patients had subjective improvements. The lowest amount of subjective age reduction was 3.9 years (however this patient did not complete the full treatment) and the highest was 11.5 years. The average perceived age reduction was 1.9 years per treatment. Though the numbers of patients in this preliminary study were small, there was a trend toward improvements that were seen per visit; there was no threshold at which point patients began accumulating benefits. No complications were noted.

Table 2: N.B. (all ages expressed in years)


age at start

age at end

number of treatments

total age reduction

average age reduction per treatment






































Importantly, all patients showed improvement based on their calculation of perceived age. That indicates that there was no perceived worsening of aging signs and no perceived regression of improvements over the study period. Though using subjective data, bias in computing the improvements noted in this population is part of the endpoint.

Other studies have evaluated the outcomes after IPL treatments. Negishi et al. found a combined (physician and patient subjective improvement evaluation) 60% improvement in their evaluation parameters in more than 80% of Asian patients undergoing a similar study of five or more IPL treatments. In another study, also involving an Asian population, and also using a combined score, his team found a rating of "good" to "excellent" in 90% for pigmentation, 83% for telangiectasia and 65% for skin texture. Similarly, Kawada et al. found that 48% of patients had more than 50% of improvement and 20% had more than 75% improvement

On average, patients considering IPL photorejuvenation therapy may be told that there is a 2 year perceived facial age improvement per visit. The informed consent process requires a discussion about the anticipated benefit to treatment.

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