IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and is a non-surgical, non-invasive cosmetic procedure. Sometimes called Photofacial, IPL is effective for improving the appearance of:

  • Uneven skin tone, including hyperpigmentation
  • Sun damage and sun spots
  • Age spots or liver spots
  • Freckles
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Spider veins (broken capillaries)
  • Excess body hair
  • Scars
  • Enlarged pores

While the IPL is most frequently used on the face, it can also be used on other parts of the body. IPL is frequently referred to as a laser treatment, but it is not technically a laser. It uses multiple frequencies of light, while most lasers use a single frequency of light.

What to Expect from IPL

A local anesthetic cream is first applied to minimize any discomfort, followed by a cooling gel. The IPL instrument, which is smooth and handheld, is then gently applied to the treatment area. A rapidly pulsed light is emitted through a glass prism, rejuvenating damaged skin cells. IPL is highly targeted so that only the skin to be treated is affected, leaving the surrounding skin intact. The procedure usually takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the size of the areas to be treated.

The doctor adjusts the intensity of the light based on the color and condition of your skin, which makes the procedure more comfortable than some other treatments. For this reason, IPL is safe for most all skin types.

You may require a few treatments to achieve the results you want, and you can safely repeat IPL every 30 to 60 days. Dr. Matarasso will advise you how often you should have your treatments based on the condition of your skin and results you wish to achieve.

Recovery from IPL

IPL requires no real downtime or recovery period. You can return to work and apply makeup immediately. Your skin may be slightly reddened, however, and you may experience some mild inflammation.

In the event of discomfort, you can take ibuprofen and/or use an ice pack. Once the healing process has completed, which usually occurs within a few hours to a couple of days,  your skin will look clearer, smoother, and brighter.

Be sure to wear sunblock when you are outside, both to protect your skin after IPL, which will increase your sensitivity to sunlight, and to avoid sun damage and hyperpigmentation in the future.

Other procedures that treat some of the same issues include Fraxel and microdermabrasion. Dr. Matarasso can advise the best procedure for you to achieve the outcome you want. Visit our Facial Vein Removal to learn more about how the IPL and laser treatment can rid you of unsightly spider veins.

IPL is a safe, non-invasive treatment that can improve the overall look and feel of your skin.

Contact our office at (415) 362-2238 to find out more about IPL in San Francisco.