IPL Photofacials

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Over time, sunspots, age spots, spider veins, rosacea, and other types of skin discoloration begin to appear. Most of these changes occur due to the natural aging process. As we age, our collagen depletes and the skin becomes thinner. The good news is that technology often finds a way to make up for these changes - with innovative methods like the IPL Photofacials.

*Video courtesy of Dr. Sidhu

What is the IPL Photofacial?

The IPL Photofacial treatment is a revolutionary way to rejuvenate the skin by using intense pulsed light to target areas of concern. IPL serves as a superior non-invasive treatment to help with anti-aging and improve the color and texture of skin.

The use of intense pulsed light with various wavelengths can stimulate collagen production in the skin and improve blood vessels activity. When appropriately applied, the results of IPL Photofacials are long-lasting and enhance the skin's appearance treating wrinkles, fine lines, brown spots, redness, sun damage, and rough texture.

IPL Photofacials have minimal discomfort; some patients experience slight tingling or warmth during their sessions. There is minimal downtime, allowing patients to continue with their normal activities after each treatment. The most common side effect associated with IPL is redness in the treated area, which usually subsides within 48 hours of the procedure.

IPL Photofacial benefits

Undoubtedly one of the most appealing benefits of an IPL Photofacial treatment is that your complexion will become more even and brighter. But its benefits don’t stop there, because this treatment can also:

  • Even out skin color & tone
  • Improve facial contour
  • Improve appearance of redness from acne
  • Diminish age spots (skin discoloration)
  • Stimulate collagen production
  • Help combat flushing and generalized redness

Procedure explained

The IPL treatment is an excellent way of using pulsed light to revitalize the skin. It works by targeting melanin, which is a significant component of the epidermis and hair follicles in the human body. It emits various wavelengths of light that penetrate deep into these structures, which stimulates collagen production in the skin. Skin tone becomes more even, and redness from blemishes diminish.

The IPL-Photofacial treatment is virtually painless and non invasive, making it favorable to people who are hesitant about receiving laser treatments. A minimum of three IPL treatments is recommended for optimal results, but more may be needed depending on the patient’s individual goals and how they respond to the treatments. Treatments are done every four weeks and should be done consecutively for best results. Downtime is minimal with this treatment and patients are free to resume their normal activities.

IPL vs traditional laser

IPL pre and post sun spots on face

In contrast to a traditional laser, the effect of IPL is not based on the effect of a certain wavelength but works with a whole spectrum of different wavelengths. The light waves emitted by this device are designed to target the hemoglobin, the red blood cells in the blood vessels, or melanin, the brown pigment in freckles and age spots.

The main difference between IPL Photofacials and laser treatments lies in the type of light used. IPL is a non-ablative procedure that uses visible to infrared full spectrum light to treat different skin issues. These treatments are usually safe on skin types 1 through 4 and require minimal downtime.

Unlike the wavelengths emitted from the IPL, laser treatments emit one coherent wavelength. The downtime after a laser treatment varies on the type of laser and treatment,  but can range from 2 to 7+ days. Unlike the IPL, which is only safe for lighter skin types, lasers such as the ND:Yag 1064 and the Pico are safe for all skin types.

IPL Photofacials and laser treatments each have advantages and disadvantages. It's important to consult with us to determine the best treatment option for you.

Who is a good candidate?

The best candidates for IPL skin treatments are people who have skin types I-IV. Those who have a darker complexion are not ideal for this procedure because of their naturally higher levels of melanin. IPL done on darker skin types could cause increased pigmentation (hyperpigmentation) or adverse effects such as burns. IPL may be more beneficial for some people rather than others, so it is imperative to consult with a VIVAA specialist to determine if this treatment is right for you.


  • IPL face treatment should not be performed on individuals with certain conditions such as active cold sores, a recent history of herpes or Keloid scarring, lupus, porphyria, or vitiligo.
  • Patients who have a heart condition, suffer from MS, or take any medications that affect the central nervous system must not have this treatment.
  • Pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant or are breastfeeding
  • The treatment is known to increase photosensitivity by 20%, so you must avoid sun exposure for at least 1-week pre-treatment, and 30 days after it.

Remember to inform your aesthetician if you are taking any antibiotics, as they may interfere with your IPL Photofacial results. Moreover, certain phototoxic reactions that are associated with topical medications may be exacerbated by IPL Photofacials.

The recovery

You can expect to see some mild dryness or peeling for one or two weeks due to apoptosis (a natural cell death process) of the surface layer of skin cells, which helps new cells arise from below, resulting in a more refined texture and a brighter complexion.

You should avoid exercising for about 48 hours following your treatment, as strenuous physical activity may cause you to sweat, and the combination of heat, moisture, and loose clothing could potentially inhibit proper healing.

Protect your skin from sunlight (even after your treatment is complete) since this can impact the results of your photofacial or accelerate any pre-existing sun damage. You should wear protective SPF 30+ sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days, as daily exposure to UV radiation is unavoidable without protection.

To achieve the best results from your photofacial treatments, make sure to adhere to the post-treatment instructions your VIVAA esthetician provides you with.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about this topic, don't hesitate to contact us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

IPL in combination with other treatments

The IPL treatment alone is great for improving the tone and texture of the skin. When combined with other procedures such as PRP microneedling, fractional non-ablative laser facial, or chemical peels, you'll get optimal results. You will achieve further benefits of improved radiance, even skin tone, collagen stimulation and overall facial rejuvenation.


Do I need to wear sunscreen during the treatment, and for how long after?

It is imperative to use a sunscreen that has a SPF 30+ that has UVA and UVB protection before, during, and after treatments. Sunscreen should be a part of your daily skin care regimen and should be applied in the morning and reapplied every two hours after that for the duration of the daytime.

Will the IPL Photofacial remove or shrink any existing moles?

Moles are not affected by this procedure because they are located deep beneath the surface of your skin, where they will not be affected by the pulsed light energy.

Is redness normal after my IPL treatment?

It is not uncommon to have some redness in the treated areas. This redness usually subsides over the next 48 hours but can linger around for up to one week after each session. If redness persists longer than one week, please consult your doctor because you might have an allergy to the laser, or a laser intensity adjustment is required for future sessions.

How soon will I see the results?

You should start seeing significant results after three sessions, but you may notice some improvement before then.

How many sessions will I need?

Depending on the patient, their current skin condition, unique needs and goals, the number of treatments will vary. A series of three treatments, spaced four weeks apart, is a good starting point for new patients. It is not uncommon to need more than three treatments, and many patients require maintenance treatments (one to two a year).

Patient Review
"Thank you for Exceptional Service! I am so impressed with this medical staff and the Professional ism I experienced in getting my IPL! The staff was knowledgeable friendly and took excellent care of me! I am telling you all this because I have been to other places to get IPLs and this was by far the BEST!! Thank you to Justine and Jordan; great customer service!! And VERY VERY REASONABLE PRICE WITH FANTASTIC RESULTS!!!"
Gracie Mittag

We Use Nitrox for Pain Relief

Nitronox_Detail_Breathing_at VIVAA

Nitronox is a proven safe and effective treatment for managing any pain and anxiety you might feel during treatments. The Nitronox system delivers a mix of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen directly to you on an as-needed basis to provide comfort. This treatment enhancement is ideal for short, minimally-invasive treatments such as tattoo removal when pain is a concern.

You won't need this extra comfort for most of the services at VIVAA, but we want you to have it available for you should it be helpful.

Questions and Answers about IPL (by Dr. Sidhu from RealSelf)

I am considering laser treatment for facial redness. I have fair skin.

Q: I am concerned about facial redness, as if my skin were always irritated. I have also had melasma in the past, and I have fair skin.

A: Its a great tool to target the reds and if you are fair skin IPL will work great for you. Be prepared to have more than one treatment session though.

Are my results normal after an IPL Photofacial?

Q: I had the treatment Friday afternoon and it is now Sunday. I feel like I look like a clown. My eyes are swollen and I have lots of dark areas on my face. My skin feels very rough and dry. I know some of this is to be expected, but from everything I’ve read this isn’t normal.

A: Swelling is common after IPL treatment. Without the pre procedure pictures its hard to comment but I would recommend a good sun screen and just giving it more time to declare itself.

Can IPL treatment remove sun damaged skin?

Q: Hello doctors. Over the years I've received high amounts of sun damage from playing a lot of outdoor sports. I'm primarily concerned with the stubborn dark patches of skin on my cheeks as well as the white spots near my chin. Several plastic surgeons have recommended 4% hydroquinone but I am not comfortable with this option. Looking to possibly do IPL to fix the issue. Thank you in advance!

A: Great question and concern. Yes laser treatment can help with the dark spots and also gives your skin a refreshed look. The best recommendation is to have a consultation to evaluate your areas of concern and also to look at your skin type and see if you are a good candidate for the laser/IPL treatment.

Which IPL is best?

Q: Which IPL is best for broken capillaries on the face: Lynton Lumina or Lumecca?

A: IPL works great for small little veins on face. The key is right settings on the machine and the company really doesn't matter much. Ask for the clinic's personal pre and post photos to get an idea.

IPL and blood vessels and migrane

Q: If IPL effects blood vessels, can it be a bad idea for a migraine sufferer to undergo IPL?

A: IPL can be used to treat the small little blood vessels on the face and it would not affect the migraines. We do provide laser protective wear and also can close your eyes to add additional protection to avoid stimulations that can trigger the migraines.

IPL with Zoloft?

Q: Is it safe to have IPL for facial veins whilst taking Zoloft?

A: Facial veins in our practice are treated based on the size. Very small ones can be successfully treated with IPL even if you are on zoloft. Bigger ones we treat with sclerotherapy and the real large ones can sometimes be removed with small stab incisions.

IPL and rhinoplsaty

Q: Is IPL safe for someone that has rhinoplasty done? I have redness on my face, few lines of spider veins and some unevenness.

A: There is no restriction to do IPL after rhinoplasty as long as you have healed completely. The skin type and area of concern has to be evaluated before doing IPL and if the reds and browns are something that can be treated with IPL there won't be any issues with rhinoplasty done already.

When getting an IPL is cooling gel necessary?

Q: All of the IPL's I have gotton since 2016 use cooling gel. One time, the MD did not and I was left with burning for about 2 hours and red dots all over my face.

A: Great question. We don't use cooling gel during the IPL procedure since our machine has cooling tip. We do use ice packs after the procedure for comfort. The burning feeling and red dots after IPL is common.

Is laser or IPL worth it to remove moles and freckles?

Q: I have had freckles on my face and shoulders since I can remember I also have a bunch of moles would getting rid of them all be worth it is there a chance of them coming back I am only 20 years old I have very pale skin

A: Great question. Depending upon your skin type laser devices can be used to take care of the dark and red spots and also freckles. As far as moles are concerned its probably not the best way to take care of them with laser. Either way the best thing is to get a consultation to see what your areas of concern are so they can be addressed the correct way.

IPL, more hair growth than before

Q: I had uneven skin tone and pigmentation on my upper lip my 3 sessions are done 2 are remaining but my facial hairs have re grown and it's more than before. I was having ovarian cysts as off now it is cured I was taking novelon for my cysts can you please suggest something good which will help my facial hair to reduce

A: Great question. Although IPL is used some places for laser hair removal but not Ideal. I recommend a formal consultation with practice that uses specific lasers like YAG or alexandrite for laser hair. Another important part is how to prep the hair follicle before treatment and then you will need few sessions to completely get rid of the unwanted hair and a touch up here and there.

IPL for little facial veins or other options? What is the best option when it comes to both cost and recovery?

Q: I have redness from these little broken capillaries around my nose and cheeks and want them removed.

A: Great question and in my practice I tailor the treatment plan according to the size of the veins so its very important to have a consultation. Now as per your description surface laser would work well for you and should take care of those prominent veins but might need more than one treatment and different hand piece and settings depending upon how you respond to first treatment

IPL and melasma

Q: Is IPL a good treatment for Asian skin with melasma?

A: Great question and an opportunity to educate others too. First of all in our practice if someone is willing to come in for a consultation we not only just look at the skin to see the skin type but we also try to get some objective data to support that and we can do that with skintel device. For melasma heat/light therapy can make it worse. In our practice we try not to do IPL for the same since it can make it worse. there are handful patients who are willing to take a risk but generally we try to avoid. Topical skin products would be the best option.


To rejuvenate your skin, choose the double board-certified surgeon at Vein, Vascular, Primary Care & Aesthetic Associates. For more information or to make an appointment, call us today at 425-250-9999. For your convenience, you can use our online Request an Appointment form.


Dr. Sidhu
Dr. Ramandeep Sidhu

Author - Dr. Ramandeep Sidhu

SPECIALTIES: Percutaneous aneurysm repair, endovascular treatment of peripheral arterial disease, treatment for varicose veins, open vascular surgical procedures, deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism treatment and aesthetic services.


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