Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

What is IPL?

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL diminishes the appearance of pigmented or vascular lesions on the skin. It can be used on all parts of the body, including the face, arms, legs and chest or any area that shows discoloration as a result of sun exposure. This treatment aims to reduce the appearance of pigmented lesions and evens the skin tone.

IPL Pre-Treatment Preparation

  • Avoid sun exposure for at least two weeks prior to the treatment
  • Stop the use of of self-tanners at least two weeks before treatment, as tanned skin (real or fake) will affect the outcome of the treatment and will leave the skin looking blotchy
  • Stop using harsh skincare products for 1-2 weeks prior to the treatment. This includes the use of retinols and glycolic acid; use of these products too close to treatment will cause skin irritation.
  • On the day of treatment patients should wash the area to be treated so it is free of makeup, lotion, or any other skincare products. No moisturizer or sunscreen should be on the skin during treatment.
  • Arrive 1 hour prior to the appointment for numbing with a topical ointment.

What to Expect with IPL

This treatment yields minimal downtime. Mild swelling or flaking of the skin may occur, particularly swelling around the eyes. The most common (and expected) side effect is a darkening of the more superficial brown spots and areas being treating or bruising of vascular lesions that are treated (blood vessels). Darkening of superficial brown spots will flake off after about 7-14 days. Darkened brown spots or discoloration can be covered with make-up if desired.

IPL Post-Treatment Instructions

To minimize any possible swelling, sleep with the treated areas elevated above your heart to reduce swelling and apply cold compresses or ice packs to treated areas for 15 minutes every hour for the first two days. Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 50+ several times a day and avoid large amounts of sun exposure if at all possible to prevent discoloration of treated areas. If sun exposure is necessary, wear clothing that covers the treated area. Use of a gentle moisturizer at least twice a day is recommended to promote healing of the treated areas. Medicated skincare products, harsh cleansers, exfoliants, retinols, glycolic acid, and toners should be avoided until the treated areas heal. Makeup can be used after the procedure without any restrictions. A gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen should be used the first week. Should treated areas become crusted or flaky, it is extremely important that these areas are not picked in order to prevent scarring.




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To schedule an appointment, call (703) 356-5111.

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