Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a tried and true method for handling a multitude of skin issues from acne to rosacea to hyperpigmentation. (It's even used for hair removal!) IPL utilizes a broad spectrum of visible light with various filters and the resulting light targets specific structures and chromophores like melanin in age spots/freckles or oxyhemoglobin in blood vessels. It is specifically because IPL uses a broad spectrum of light that it is able treat so many different skin concerns! 

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IPL is an often overlooked but incredibly  powerful method for treating acne! One of the reasons it works is that it kills the bacteria that causes acne. This is amazing because it allows you to avoid antibiotics and other prescription medications with nasty side effects. The other reason it works so well is that it destroys sebaceous glands and decreases the oil that clogs pores, feeds acne and leads to inflammation. It’s a win-win and monthly IPL treatments will have a dramatic effect!

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One of the quickest routes to removing sun damage and revealing younger-looking skin is the Photofacial. Not only do the the high energy light waves destroy irregular pigmentation, these heat producing waves encourage skin cell turnover and increase the rate of collagen production resulting in plumper, fresher, smoother skin. Together this makes your skin look years younger!

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Of all treatments for rosacea including prescription medication, IPL is the one that consistently produces results. So many other options just fall short. IPL’s high energy light waves are absorbed by capillaries which are the culprits in the redness. This destroys the capillaries and over the next few days to weeks, the vessels are absorbed and redness diminishes!


First, you should come for your treatment with a clean face. Having some moisturizer on is fine as long as it has no color. You’ll lie on your back on a massage table and your technician will cover your eyes with goggles to protect them from the flashing light. Then, depending on the goal of your treatment, your technician may or may not apply a cool gel. When the treatment begins, you’ll feel an intermittent stinging sensation. Does it hurt? Honestly, it doesn’t feel good – it feels like other laser treatments if you’ve ever had one and sometimes it is compared with rubber band snaps. But, the sting goes away immediately and a typical treatment only takes about 20 minutes. (It’s sooooo worth it!) Once the treatment is over, there is no real discomfort – only a mild sunburn-like feeling that may last for a few hours. It also tends to get a little easier if you get regular treatments.


One of the great things about these treatments is that there is no down time. You can reapply your makeup and return to work right away! You may experience some redness and swelling but it goes away in a few hours. (In a few cases swelling can be a bit more significant and taking an anti-histamine and sleeping with your head elevated can help.) If you had any dark spots or old acne marks, you may notice right away that they appear darker than before the treatment. And over the next couple of days following the treatment they will probably get even darker and more “peppered” looking. Don’t worry! In about 7-10 days this pigment will slough off revealing newer, more even toned skin underneath. If you had redness or broken capillaries you may notice that they’ve decreased even by the next day but they can take 3-4 weeks to be reabsorbed.


After your treatment you must be extra diligent about protecting your skin from the sun. Stay out of the sun as much as you can, wear a hat, DEFINITELY use a physical SPF. You may wear makeup if you need to to cover the spots so that no one notices them except for you. Last, avoid any retinoids, AHAs, chemical peels or harsh scrubs for a week after the treatment to give your skin time to recover.


Photofacials are not just limited to the face. These treatments can be performed on the chest or back, shoulders, even your legs or really anywhere that your skin is showing acne or signs of sun damage.