Home » Skin Care » Facial Skin Care » Pigmented Skin

What Is an Intense Pulsed Light Facial?

Intense Pulsed Light

  • Used mostly for hair removal initially, intense pulsed light facials can also be used to reduce the appearance of birthmarks, other superficial skin issues and as an anti wrinkle skin care treatment
  • Not only does pulsed light facial technology help eliminate issues, but it works to stimulate the production of , giving the skin a more youthful and supple appearance
  • The risk of developing sun damaged skin is increased when using pulsed light facial technology because it increases the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light


If you’re looking for an improved method of making your facial skin look younger and fresher, an intense pulsed light (IPL) facial might be the best choice. This newer treatment can be a great option for many people, especially a number of people whose skin tone may make it difficult for them to have other types of procedures completed.

Intense Pulsed Light Facial Basics

Five years ago, the FDA approved the pulsed light facial procedure for use as a hair removal method. Since then, the usage for the procedure has expanded to include improving the texture of the skin and eliminating some superficial problems, including wrinkles, birthmarks, freckles, age spots, and more.

Unlike laser treatments, the light used in this process is not monochromatic and heavily concentrated. However, the pulses are high-intensity. Different pulses are used to reach deeper into the skin for different skin problems. Different wavelengths are used to treat different types of skin problems, too. For example, if you have a port wine stain that needs treatment, the dermatologist may use wavelengths which are absorbed by red because this will allow the light to do its work in that area of the skin without affecting the rest of the surrounding skin.

One dermatologist conducted a study on 57 of his patients using pulsed light facial technology and found that 89 percent were satisfied with the results. Plus, the procedure not only helps eliminate problems with your skin but also can give it a plumper look by stimulating collagen production.

Candidates for IPL Facial Treatments

Almost any skin tone can be treated using this procedure. However, some darker-skinned ethnicities may have less success than people with lighter skin. Also, anyone who is prone to changes in skin pigmentation might want to avoid the procedure because it could change their skin color in the affected area. These are concerns to discuss with your dermatologist before choosing to have the procedure completed.

If you are diabetic, chances are you will not be able to have an intense pulsed light facial. That’s because the light does wound your skin and since diabetics have problems healing effectively this would not be a recommended course of action. However, you may be able to discuss the option with your dermatologist and physician.

The Process Itself

The first step will be a consultation. Generally, the physician will do a spot test on your skin using the pulsed light to make sure you won’t have a negative skin reaction and to give you an idea of what it will feel like. The consultation and the test do cost so be prepared for the expense.

The procedure itself will be performed in the doctor’s office. He or she may apply some type of numbing agent to your skin to minimize your discomfort during the procedure then the area will be covered by a gel and glass prism. The light is sent through the prism to treat the problem.

Generally, one treatment is not going to be sufficient to deal with the problem. You’ll usually need to come back every three to four weeks for a couple of treatments. Each time the pulsed light facial will become a bit more intense. The intensity is slowly increased to prevent damage to your skin and to make sure you can tolerate the treatment.

After each treatment, you may see some redness and puffiness in the treated area but you can go right back to doing whatever you want, as long as you keep the area away from ultraviolet light because it is more sensitive.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “What Is an Intense Pulsed Light Facial?”

  1. 1
    Tammy Says:
    Because only one session is required to show results, this is definiely one of those treatments that I would be willing to try for myself.