IPL Rejuvenation/

Treatments with IPL (also called IPL Rejuvenation or Photofacial) are a great way to treat pigmentation caused by sun damage on your face, neck, chest, hands and arms. We have experience with this technology over the past 20 years and have perfected these non-invasive treatments.

Evidence of sun exposure can show up as blotchiness, freckles, brown pigment, and small blood vessels (telangiectasia) on your face, neck, and chest and even brown spots on the backs of your hands. IPL is the perfect way to treat sun damaged areas!

IPL photofacial in Boulder CO

What is IPL?

The primary goal of IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is to make your skin tone or color more even. It was approved by the FDA in 1995, and is a quick and powerful flash of light that is similar to a laser. But instead of a single wavelength of light as with a laser, IPL uses a broad spectrum of light that is selective for pigment and small blood vessels (or redness). The light energy penetrates just below the skin’s surface and destroys either the brown pigment or red blood vessels – but leaves your surrounding normal skin alone.

IPL photo facial for sun spots available at Evolution Dermatology

The Benefits of IPL Treatments:

Anyone with photodamage that appears as blotchiness, discoloration, brown spots, or small blood vessels (telangiectasia) could benefit from IPL procedures. Additionally, one of the most gratified groups of patients that see results are those with rosacea, a type of adult acne and skin inflammation. The IPL can reduce the acne component of rosacea, telangiectasia, generalized redness, and even flushing. The bottom line is that flushing, small vessels, brown spots, discoloration and acne can be improved with IPL.

A side benefit from multiple treatments (approx. 3-5) with IPL is that it also can help reduce pore size and improve skin texture and laxity by promoting collagen production. The light not only has an impact on the surface of the skin but also heats the cells in the deeper layer of skin. These cells, called fibroblasts, are stimulated to produce more collagen, which improves texture and skin laxity.

Areas That Can be Treated with IPL:

Your face, neck, chest, backs of hands, and sometimes arms (depending on your skin type – you must have fair skin for the arms).

What to Know Prior to Your IPL Treatment:

Make sure you don’t have tanned skin (even a fake one), as that’ll mess with the machine’s ability to target the unwanted pigment. And it helps NOT to wear makeup when you arrive for your appointment (especially mascara – it tends to get everywhere with the eye shields).

IPL treatment for sun spots on hands in Boulder CO
What to expect before your IPL in Boulder CO at Evolution Dermatology

What to Expect before IPL:

You will be asked to arrive about 15 minutes before your treatment time and topical numbing cream will be placed on the area to be treated. Once you are comfortable and numb, I will take the cream off and place eye shields over your eyes. Next cold gel (actually ultrasound gel) goes on the area. I’ll talk to you during the procedure so that you know what is going on (since you have on eye shields).

The IPL handpiece has a clear rectangular, flat crystal that is placed on your skin with each pulse of light. The pulse is a hot, sharp snap. And I won’t lie – it hurts a bit, but is mostly startling because of the bright light. It takes about 15-20 minutes for a full face to be treated. Sometimes I will use multiple passes and settings depending on what we are treating.

After the treatment, I’ll take off the gel, remove the eye shields, clean your face (or whichever area we are treating) a bit and rub on a soothing firming mask. Lastly, I add a tinted mineral sunscreen before you leave. If you bring makeup, you can also put that on before you are on your way.

What to Expect After the IPL Treatment:

This is what your brown pigment/spots may look like after the treatment. Almost like coffee grounds. Makeup can be applied on top because the skin is not broken at all. This is what your brown pigment/spots may look like after the treatment. Almost like coffee grounds. Makeup can be applied on top because the skin is not broken at all.

Immediately after the treatment the area will be red (like a sunburn) in some areas and any brown pigment or spots will look darker brown. But the advantage is that there is NO broken skin. NO scabs or open areas to care for. So ultimately that means there is little to no downtime. The red areas will look better in a few hours. Any of the brown pigment will turn darker brown and the next day will be small crusts that look similar to coffee grounds. The darker areas will last 7-10 days before falling off or fading away.

Very rarely, someone will experience swelling under their eyes and upper cheeks the next morning after the treatment. If this happens, it may last 5-7 days at the most. Another rare possibility is a bruise. This can happen when blood vessels are treated, but resolves on its own in a few days.

IPL treatment for sun spots in Boulder CO
IPL treatment for better skin in Boulder CO

Are There Negative Side Effects or Complications?

IPL is safe and the technology has been perfected over the 20+ years it has been around. But for an operator who isn’t experienced with using IPL, it can be tricky because the IPL uses heat. If a wrong setting or energy intensity is used, you could end up with burns that can cause permanent discoloration and scars. We at Evolution Dermatology, through extensive training and experience have the knowledge to know how to avoid such situations.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Some people see great results after the first session, but usually 3 to 5 sessions are recommended, one month apart.

How Do I Maintain My IPL Results?

To maintain results, it is recommended to have an IPL treatment once to twice a year.
Of course, for maintenance, it’s also important to protect your skin from the sun by wearing SPF 30 to 50 always!