What is IPL?

If your skin is in need of rejuvenation because of skin discolorations caused by environmental conditions or genetics, or if you just want to improve the overall appearance of your skin, IPL treatment may be just right for you.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), or photofacials, target specific damage that has occurred in the skin over periods of time, such as sunspots, pigmented acne scars, broken capillaries, and overall skin redness associated with rosacea. IPL effectively restores overall youthfulness by helping to even out natural skin tones.

In addition to the hands and face, another extremely common area treated with IPL is the hands. Ask any makeup artist, dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, or beauty guru how they can guess a person’s age despite having a young and youthful face. Their secret? It’s all in the hands! So many people spend thousands of dollars on makeup, plastic surgery, botox, facials, peels, or anything to slow the aging process but they don’t think about treating their hands—something that makeup can’t cover up and an area that is seen every day!

How does it work?

IPL uses a range of wavelengths to penetrate the skin to treat effectively red and brown skin discolorations. IPL can be safely performed on the face, neck, hands, and chest. The wavelengths that penetrate the skin also stimulate collagen remodeling which leads to healthier look skin, and has been proven to shrink pores and improve the tone of the skin. The treated area then flakes off when your body goes through its natural and constant process of exfoliation. At the same time, collagen and elastic fibers are stimulated, which results in a visible improvement of your skin’s tone and overall appearance.

What does it treat?

-Skin discoloration and blemishes (sun spots)

-Visible signs of aging (age spots and freckles)

-Spider veins


-Pigment problems like broken capillaries and rosacea

-Hemangiomas (a benign tumor of blood vessels that forms a red birthmark)

What is the process like?

IPL is a fast and effective in-office procedure with no downtime and minimal pain.

-Before: Many offices will offer a numbing cream to be applied 30 minutes before to ensure comfort to the face. Prior to treatment, the patient will be given protective eye wear to prevent any damage from the light source.

-During: You can expect a warm sensation feeling during the procedure, and the treatment will include the application of a cooling gel to all treated areas.

-After: IPL has no downtime but it is important to know it is not uncommon to have a little swelling in the treated areas as well as a “flushed” look for the first 24 hours after the procedure. All skin types can respond differently, but generally speaking the recovery period is 2-5 days. One can expect to see a noticeable difference around 1 week after the procedure.

I heard IPL can make you dark spots look darker? Is that true?

-Many patients are not educated enough about the procedure and what they can expect after, it is important to know dark spots WILL LOOK DARKER after the procedure at first. This happens for around 4-7 days post-procedure, but when your skin goes through its natural cycle and flakes off is when you will see improvement.

Can you bruise from the procedure?

-While bruising is not very common, if a vascular lesion is targeted in a specific area you may develop temporary bruising! Vascular lesions bruising with IPL is very common.

Anticipated Results:

-For the best results, several treatments are needed (usually 5 – 6). The treatments will be performed every few weeks to provide gradual, long-lasting results. In general, the heavier your skin blemishes, the more treatments you’ll need. While IPL treats existing skin problems, it doesn’t prevent new ones from developing. For instance, if you get treated for sun-damaged skin, you’ll still need to take steps to prevent sun damage in the future. Your results will last longer if you take good care of your skin by using a good antioxidant and sunscreen, as well as avoiding sun exposure as much as possible.

IPL is one of many esthetic services offered at the Medford, OR location of Peak Medical Clinic. To learn more about our services, including IPL, or to request an appointment online visit our website at

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