IPL – Versatile, Cost effective, and Results driven

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, also known as a photofacial, is a broadband light therapy device that has been the trusted treatment option for photoaging by cosmetic and medical professionals since its first FDA approval in 1995. IPL is the quintessential treatment choice for patients looking to get rid of stubborn age spots, sun damage, and even unwanted hair. Since this device is so multifaceted, it fits in very well with any medical spa or practice that is familiar with aesthetic treatments. Introducing an IPL device to your business will make certain your providers can offer the finest treatment plan for your patients.

One of the best things about IPL therapy is how versatile the treatments are. IPL not only focuses on photodamaged skin (stubborn red and brown spots) and broken capillaries, but is also used as a hair removal device. These are a few of the most common aesthetic concerns patients come in with, and with IPL having such low consumables, it is a no-brainer for providers. It is important to have an understanding of how this therapy is used, what skin types can safely be treated, and of course how to recommend and price IPL treatments.

(Before and after)

Operating an IPL device is relatively simple, and the treatment can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. The hand piece is gently glided across the patient’s skin delivering pulses of broadband light to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. This is a very targeted device, meaning it is an excellent choice for treating specific problem areas. The average price for an IPL treatment can range anywhere between  $350-$1200 per session depending on the area. IPL treatments for pigment concerns can safely and effectively be performed on Fitzpatrick type I-III, possibly IV if the skin has been pre-treated. Treatments for laser hair removal can be performed on Fitzpatrick type IV-VI if proper treatment protocols are followed. 

When treating brown spots it is important to remember that the spots may appear darker for the first 3-7 days post-procedure. IPL therapy works to break up pigmented spots causing them to “flake off” after about one week. There is no downtime with IPL and dividing the full protocol into several treatments allows for gradual improvement with low risk. Typically 3-6 sessions are recommended; this all depends on the severity of the case.

Patients who are concerned with redness or broken capillaries will benefit

exponentially from this treatment because of the device’s ability to remove blood vessels below the skin’s surface. IPL treatments can be very efficacious for conditions like rosacea, one of the most popular stubborn skin conditions. Patients can expect some redness immediately following the procedure, and results can be seen over the new few days. Both brown and red treatment protocols should be spaced at least 4 weeks apart to allow the skin to heal in between sessions. 

Because of IPL’s ability to emit scattered wavelengths of light- it is an excellent candidate for laser hair removal treatments. Filters can be used to specifically target the melanin in unwanted hair resulting in permanent removal. Results from LHR can typically be seen 1-2 weeks post-procedure, with 6-8 treatments every 4-6 weeks being recommended for maximum termination.

IPL therapy can easily be instituted as the all-in-one treatment for patients coming in with multiple skin and aesthetic concerns. Not only is this treatment both safe and effective, but is also adjustable enough to be used on a wide variety of patients.


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Jamie Quiles