Beauty laser technician performing a cosmetic skin resurfacing session on a female patient, also called a photofacial

IPL Photofacials: What to Expect

Posted on September 30, 2022 by Dr Elenora Fedoneko

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light – in this case not from a fine-tuned laser, but from a broader range of light frequencies. These high-intensity light pulses pass deep into the skin layers and are able to treat a range of cosmetic problems, including fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, and rosacea.
The IPL energy is absorbed by red blood cells, and by melatonin, which is responsible for the skin’s pigmentation. The intense light energy causes damage to the blood cells and unwanted blood vessels, as well as breaking up melatonin cells, thereby smoothing out uneven skin pigmentation. IPL is also reported to stimulate collagen production.

The Treatment

Your practitioner will first apply a cooling gel to the areas being treated, and will also provide eye protection.
The light pulses are generated by a handheld device that is applied to the skin. You will probably feel the pulses as they occur, often described as feeling like a rubber band flicking the skin. Some light applicators also cool the skin at the same time, which can further reduce discomfort.


It’s common to experience side effects after IPL treatment – generally, the treated area experiences mild redness and swelling. Your skin’s pigmentation may also become discolored. The redness generally only lasts a few hours, while pigmentation changes may take a week or longer to completely dissipate. Pigmentation spots will typically first darken after treatment before they eventually fade away.

After Treatment

Most patients don’t experience any downtime after treatment, although they may decide to cover up any redness with makeup after a day or so.
Your practitioner will recommend avoiding sun exposure immediately afterward – this is especially important as the procedure will make your skin more sensitive (and easily damaged) than normal. Using sunscreen is also very highly recommended.


Most patients see all IPL Photofacial benefits a week or so after treatment. It’s generally necessary to perform anywhere from three to three to five monthly treatments (depending on the severity of your skin damage) before maximum benefits can be achieved.
The results of a full course of treatment can be expected to last for a year or longer. This assumes that you limit sun exposure, apply sunscreen regularly, and don’t allow your skin to become damaged again.
Research indicates that IPL Photofacials can actually provide a general rejuvenating effect to your skin – repeating the procedure annually has been shown to create ongoing long-term positive effects.

Your Laser Skin Care

Your Laser Skin Care practitioners are medically qualified and experienced in providing IPL Photofacial treatments. We can provide expert advice on the best ways to address your particular situation. We also have extensive experience with a wide variety of other non-invasive cosmetic procedures and can help you choose the safest, most effective, and most cost-effective way to achieve your cosmetic goals. Call us at (323) 525-1516 to schedule a free consultation, or visit us online for more information.
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Meet Dr. Fedonenko

Dr. Fedonenko is a member of the American College of Physicians and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

She completed her Residency at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1998 and has since specialized in Cosmetic Dermatology.

She obtained additional training in aesthetic medicine procedures soon thereafter, and the results of her extensive training and experience show in each and every patient’s face. She’s a doctor that can truly been trusted with your skin care and anti-aging needs.

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