My Opinion of the IPL Photofacial Treatment I Had (4 Treatment Sessions With Before/Afters)

Tags: woman age 45-54 photos side effects brown spots hyperpigmentation age spots

Procedure specific satisfaction rating


Performed 2015

Zwivel Rating

My name is Sara and I'm 49 years old. I decided to have an IPL treatment a year ago after I saw brown spots, blood vessels and age spots appearing on my skin. I also had some fine lines and freckles I was hoping this procedure would be able to treat.

IPL stands for intense pulsed light. Just like the name implies, an IPL photofacial treatment is an intense pulse of light directed at your face. The intense beam of light is supposed to improve the appearance of your skin texture. Unfortunately, that is not what I experienced.

I decided to have my treatment done at a nearby medical spa that was offering a deal - 4 treatment sessions for $600. Each treatment would be spaced 1 month apart, for a total treatment time of 4 months.

During my first treatment session, the aesthetician applied a gel to my face and then began my IPL treatment. As the machine passed over my face, it felt like a rubber band snapping on my skin for a split second. It hurt more by my hairline and around my nose. I only experienced mild discomfort in the other treatment areas. My entire treatment lasted and hour and then I was done!

When I returned home from my first treatment, I was a bit red, almost as though I had a light sunburn. I also had a slight stinging sensation on my skin. When I looked in the mirror, my skin appeared to be improving. My age and sun spots appeared to be getting pushed to the surface and sloughing off. I have to say, I was pretty happy after my first treatment.

The following day after my first treatment, the redness and stinging sensation had both diminished. My skin clarity appeared to be even better than the previous day. I was still quite happy!

A month later I went back to the spa for my second treatment. Just like the first time, the technician applied the gel and began zapping my face. Also like my first treatment, it hurt every time the IPL machine zapped me with light. It was so painful!

When I returned home after my second treatment, my skin was red and unlike after my first treatment, it appeared as though my spots had not improved. In the weeks leading up to my third treatment, I decided that the pain of the procedure was not worth the results I was seeing. I called the med spa and told them I was not happy with my results and thought the procedure was too painful to continue. The medical professional on the phone told me that I would have better results as my treatment continued and that they had a numbing gel they could use to mitigate the pain I experienced during the procedure. I decided to take her advice and continue with my treatments.

For my third treatment, the aesthetician applied a numbing cream. I must say, it made a huge difference in the pain I experienced in the treatment area during the procedure! It made it very bearable. Besides that, the treatment was the same. My fourth treatment was also the same.

After all my treatments were completed, I started noticing more dark spots. Unbeknownst to me, hyperpigmentation was a potential side effect of IPL treatment. Had I known that, I would have opted not to get an IPL treatment. I would also say my skin texture did not really improve. My pore size also remained the same (although no laser can treat pore size, so I should have known that).

I would say that if you're considering IPL, you should do a lot of research online about your provider and the treatment itself. Although I did not have the best experience with my treatment, I have read plenty of positive reviews online from people who were very happy with their results. I will say that my broken capillaries did improve, so I need to give IPL a little credit. However, there are plenty of other facial treatments that might work better than IPL. I know there are newer Fraxel laser treatments that offer great results. So please make sure you're absolutely certain you want a procedure before getting it!