IPL treatment

IPL treatment (Intense Pulsed Light)

In this post I will share an IPL treatment diary. Our patient wanted the sun damage, pigmentation and freckles removed from her facial skin. We performed 1 treatment and a second one is planned.

What is IPL treatment?

Intense pulsed light  is a device for photorejuvenation. The device uses a flash handpiece to deliver and intense, broad spectrum of light (400-1200 nm). Filters are used to filter out wavelengths so that the resulting wavelengths can target different things, including melanin or oxyhemoglobin. These “chromophores” are heated to destruction and then reabsorbed by the body. Laser and IPL and similar, but laser uses only 1 wavelength, whereas IPL uses a spectrum of wavelengths.

What conditions can IPL  treat?

In cosmetic medicine, IPL can be used for the following conditions:

  • Pigmentation, sun damage and freckles
  • Thread veins /facial capillaries
  • Hair removal
  • Skin redness
  • Acne
  • Improving skin texture
  • Preventing skin ageing

IPL Case Study

Natasha is a typical Australian mother of 2 kids who has seen a lot of sun in her time, growing up at a beachside city. Her work in HR has always involved lot of time in her care driving.

She presented with 3 brown spots on her right cheek that she wanted removed. In Australia, the right hand side of the face is usually more sun damaged than the left due to the sun hitting that side while driving.

On examination, Natasha had a lot of sun damage and pigmentation all over her face, particularly on her cheeks, nose and forehead. She had freckles, pigmentation all over, and also redness, particularly on the nose.

It was recommended to Natasha that she have a series of Sciton BBL (the best quality IPL) treatments to her full face, to pick up the pigmentation and the redness.

The IPL procedure

After Natasha’s consultation, photographs were taken and she signed a consent form for the IPL treatment. The worst risks included hyper and hypopigmentation, blistering and scarring. These are very unlikely, but as it is a medical procedure, where things can go wrong, patients need to know to be able to make an informed consent. The more common side effects include pain, redness and swelling post procedure.

We chose to test patch Natasha before the treatment so that we could choose the settings to achieve the best results.

Test patching

Here we see the small area of successful test patching on Natasha’s right cheek. After seeing this progress, Natasha was very excited about her anticipated results with the full treatment.

IPL treatment test patch
IPL treatment test patch
The full treatment

Natasha came back in 3 weeks for her full face IPL treatment. She had noticeable redness and minimal swelling immediately after the procedure, see below:

Redness immediately after IPL treatment
Redness immediately after IPL treatment

Progress Images for week after IPL

Natasha kept an IPL treatment diary for the downtime associated for the week afterward.

IPL treatment diary Day 1, 3, 5 and 7
IPL treatment diary Day 1, 3, 5 and 7

As you can see in Natasha’s post IPL treatment diary, she had a red face immediately after treatment, then on day 1 the pigmented areas darkened. Over the next week to 10 days, all of these pigmented areas gradually flaked off.

Before and after 1 IPL treatment

Here are the results after 1 treatment of BBL /IPL. A second treatment is recommended to reach all of the “skip zones” that were missed. This is very normal to miss small areas during the first treatment, especially when using powerful IPL settings. The laser therapist has to be careful to not overlap when using higher settings.

Before and after IPL treatment for freckle removal
Before and after IPL treatment for freckle removal
Before and after BBL laser
Before and after BBL laser
IPL freckle removal sydney
After 1 treatment of IPL for freckle removal face
freckle removal IPL treatment sydney
Before and after 1 treatment of IPL

For more IPL before and after images, please see The Manse gallery

After IPL

After Natasha’s first IPL, we would like her to come back for a second and third treatment. Once every 1-3 months.

For maintenance after this, it is recommended that Natasha has 1-2 BBL treatments per year. This will keep her skin in top condition. Keeping is clear, smooth and youthful.

Cost of IPL

IPL cost is from $680 per treatment for full face. Please see current pricing. 

The IPL we use is a Sciton BBL.

Forever young BBL

For further information on this specialised version of IPL, please see Skincareblogger’s article on her experience of the treatment


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