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Intense Pulse Light Treatment Therapy (IPL) Review

Updated on September 10, 2014

What is IPL?

I first heard of Intensive Light Treatment (IPL) from my dermatologist about 6 months ago, at the time I was looking to have some larger sun spots (solar lentigo) removed from my face and neck. I had become accustomed to having liquid nitrogen applied to these spots, a quick and effective method of removing these brown spots, but the dermatologist highly recommended an IPL treatment instead. She explained that since I have a larger area of sun spots, an IPL treatment would be much more effective. She explained that liquid nitrogen is best used for a few sun spots, but that IPL is ideal for a larger area of lentagos.

Before IPL Treatment

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Solar Lentigos are visible on cheeks and neck before IPL treatmentHere is my photo after 2 IPL treatments
Solar Lentigos are visible on cheeks and neck before IPL treatment
Solar Lentigos are visible on cheeks and neck before IPL treatment | Source
Here is my photo after 2 IPL treatments
Here is my photo after 2 IPL treatments | Source

Many words, one meaning

  • Sunspot
  • Liver spot
  • Lento senilis
  • Solar lentigo
  • Old age spot
  • Senile freckle

all refer to the same thing

How Bad are my Sun Spots?

While I didn’t consider the larger sun spots to be very dark or large, they bothered me. I noticed them every time I looked in the mirror. I first began to see these spots around the time of my first pregnancy and assumed they were the mask of pregnancy. I now realize that they were simply signs of aging and sun exposure. What I hadn’t realized at the time was how many lighter sun spots I had on my checks and how they detracted from the uniformity of my skin. I didn’t realize this because these smaller and more numerous sun spots had developed over time and I had become accustomed to them. It was only later, after having the first treatment IPL treatment done that I realized how much this skin discoloration detracted from my appearance.

Deciding to Schedule the IPL Treatment

I was scared, I will admit, I was mostly afraid that instead of removing the sun spots, there could be damage done to my skin. I researched the risks and only came up with a few instances of skin damage that was due to incompetence. I also trusted my dermatologist and since she highly recommended the procedure, I went ahead and scheduled it. As far as the pain, I wasn’t that concerned, and since the treatment is very quick, I felt I would be OK.

Dermatologists Recommend IPL for Sun Spots and Redness

As we age the skin loses its ability to regenerate, as a result sun exposure can begin cause sun spots. The appearance of sun spots could possibly prevent the detection of cancer. Many people choose to have sun spots removed because they find them unattractive.


I was quoted $400.00 for a full face and $200.00 for a partial face treatment. My dermatologist also runs a special offer, a discount for purchasing more than one treatment. My dermatologist explained that 2 or 3 treatments are typically needed to get the best results, but I decided to simply pay for one treatment and go from there. I had a hunch that the first treatment would be very effective, and I was right.

Beginning of Flaking Stage After IPL Treatment

Here is my skin shortly after the IPL treatment. The solar lentigos darken before they flake off within about 10 days. Wearing foundation for the first few days made the treatment unnoticable.
Here is my skin shortly after the IPL treatment. The solar lentigos darken before they flake off within about 10 days. Wearing foundation for the first few days made the treatment unnoticable. | Source

My First IPL Treatment

The treatment itself was fast! First aloe vera gel was applied to my face to keep it cool since the treatment is hot, eye protecting goggles were placed over my eyes. Each time the light was pulsed it felt as though a rubber band was being snapped on my face; it was less painful than having hair removal waxing done. There was also a bright light that could be seen even with the goggles on. My dermatologist talked to me and explained what she was doing, this was very comforting. She explained that the IPL will also remove any hair, which is great since she worked on my upper lip and removed some of those stubborn dark hairs, a benefit I didn’t realize beforehand.

Going Back to Work or Going Home after Treatment?

After leaving the office, my skin did feel like I had a mild sunburn and I was told to apply ice for pain, the pain was mild and I did apply ice, but after a few hours there was no pain at all. I opted to stay home from work that day and went back to work the following day; this was because I was uncertain of how I would feel later on. In retrospect I could have easily gone to work that day. I was instructed to sleep with two pillows overnight to possibly reduce swelling and I followed these instructions and had no swelling.

Skin Effect First Day:

A few hours after the treatment I could see that all of my sun spots were darker and I was told that these would peel off after about a week. I was excited to see that so many sun spots were affected by the treatment. The dermatologist also told me that some of the small red capillaries on my face would disappear, I had some around my nose; this is an added benefit to the treatment.

After 2 IPL treatments, the skin has an even tone and the darkest lentagos have faded.
After 2 IPL treatments, the skin has an even tone and the darkest lentagos have faded. | Source

2 Weeks After Treatment

I am blown away! My skin hasn’t look this good in years. I don’t even remember having this level of clarity in my skin ever, except maybe when I was a child. While there is still a faint remainder of a couple of the darker and larger sun spots, for the most part I am completely thrilled and this is after only one treatment.

Fading Creams Seem like a Waste of Time

After realizing the quickly attainable effectiveness of just this one IPL treatment, I realize what a waste of time money and energy it was that I had every used fading cream, they hardly work! This IPL treatment works, it seems far better to pay the more expensive price once than try to remember day after day to apply a cream with minimal results.


Although I was hesitant about having this treatment done, I no longer have any doubts, it is amazing! In the mornings, I look in the mirror and see little need for make up, I put a little eye liner on, a little tinted Burt’s Bees lip balm and curl my eyelashes. I can skip the concealer and foundation and that feels great.

I feel like I look ten years younger!

This is a great invention that I highly recommend having done!

How is IPL Intense Pulsed Light Done?

Are you considering having an IPL Treatment?

See results

If you have had an IPL treatment, are you happy with the results?

See results

© 2014 Ariel Laur


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