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IPL: The Star Performer
Skin Institute
May 4, 2015

It’s the most frequently booked appearance treatment at Skin Institute. As a means to improve the overall appearance of the skin and reduce signs of aging, IPL has the ‘wow-factor’ and customers just love the results.


We chat to head appearance medicine nurse, Karen Ashworth, to understand why it’s such a popular treatment.


What specific concerns is IPL most often used to treat?

Most of our clients choose IPL to treat pigmentation and rosacea. It’s very effective at reducing the appearance of brown spots and superficial redness such as broken capillaries. The process essentially ‘shatters’ the pigment into fragments which will gradually rise to the skin’s surface and slough off over the course of one to two weeks.


What are the other benefits?

The great thing about IPL is that it treats so many things. As well as reducing pigmentation and redness, it reduces fine lines and pore size and improves skin tone and texture. Plus it stimulates collagen production and has the added benefit of reducing hair growth. So it can treat a wide range of concerns. I recommend it to clients prior to Botox® and fillers to smooth out the skin and reduce fine lines prior to treatment.


How many treatments do you recommend?

It depends if there are specific areas of concern being treated, but for general rejuvenation and maintenance annual treatments will give good results. You’ll need 2-4 treatments for brown pigment, 3-4 for red veins and 5-6 for rosacea.


What does the procedure involve and what does it feel like?

We use high-end medical grade IPL machines with varying settings that are adjusted depending on what is being treated. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the entire face and feels a bit like the flicking of a rubber band. It’s tolerable for most, especially if we offer cooling to aid your comfort.


Is there any downtime?

Mostly no. That’s one of the reason’s why IPL is so popular – it gives really good results with little to no downtime. You can wear makeup to cover any redness immediately afterwards. Brown pigment will go dark brown and rise to the surface, flaking off over 10-14 days. Occasionally red veins can leave a small bruise that takes up to 14 days to fade. There is a small chance of swelling, though usually only when treating rosacea.


Is there anything you should do to prepare the skin beforehand?

I personally don’t believe it’s necessary to prep the skin with anything in particular and prefer to let IPL do it’s job – then afterwards I recommend maintaining a good quality skincare routine and to always wear a zinc sunscreen. Winter is the perfect time for IPL as it’s important to be out of the sun (or protected from it) both before and after treatment.


How successful is IPL on hands?

The hands often show your age if you don’t include them in treatment. Some of my clients have avoided wearing their rings as it draws attention to the brown age spots on their hands. IPL can dramatically reduce the appearance of sun spots and give back confidence.


What do some of your clients say about IPL?

Those who have trouble with redness and pigmentation usually use a lot of make-up to cover specific areas and are delighted after treatment to be able to wear much less make-up and are delighted after treatment to be able to wear much less make-up and in some cases feel confident to go out without any at all. So it’s a real time and money saver. Many of my clients say if they could have only one treatment, this would be it.

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