Intense Pulsed Light or IPL delivers high intensity controlled pulses of light that penetrate your skin and heat the sub-surface layers. IPL corrects a variety of skin conditions such as broken blood vessels, pigmented spots or age spots. It is safe, non-invasive and tailored to your skin needs, type of skin and provides superior results.

What is an IPL photofacial?

There is a basic misunderstanding of the difference between intense pulsed light (IPL) and lasers when it comes to skin rejuvenation. The difference comes down to the light delivered. IPL machines deliver an intense beam of broad-spectrum light. Lasers only deliver a single wavelength of light.

In an IPL Photofacial, the broad spectrum of light targets the dermis (the skin’s second layer), leaving the epidermis (the skin’s surface layer) undamaged. IPL Photofacials at River Oaks have two components: energy is absorbed by skin imperfections such as age spots, and energy heats the cells in the deeper dermis triggering increased collagen production.

What Skin Conditions Can IPL Treat?

woman smiling

  • Sun damage
  • Rosacea
  • Skin texture
  • Redness
  • Broken capillaries
  • Pigmentation, Brown spots
  • Age spots
  • Sun-induced freckles on the hands, chest, and face
  • Broken capillaries around the nose
  • Excels in helping the reduction of fine wrinkles and large pores

Who is a good candidate for an IPL photofacial?

IPL photofacials are best for addressing pigmentation issues. So, if you’ve spent a little too much time out in our Houston sun, a photofacial could be a good treatment. If you have blotchy, sun-damaged skin with lots of freckles, IPL photofacials are effective treatments. They also shrink large pores, remove broken capillaries, and lessen fine lines and wrinkles. Rosacea responds to IPL treatments.

IPL photofacials are not effective for darker skin tones or deeply tanned skin, as the IPL wavelengths cannot differentiate between the age spots/pigmentation problems and the rest of the skin.

If you’re using Retin-A, doxycycline, or other medications, they will have to be stopped for one week prior to your photofacial.

How does an IPL photofacial work to improve my skin?

River Oaks, our IPL photofacials improve your skin in two ways. First, the light energy penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin (the outer layer) and gently heats the dermis, the skin’s second layer. This triggers the classic “wound healing” response that is behind many skin treatments. When the body senses this heating in the dermis it responds as if it has been wounded by producing new amounts of collagen and sending it to the “wounded” area (even though there is no actual wound). Since collagen provides the skin’s underlying support structure, this firms your skin and reduces lines and wrinkles.

The second photofacial benefit addresses your pigmentation problems such as age spots and wrinkles. The darker cells absorb the IPL energy and the melanin pigment fragments. The body then absorbs the pigment cells and the spots become less and less visible. With veins, the energy is absorbed by the dark blood, heating the vein. This heating causes the vein wall to collapse and close off the vein. The body then scavenges the vein and it completely disappears.

Laser Treatment for Acne Scars

  • A bright light of multiple wavelengths is used to treat the damage that has been done to your skin.
  • Three to five treatments may be needed about three to four weeks apart depending on the severity of the patient’s problems.

The benefits of IPL

An IPL treatment uses the power of broadband light to improve the appearance of sun spots, rosacea, age spots, and skin texture. The treatment can also be used for photo rejuvenation.

Are there risks involved with IPL Treatments?

These are low-risk treatments. Photofacials performed at nail salons and the like can cause hyperpigmentation and occasional skin blistering, but our team at River Oaks has extensive training and experience, so this is not a problem.

Is an IPL Photofacial painful?

man receiving IPL treatment

When you come to River Oaks Gynecology and Aesthetics for your IPL Photofacial we provide you with special protective eyewear to protect your eyes from the light. We then place a cooling gel on the treatment areas to keep your surface skin comfortable. The smooth glass surface of the handpiece is gently applied to your skin and the intense pulses of light are delivered. You will feel something akin to a small rubber band being snapped on your skin with each light pulse, but it is not painful.

When your session is complete, usually in 30-90 minutes depending on the size of the treatment area, we will remove the gel, clean your skin, and apply a moisturizer. For larger treatments, we may apply a cold pack for five to 10 minutes after your session.

What do I have to do to prepare for my IPL photofacial?

The main thing you need to do prior to a photofacial is to avoid sun exposure and tanning on the areas to be treated for 4 weeks. This includes applying self-tanner for 2 weeks prior to your session. Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen for one week before your treatment; same with retinols and glycolic acid exfoliators. We also need to know if you’ve taken Accutane within the past year.

On the day of your IPL photofacial, please don’t apply creams or make-up on the treatment areas.

How long does a typical photofacial take?

These treatments take between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area we are treating.

IPL Laser Skin Treatment Recovery Process

There is no downtime. You can return to work that day and resume your daily activities. The procedure gives a gradual improvement in your skin.

What Our Patients Have to Say

“I really enjoyed my experience at the River Oaks Gynecology & Aesthetics. My wait time was minimal and Dr. Maxie Sprott was very professional and knowledgeable. It felt really good being in the hands of a physician whom I considered to be very proactive. Last but not least, the comfort level of having a female physician who understands female issues was great. ROGA definitely provided world-class service and I will definitely be back!” – Coco G.

Read more reviews here.

What do I need to do after my photofacial?

Your skin will be pink, as if you have a mild sunburn, for a few hours. A cool compress is a good idea. You can wear make-up to cover any redness.

The main thing after a photofacial is to avoid sun exposure on the treatment areas for 4-6 weeks. Your skin will have lost some of its natural defenses by the exposure to the IPL energy, and you need to respect this.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, alcohol, and strenuous exercise will likely cause your skin to flush for a couple days after your session. Avoid harsh topicals such as retinols and glycolic acid products for one week after your session.

How many Photofacials will I need to achieve the results I want?

There is not set number here. A single IPL photofacial with our team at River Oaks will deliver noticeable improvements in your pigmentation issues. But many patients opt to have a series of photofacials in the beginning to really go after these areas and attain a higher level of skin improvement. Many patients have from 3-5 Photofacials to actively address their skin issues. From there, they have a Photofacial once or twice yearly as maintenance, as this continues the boost in collagen production.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Us Today! If you are interested in IPL laser or other skin rejuvenation treatments in Houston, Texas call River Oaks Gynecology and Aesthetics at (713)955-6560