Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, which is also sometimes referred to as Photofacial or Fotofacial treatment, is a versatile light-based skin rejuvenation treatment designed to treat a number of skin pigmentation problems, including:

  • Sun damage
  • Age spots or sun spots
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Freckles
  • Broken capillaries
  • Redness or flushing
  • Vascular birthmarks (telangiectasias)

Additionally, IPL is an effective treatment for permanent hair reduction.  It is also an effective acne treatment when combined with Levulan in a procedure known as Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).


Intense Pulsed Light therapy is ideal for recovering “sun-worshippers” wishing to improve the skin tone of their face, neck, chest or hands after years of sun damage. Patients suffering from acne and rosacea may also benefit from IPL treatment, as can patients who wish to have unsightly vascular birthmarks removed.

IPL hair removal is indicated only for patients with light or fair skin and dark facial or body hair, whereas laser hair removal is more appropriate for patients with darker or ethnic skin tones.


For skin rejuvenation and permanent hair reduction, IPL therapy is typically performed in a series of 3 -7 treatments spaced three to four weeks apart. The number of treatments you need depends on the severity of your skin conditions.

Your skin will be cleansed and topical anesthesia may be applied prior to your IPL Photofacial but is typically unnecessary, as a cooling device is used on your skin throughout the procedure to ensure you are comfortable. Eye protection will be provided for your use during treatment, which takes about half an hour.

In order to avoid potential IPL side effects, such as burns or permanent pigmentation changes, it is best to seek IPL treatment from a Olga Zarkh, MD, Your Personal Doctor office staffed with board certified skin care experts.


Recovering from IPL is similar to recovering from a mild sunburn. Depending on the aggressiveness of your treatment, you may experience varying degrees of redness and swelling following your Photofacial. With more aggressive treatment, some mild bruising may also occur.

For a few hours following IPL treatment, you may feel a slight burning sensation. As skin heals over the next one to two weeks, your skin may darken and begin peeling or flaking. It is not uncommon for your skin to become itchy during the recovery period, but it is important not to scratch or pick at your skin, as this may cause permanent scarring.

Although complete IPL recovery typically takes one to two weeks, there is no downtime, so you may return to work and normal daily activities immediately after IPL. Be sure to utilize sun protection and avoid sun exposure as much as possible to prevent skin damage immediately following IPL treatment, as well as to maintain your IPL results in the long term.

Would you like to learn more about IPL skin rejuvenation?  Call 847-818-7700 to schedule a consultation at Olga Zarkh, MD, Your Personal Doctor.

Interested in learning more about IPL?


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