IPL photofacial review: Before and After Pictures
I took the plunge! I’d spent the last year researching how to tackle hyper pigmentation. During this journey of trial and error, I discovered one of my holy grail products which I continue to repurchase, Skinceuticals Phyto+. My skin was brighter and more even toned, but I still had stubborn dark spots that wouldn’t go away.
I was looking seriously into IPL/photo rejuvenation treatments, but I kept coming across mixed reviews. There are many sad stories online about people getting burned by inexperienced technicians at unlicensed medical spas and most importantly, IPL being too aggressive for ethnic skin.
Therefore, I researched carefully for a provider who was not only experienced in IPL, but also in Asian skin.
As they say, the rest is history. The type of laser that was used on me was a Fotofacial RF which combines intense pulsed light and radio frequency to target dark spots, reduce redness and broken capillaries, and improve skin texture.
Here is my experience:
Two weeks prior to the procedure
I avoided the sun religiously at least a month before getting IPL. Sunscreen was also my best friend. IPL should never be performed on skin that has gotten a lot of sun exposure recently because the lightwaves that target the melanin (dark spots) could end up burning your skin. The damage will most likely be painful and possibly permanent.
Please also do not use any retinol and acidic (glycolic etc) products before and after IPL because these increase skin sensitivity.
Immediately before the procedure
I was asked a lot of questions about any medication I was taking, recent sun exposure, and skin care roducts which reassured me that I was in safe hands.
A topical numbing cream was applied to my entire face 20 minutes before the procedure and washed off right before we started. I’ve read that some places don’t provide numbing cream and I was very thankful that my provider did. If you have a high pain tolerance, the zaps from the IPL may not bother you, but I’m pretty wimpy and definitely appreciated the numbing cream.
During the procedure
We started out with a few test zaps for comfort. I could feel a little buzz and zap each time the IPL laser was activated, but the pain was manageable thanks to the numbing cream. My provider methodically went over my entire face and she said that this was necessary to create an even texture. Some med spas only zap your spots, but this does not provide the best results. I don’t recall how long she took to go over my entire face, but I was probably in and out in under an hour.
After the procedure
Scary picture coming up! Some offices like to claim that the IPL is a lunch time procedure. I was advised that I would look spotty for up to a week since the spots wouldn’t darken first before crusting up and actually falling off the skin. They call this the coffee crumb scabs and are a tell tale sign of a successful IPL procedure.
I’m glad I decided to err on the side of caution and have my first IPL session done after work on a Friday so I had the weekend to recuperate.
Here’s my post IPL face in all its spotty glory:
Day 1 Post IPL
No amount of concealer was going to hide the dark spots sufficiently, but I survived the weekend in hermit mode.
On days 4 – 7, I started noticing the dark spots crust up and fall off as I was washing my face. Do not attempt to peel these off forcefully or you will likely leave a mark.
By the end of the week, my skin was visibly clearer though not perfect, and I was quite happy with the results of my photofacial treatments:
Here’s a pre photofacial shot:
Results after my first session:
Post 1st IPL session
I followed up with a 2nd session four months later:
Post 2nd IPL
I didn’t see any significant changes after my 3rd IPL session and I was also a little spotty after a breakout:
Post 3rd IPL
Anyway, here are a few links I found helpful during my research:
About the Fotofacial RF
A helpful guide on photofacials in general
Feel free to message me if you have any questions!
I am continuing to use Skinceutical Phyto+ and sunscreen to keep my skin clear.
Caveat: I am not recommending this as the best option out there for hyper pigmentation. There are risks to all procedures, and you need to feel comfortable with the provider you are choosing. I felt comfortable that my provider would be able to provide safe and effective treatment.