IPL Laser 101 + My Experience

06 02

Y’all it is GO time!! I haven’t been able to do much to my skin (in a big way) for the past 3 years because I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Blasting off my face and working on evening out my skin tone was first on my list. The fastest way to do this is with LASERS!! AND yes, they are worth it depending on your skin issues. I’ve done IPL and BBL, having my first treatment/experience 10+ years ago. I’ll answer the difference between the two below.

I went to have IPL (Intense Pulse Light) done this past month, and you will see my healing process below during the first week. Note there is NO filter or editing to these photos. This is my skin in natural light. I will probably do a BBL next to go a bit deeper and target some other skin concerns – stay tuned! If you missed my initial laser post about BBL – check it out here!

See below as I answer all of the basic questions about this laser. Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional. This post is about MY experience and understanding. Make sure to do your own research and talk to a doc/nurse/skincare expert before trying. This laser is not for everyone. Just like skincare and makeup you need to find what works for you!

ipl laser 101

IPL Laser 101 Q&A

What skin issues does it target?

Sun spots, brown pigmentation (hormonal/melasma), rosacea, scarring, blood vessels, enlarged pores.

How does the treatment work?

First I put numbing cream on the areas being treated: face, neck and chest, an hour before the procedure. I highly recommend as the treatment can be uncomfortable without it. The procedure itself takes about 45 min. The technician uses a wand with a cooling tip. First she tested a small area of my skin to make sure it reacted well. Then the wand was placed on my face, the light/heat enters my skin with a little zap. She proceeded to make her way around my face, neck and chest. Then went back over a few specific places where I had broken capillaries. You can spot treat with this laser. For example if you have a scar, you can target just that.

Does it hurt?

No, with numbing cream. However I must note, I have a high pain tolerance. Trust me, you can get through it!

Is your skin sensitive after?

My skin felt like I had a mild sunburn for a few hours after getting the laster. You can treat with cooling aloe however I did not need it. The next day it was not sensitive at all.

What’s the recovery/downtime?

No downtime in my experience, that’s why it is a great option! You will see what my healing process was the week after in my pictures on this post. I could easily cover with makeup. The pigment that comes to the surface will “fall” off after about a week. There is no peeling with this laser.

How much does it cost?

Average is $500 per treatment.

How often do you get it done?

Since I haven’t done it in years, I will probably do 3 laser treatments this year, and one every year after to maintain. Most need 3-5 when they first start, depending on their skin goals.

How do you care for your skin after the treatment?

Your dermatologist and/or med spa should give you instructions. You want to keep it hydrated and no sweating, working out or hot water after.

Can you do lasers while breastfeeding?

Unfortunately it’s a no for me. My understanding is there hasn’t been enough research to know if it’s safe during breastfeeding.

Can you do lasers if you have melasma?

I have heard mixed reviews on this. I believe it depends on what type of skin tone you have and what caused your melasma. I have heard IPL helps with hormonal melasma. I’d check with your doc and/or skin expert before trying.

Does it affect botox/dysport?

Not in my experience.

How do you find a business/technician that you trust?

Everyone I have seen has been from a referral/friend who has gone before me. I also always go in for a consultation, meet the technician and ask questions. It’s also a good idea to see the work they have done – before and afters.

What is the difference between IPL (Intense Pulse Light therapy) and BBL (BroadBand Light therapy)?

Both skin lasers use light therapy to target the skin. The goal in both is to remove imperfection of the skin with little to no downtime. BBL is a more advanced version of IPL targeting the following: skin tone and texture, acne, fine lines, pigmentation, sagging skin, freckles, birthmarks, broken capillaries, sun spots, aging skin and rosacea. My understanding is that the technology of the BBL laser allows it to go a bit deeper, targeting more skin issues while being less painful. Depending on your skin concerns IPL may be just as effective. In my experience they both have targeted my brown pigment very well however BBL also helped with my broken capillaries (reds). Another benefit of BBL is that it was way less painful – I didn’t use numbing cream.

Do you like IPL or BBL better?

As I mentioned above, they’ve both worked really well for my brown pigment. If I HAD to pick one, I’d probably go with BBL because I found it less painful and it made my broken capillaries go away instantly.


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