Better Skin With Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

If dark spots, fine likes, broken capillaries and other signs of age have become fixtures of your skin, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy in San Francisco can help you achieve a younger and healthier looking complexion. IPL Photorejuvenationcan efficiently target a variety of skin concerns in one convenient treatment with minimal discomfort and little to no downtime. The procedure can be performed on any areas frequently exposed to the sun, including the fack, neck, chest and hands. Contact the Appearance Care Center™ today to request a consultation for IPL Therapy.

What Is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy?

IPL Photofacial in San Francisco, also known as photorejuvenation and flash lamp therapy, is a non-laser skin treatment that uses intense short pulses of light to target brown spots and redness in the skin caused by sun exposure.

IPL devices emit diffuse light of different wavelengths in short bursts. This flashlamp-based technology consists of a xenon gas chamber and handpiece with a synthetic sapphire or quartz block as well as filters. The device also has a cooling system to protect the skin during treatment.

Most patients require four to six sessions to enjoy the full benefits from this procedure. The sessions are performed six weeks apart.

It is also a highly effective procedure for rosacea and various vascular concerns.

  • IPL Photorejuvenation can lighten or remove unwanted skin changes including:Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Age spots
  • Freckles
  • Melasma
  • Port-wine stain
  • Birthmarks
  • Rosacea
  • Broken or dilated capillaries (spider veins)
  • Acne
  • Stretch marks
  • Enlarged pores
  • Blotchy skin color

How Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Works

IPL works in a similar fashion to a laser treatment. Pulses of targeted, high intensity light energy are delivered to the skin through a handpiece. Because IPL devices contain filters, they allow us to specify the precise wavelengths needed to target your concerns. The heat from the light energy is absorbed by the unwanted brown or red pigment and causes controlled damage, leaving the surrounding cells unaffected. A unique feature of IPL technology is that it targets chromophores in the skin. Chromophores are parts of molecules that create color. In the skin, melanin, hemoglobin and water are chromophores.

Depending on which skin issue is being treated, the IPL device is set to target one of these chromophores. For example, when treating freckles, we target melanin. When the skin heals from the treatment, damaged cells are eliminated by the body, and the natural turnover process replaces old cells with new ones. This results in a more even skin tone and the generation of new collagen, without the discomfort associated with traditional ablative laser therapies.

How to Prepare for IPL Therapy in San Francisco

Your provider at the Appearance Care Center™ will explain the IPL treatment process and confirm that you are a suitable candidate. You will also receive guidelines on how to prepare for your appointment. We usually advise patients to do the following in the days to weeks before an appointment:

  • Limit sun exposure and use sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Cease smoking
  • Stop retinoid use
  • Discontinue drugs that may cause bleeding
  • Discontinue antibiotic use

We recommend not wearing any cosmetics on the day of your procedure and arriving 30 minutes before the treatment for the application of a topical anesthetic.

The Procedure

Eye protection is provided and a topical numbing cream is applied. A gel is also applied to the treatment area to ensure the IPL handpiece glides smoothly over your skin. When the preparations are complete, your provider will apply the handpiece to your skin. You will see a bright flash of light each time the device emits a burst of energy, and you may feel slight discomfort.

Many patients compare the sensation of IPL therapy to a rubber band hitting the skin or mild zaps. The device is equipped with advanced cooling technology to maximize your comfort and safety. An IPL procedure can take just a few minutes or up to half an hour, depending on the concerns and number of areas being treated. There is no downtime.

IPL Aftercare

Although there is no required downtime following Intense Pulsed Light Therapy in San Francisco, we recommend taking a few steps to care for your skin after your appointment.

Expect to see some redness and possibly mild swelling or bruising. These side effects should resolve within a day. In the week after treatment, you may notice flaking and darkening of brown spots in the treated area. This is normal and part of the healing process. The spots will fade in time.

Your skin will be sensitive for a little while post-treatment. Proper aftercare is required to avoid causing new damage to the treated skin, which can compromise your results.

To avoid these complications:

  • Avoid using cosmetic products for 12 hours after treatment
  • Postpone using retinol and peels for after your last session
  • Avoid picking or scratching the skin during recovery
  • Avoid overheating your skin with hot showers, baths, saunas and vigorous exercising
  • Limit sun exposure and wear sunscreen with a high SPF for at least four weeks post-treatment

You should see initial results from IPL therapy in the first week after treatment. The maximum results are visible months following the initial treatment and after several sessions.


Does IPL photorejuvenation really work?

IPL can effectively reduce the appearance of skin changes due to years of sun exposure or aging. A multi-center study evaluated the efficiency of this treatment, concluding that up to 82 percent of the treated patients had less wrinkling in the six months following treatment.

How long do the results last?

The results from IPL photorejuvenation can last for years, especially with good skincare and daily sun protection.

Is photorejuvenation safe?

Yes, IPL photorejuvenation has been around for over 30 years and was proven to be safe. Serious side effects are rare. Its safety is explained by the fact that IPL therapy targets only cells that cause unfavorable skin changes, sparing surrounding tissue.

How many IPL photorejuvenation treatments do I need?

Most patients undergo a series of four to six treatments performed at six week intervals. Ongoing maintenance treatments are recommended to keep your skin looking and feeling rejuvenated.

Is there any downtime with IPL photorejuvenation?

There is minimal to no downtime with IPL photorejuvenation. In the first two days following this procedure, you should avoid hot baths and spaces to avoid irritating your skin. You will also need to protect your skin from sun exposure.

What should I do after photorejuvenation?

Following your series of photorejuvenation treatments, you should continue to protect and moisturize your skin. Follow-up treatments should be scheduled every four to six weeks to maintain your results.

How long does it take to see results from an IPL treatment?

The results from IPL therapy appear gradually, with most patients noticing improvement after a week to 10 days. The full results are visible months into treatment.

Book an Appointment

Contact the Appearance Care Center™ for an initial consultation by sending us an email here or by dialing (415) 567-7200. You will meet with Dr. Corey S. Maas or one of our trained providers, who will discuss your concerns and goals. Our team will carefully check your medical history and ask questions to see if you’re a good candidate for IPL Photorejuvenation. Although photorejuvenation treatments can be safely enjoyed by most patients, we may offer alternatives like Ultherapy if we believe it will be more suitable for your skin.

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