IPL in Marin & San Francisco, CA

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About IPL

An IPL photofacial is designed to help adult men and women with sun damage, hyperpigmentation, or rosacea on their face, neck, and hands. IPL (intense pulsed light) is very effective and provides great results despite being a noninvasive treatment. Tracy Evans, MD and her staff of medical professionals use IPL to target and break up concentrated pigment cells under the surface of the skin. The intense pulsed light can also improve the appearance of fine lines around the eyes and mouth, as well as acne scars. This treatment also stimulates regeneration, healing, and extra collagen, leading to a healthier skin layer with a more even tone and fewer dark spots. If you struggle with the appearance of sun damage, dark spots, or rosacea, schedule an appointment at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin. We can offer you a complexion analysis at our San Francisco, CA office to see if you are a good candidate for IPL.

Ideal Candidates

IPL treatments are able to penetrate to deeper layers of your skin to target skin blemishes resulting from pigmentation problems. However, those who can benefit the most from IPL at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin may have a combination of concerns with their skin. Sun damage, rosacea, hyperpigmentation (brown spots), acne scarring, large pores, flushing, freckles, melasma, age and sun spots, or broken capillaries can all be addressed with IPL. During your consultation with dermatologist Tracy Evans or one of our experienced skin professionals, we will assess your complexion to see if IPL can address your concerns. While IPL is safe for most people, medications that make you sensitive to light might limit your eligibility.

Procedure Technique

IPL is a noninvasive, minor procedure that takes about 20 – 45 minutes to perform. Before your procedure begins, we will clean and dry your skin being treated, and we will cover your eyes with special laser shields. The IPL is administered using the Lumenis® M22 laser via a handheld device that passes over the skin and emits intense pulses of light energy. IPL treatments do tend to be mildly uncomfortable, though most patients report that it is tolerable for the short treatment time. The sensation is typically described as a rubber band snapping on the skin, and we can apply a topical anesthetic if you are worried about any discomfort.

What to Expect

Most people are comfortable with returning to work right after an IPL treatment, but your skin will be a little pink and swollen. You are free to apply makeup to cover any pinkness, and it should be gone within the day. We will recommend or prescribe an ointment for you to apply to your skin to decrease irritation and speed healing. It also helps to take anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling. Over the course of several days, the sun damage and other irregularities that rested under the skin will come to the surface and then begin to flake off. It's very important to keep your skin protected from the sun at all times after an IPL and to not pick at your skin. While you should see some visible results after the first session, most patients need several IPL sessions for the best results. Board-certified dermatologist Tracy Evans typically recommends approximately 3 – 6 treatments performed about once a month at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does IPL cost?
Every patient case is unique, which means the cost of IPL will be dependent on your unique condition. Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin sometimes offers specials, and we accept many forms of payment. During your initial visit, we can help estimate your cost and determine the number of treatments you will need for optimal results.

Can IPL be combined with other procedures?
IPL photofacials don’t require recovery, although the patient does need to protect their skin from sun exposure before and after. Therefore, they shouldn’t be combined with surgical procedures or other light procedures, such as laser resurfacing. However, photofacials can be combined with treatments, such as dermal fillers or BOTOX.

Will IPL make my skin too sensitive?
Your skin won’t feel sensitive, though it may show some redness. This usually passes within a few hours, but it can linger for a day or two. However, your skin will be unprotected from sun exposure. You need to avoid sun exposure for several days, and then use plenty of sunscreen for at least two weeks moving forward. Protecting your skin with sunscreen down the road makes good sense anyway, as those pigmentation spots you just had treated didn’t develop on their own: they came from sun damage.

How is it best to prep for IPL?
Patients about to undergo an IPL treatment are usually asked to avoid self-tanners and excessive sun for 2 – 4 weeks prior to the procedure. You should discontinue the use of minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline or Retin-A/Renova several days before each treatment, and you may be asked to take aspirin or ibuprofen for a week before the procedure to help prevent bruising. You should also protect the treated areas with sunscreen between sessions.

Will I need to get more than one IPL session?
A full series of IPL photo rejuvenation sessions is recommended to provide gradual, natural-looking improvements to the appearance of your skin. Each session helps to fade surface irregularities and spots. Undergoing multiple sessions also allows for longer-lasting results.

Get Your Glow Back

You probably didn't worry too much about your skin when you were a child. However, now that environmental damage, like spots and other blemishes, are appearing, you may be interested in improving your complexion. We invite you to learn more about IPL treatments by calling our San Francisco, CA office to schedule a skin consultation. With IPL treatments at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology San Francisco & Marin, Tracy Evans, MD and her staff can go deep within the layers of your skin to help bring back a bright glow and a clear complexion.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.