Is IPL Treatment Painful?
- Asked 6 years ago
Does IPL hurt to have done?
Minimizing pain associated with IPL
IPL (intense pulsed light) or photofacial laser treatment can be painful depending on the type of laser machine that your doctor has. Discomfort can be minimized with numbing cream followed by Saran wrap to be applied 45-60 minutes prior to IPL treatment.
Web reference: http://www.drwilliamting.com/Cosmetic_Dermatology.html
We've heard and answered this question many times with our new patients. While the industry standard answer is that it feels like a rubber band snapping on the face, we like Dr. Hedden's description a bit better. Hot grease splatter is a pretty accurate description. Variations in the pain level can be attributed to the individual pain tolerance, gender (men are bigger babies), condition being treated, device being used and the treatment settings.
IPL can be painful
Yes, IPL can be uncomfortable at the time of treatment. Some people attribute it to hot grease popping out on you. IPL has been described to feel like a bad sunburn after the initital treatment.Redness and irritation usually last only a couple of hours with the help of topical hydrocortisone1% applied immediately after. Chemical peel at a light percentage can also treat pigmented areas.
Undergoing IPL / BBL treatments should not cause significant discomfort. We do not use any topical anesthetic for patients undergoing these treatments alone as they tolerate the procedure very well with only the use of refrigerated gel and a gentle breeze with a fan in the room. The addition of topical anesthetic actually decreases the safety factor of the treatment as the patient is not able to give feedback to the provider on how their skin feels during the course of the treatment.
I use the Sciton Joule platform to perform Broad Band Light treatments and this device provides excellent results with a large sapphire crystal to cool and protect the epidermis appropriately.
Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
Web reference: http://www.sciton.com/brightcove/335/tvideo
Minimizing discomfort during IPL treatment
Treatment with IPL feels like a cool rubber band snap. Some patients are able to tolerate this well, but for those that find it painful, topical numbing cream can be used that can make the procedure completely painless.
IPL does not need to hurt
IPL treatments feel like a quick snappy sting but with the application of cold gel and blowing of cold air you scarcely feel anything. Seek a provider who uses the cold gel and Zimmer cold air.
Often times patients describe IPL treatment as a hot rubber-band snap to the skin. In our office, we use topical numbing cream prior to the IPL treatment. This along with gel and cool blown air are very helpful in decreasing the discomfort associated with the treatment.
IPL and pain
IPL will feel like a snapping of a rubber band against the skin. If you have ever had laser hair removal, it will feel the same. Applying numbing cream prior to the treatment will help alleviate some of the pain and make the treatment more tolerable. Most of our clients do not need numbing cream since we use the Lumenis laser which has a cooling system which will cool the skin prior, during and after the treatment to reduce any irritation or inflammation. Good luck!
IPL treatment should not hurt
The IPL treatment should not hurt. In our practice, using the Zimmer air cooler in addition to the optional use of numbing cream can make IPL a very comfortable treatment. Some IPL’s are archaic, but the ones from Cutera, Lumenis, Syneron, and Palomar have proven to be effective. That being said, there needs to be a skilled operator.
IPL is painful to some and not others.
Interestingly, pain is truly experienced differently by different people. Some people who know themselves to be sensitive may benefit from application of a numbing cream prior to treatment. Others may not notice any discomfort at all, especially since a cooling gel is usually used with IPL anyway.
One downside of numbing cream application, is that if the goal of IPL is to reduce redness, the numbing cream actually constricts local blood vessels in the skin, taking away the IPL target, and risking reducing the effectiveness of the treatment.
To avoid this, a helpful way to minimize discomfort is to keep the skin cold during treatment either with a cooling device, or with a self-cooling IPL like the one in my office.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.