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Photofacial Recovery Time

How long should I expect it to take?

Doctor Answers (7)

Photofacial recovery

There is usually no downtime following a photo facial, however there are some things that you should do to protect your skin while it is in its more sensitive state.

1.  To avoid hyperpigmentation caused by excessive sun exposure, use a good sunscreen with SPF30 daily or stay out of the sun entirely.

2. Retin-A®, Renova®, abrasive or exfoliating sponges/scrubs, glycolic, beta, or alcohol should be avoided for 24 hours. Do not rub your skin in the treated area, even when bathing.

3. A mild sunburn-like sensation may occur for several hours after your treatment. You can apply cold compresses to reduce discomfort.

4. Facial veins will be red, hyper pigmentation will look darker and mild swelling may occur but they will disappear about 3-5 days after your treatment. You can use makeup to cover up any redness and brown spots. Make sure you use a sterile product and applicator to reduce the risk of infection.

5. If blisters occur, apply an antibiotic ointment and wash gently twice a day. Do not pick or remove scabs or crusting and expose to sunlight.

6. You should avoid hot tubs, hot showers and exercise for the next 24 hours. In this way, you will avoid dilation of blood vessels that could prolong redness and irritation.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Photofacial downtime


There is usually no downtime with photofacials.  There is some minor redness that usually resolves within a few hrs.  Also some dark coffee ground pigment may appear in the treated areas and this can take 1-2 weeks to flake off. 

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 141 reviews

Photofacial Recovery Time

When receiving a photo facial, gradual and cumulative improvement is achieved between 3-5 treatments spaced 3 weeks apart, without discomfort. Patients generally return to normal activities and can apply makeup immediately after treatment sessions.

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

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We expect people to resolve in 7-10 days. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Photofacial or IPL (Intense Pulse Light)


There is no down time or redness and the IPL can be performed during your lunch hour. Photo rejuvenation, known commonly as the photo facial, is effective in treating wrinkles, blotchiness or age spots, acne scarring, enlarged pores, and redness caused by broken capillaries and rosacea. It can be used on the entire face or specific areas. The laser also has a mild tightening effect on the skin, particularly in the lower eyelid area.

Ramtin Kassir, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Downtime after photofacial


Other than minor redness for less than an hour after the procedure and some small coffee grounds type spots in the area of treated pigmentation lasting a few days, there is no downtime after IPL.

The coffee grounds are epidermal pigment breaking up and exiting the skin.  They can easily be covered with light makeup.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

No downtime


IPL or "photorejuventation", is a popular procedure with no downtime. A minimal amount of redness or bronzing that may occur can easily be camouflaged with cosmetics. minimal swelling can be avoided the next day by sleeping on 2-3 pillows on your back.

Mary P. Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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.