One to the Face, So Far, and Now I Want to Do my Chest, Too!

US $150 for 1 IPL treatment by a certified laser...

US $150 for 1 IPL treatment by a certified laser tech under a doctor's supervision. The doctor was present at the facility, but not in the room. The equipment was a StarLux500 by Palomar.

I'm 46 with skin type high II/III -- white, but not too pale, with a very rosy undertone. I don't have many wrinkles, but had been noticing my "age spots" more and more lately -- and decided I wanted to do something about them.

This was my first IPL, or photofacial, treatment. I did a ton of research -- mostly on this web-site and elsewhere on-line. I realize that when people are unhappy they are often in need of a place to "vent" so you will tend see more negative comments from contributors than positive -- which is one of the reasons I want to share my positive experience. The information I researched included: how does IPL, or photofacial work, why does it work, who is a good candidate and who isn't, what results should I expect, how much pain should I feel, what questions should I ask before I agree to a treatment, and how much should I expect to pay...

I made a few phone calls and scheduled 3 free consultations with different places. I chose my locations based on convenience to my home and work and their hours of operation. Some folks will tell you to only go to a doctor, but I was not that narrow in my choice. I also picked the places I did because they were willing to post their prices on their website(s). This is important to me as I like "transparency" in this day and age of information. I liken not posting their prices as to "What are they hiding? Do they charge a different price based on how I'm dressed or something? To me, anyone willing to post their prices means they are both willing to compete and feel they have a valuable product to offer.

You want dedicated professionals putting a laser -- or intense pulsed light, in this case -- on your skin -- not someone who happens to have a machine that also does hair removal, for example. During your consultation keep in mind that you are interviewing them for a job -- the job of performing this treatment on your skin. Do they take a complete history and treat you like an individual and talk about tailoring your treatments to your skin type and your expectations? Do they clarify what the treatment can, and cannot, do for you and your skin? Find out the brand and type of IPL laser machine they use and then research here, on this web-site, and on-line information about that particular brand and machine -- you want up-to-date, yet proven, technology.

Also, ask who does the actual treatment (Doctor, nurse, PA, laser tech) and what is their training as well as their experience with your type of skin and that particular machine. A tech that does 20 of these a week on the same machine has valuable experience that a doctor that does this treatment once a month will never have. Also, will the same person always do your treatment? I like knowing that the person "doing my skin" has a relationship with me and my skin and will be there each time.

Ask any and all questions you want to ask -- and then, ask yourself, are you comfortable with their answers? Are they friendly, is the place clean, does it seem "right"? You'll know it when you're comfortable... If something doesn't feel right or if you feel hesitant in any way, thank them for their time and leave. You don't owe anyone, anything. If they try to stop you from leaving with some kind of one-time, only now, never again "offer" -- run! This is your skin. High pressure sales tactics have no place in your decision making. Trust yourself.

I liked the clinic and personnel at the 2nd consultation, so much, I went with them and just canceled the 3rd consult! I felt both comfortable with my provider and confident in her knowledge and skills. And, there was zero pressure to buy a "package" of treatments or after-care cosmeceuticals.

My "clinic" is open on Saturdays and open late on some nights during the week. I don't have to take time away from my job to have this "cosmetic" procedure done. It's less than 10 miles from my house and an easy drive. It is not a "chain" or franchise, and it is Doctor owned and supervised. Paying as I go is more affordable for me as it gives me time to "save up" for my next visit.

So, about the procedure! My face was cleansed and dark eye patches put on my eyes. My provider applied a cool gel to my face. I've had laser hair removal -- so I kind of knew what to expect. The IPL was put to my face and "fired". The light was truly intense and I flinched. It stung, too, but just a little and only for a moment. The only place it really hurt was the couple of blasts under my lower lip. And when I say "hurt" that's only in comparison to barely any other pain. My provider gave me a hint to blink my eyes each time she "fires" -- that by closing my eyes "hard" it will help with the light -- and it worked. I don't know if it really helped with the light, but it distracted me enough to keep my mind occupied and the light didn't seem so bad, then. My whole face took about 15-20 minutes. I was cleaned up had sun-block put on me, and went over the after-care instructions. My skin felt irritated, but I wasn't in pain and it wasn't red, either.

Over the next 24-48 hours, I was concerned that I had had no redness, and saw nothing happening -- I was waiting for my age spots to turn dark and come to the surface and "rub" off... I had a few (5 or 6) freckles do that -- and the age spots seemed darker... Day 3 and I was thinking -- what a waste. I look the same. Maybe she was too conservative in her settings? Day 4 and 5 and I noticed my age spots now seemed a little bit lighter... Today is day 6. The freckles that came to the surface have rubbed off and my age spots seem lighter and -- my redness, or ruddy-ness -- the "look" that cosmetic sales-ladies are always trying to sell me "green" stuff to "neutralize" it -- well, it's gone. Not completely -- but OMG I do look better!

So, I get my next face IPL treatment in 3 more weeks. I've decided I also want to do my neck and chest. I will discuss with my provider what happened and what I had expected and about the settings -- but I would rather do an extra treatment than be permanently damaged.

I will update this (if I can?) as I continue to go through my treatments. We think I'll be happy with 3, maybe 4, treatments to my face. I'm so excited after just 1, I can hardly wait!

I would rate Excellent, as opposed to Very Good -- except when I inquired about having my neck and chest done also, I was told each part was another $150. That would be $450 for face, neck, and chest -- and I would not consider that to be a competitive price here in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. I will talk to them again, about a better price for all 3 areas, when I go back in 3 weeks for my next treatment.

Have fun and enjoy the journey!

Physicians Skin Institute

Lots of experience

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Comments (10)

Do all your research and get pros and cons. You'll see lots of pros, but take time to see the cons too before you make up your mind. A great site would be "ipl damage and support".
just google it and the website should come up.
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I just went for a Microderm and was told by the esthetician that she recommends a Photofacial. I have age spots that have not faded with the skin line from there office I have been using and another product she allowed me to try. I was wondering if I did the Photofacial on a Saturday morning, if I swell or turn red would I be okay for work Monday morning? Also anyone have experience with your skin firming up/tightening/looking a bit younger since the esthetician told me I could see results like this also?
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I got a very good deal on all 3 areas (face, neck, chest) at once for $300. Don't know if they'd offer it again! LOL! I'm also getting laser hair removal on my lower legs and I tried the fractional laser on a small part of my cheek where I have an acne scar -- I think they know I'm "hooked" and will keep coming to try new things and for maintenance! My hands? I can't really tell that anything changed - maybe a little lightening of the age spots -- but really, they're not that bad to start with and I'm not as vigilant about applying sunblock to them, either.
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Suzy - did you end up getting a better deal by having all three areas done at once. (Instead of paying the $150 per area). How did your hands turn out?
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Thank you for writing this review! Very helpful.
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Michelle -- if you "log in" you'll see the name of the place I go to in north Scottsdale...and my tech there is "Debbie". So far, I've gotten 4 IPL to my face and 3 to my chest/neck. All of my redness is gone, freckles and small age spots are gone -- really, really noticeable to me on my now smooth, clear chest! My skin shows a lot of improvement -- not sure how much more additional IPL could do. So, next week, I'm having my resistant broken capillaries (under my right eye, on my chin, and around my left nostril) "zapped" by a different kind of laser; a real laser that should clear these right up...I forget what it is called (Nd Yag or pulse-dye or something like that! LOL!). Yes, one of the reasons I like my provider is the no pressure and no "package" sales tactics. I'm also going to get IPL on my hands, next week, and hopefully make them clearer (I have "golfer's" age spots!) and younger looking, too! My only regret is not having taken "before" pictures...but my husband says, "Oh, yes. Oh, yes!" when I ask if he's noticed improvement -- So, I'm pretty happy! :-)
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Suzy AV8trix Very anxious to find out the final results of your face. I also live in the Phoenix area and very much like to know where you get your treatment. I like the fact that you pay as you go and not being forced to buy a package. Please advise the treatment location and the name if you can. Really appreciate your generous sharing with us your photofacial experience.
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wow - you get great pricing there. i had my first IPL today at a dermatologist's office. it was done by her esthetician. it cost $550! they recommend a series of five for my rosacea, then any remaining broken blood vessels will be treated by a laser (IPL isn't actually a laser.) ALL my background redness disappeared during this one treatment! the tech said she will set the machine for a different depth each time. i have no swelling and no sunburn like look.
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Had #2 to my face 5 days ago, and first to my chest and neck. I told my laser tech that I had no pain and no redness -- at all -- last time. So, she used the same settings as last time on my chest and neck and turned it up a bit on my face. Nothing hurt during the procedure on my neck and chest. And, I didn't flinch, at all, when she did my face this time -- despite the fact that the settings were higher. It didn't "hurt" and only felt slightly uncomfortable on my forehead for a couple of firings. My face did sting a little bit, afterwards, this time. It felt more like a minor sunburn or windburn. I went shopping at an upscale dept store afterwards -- with nothing on my skin except sunblock. That evening, my face was ever so slightly swollen and was all day the next day along with the sunburned feeling -- but nothing severe or enough to keep me at home or anythiing like that. Days 4 and 5, a very few dark spots came to the surface of my face and wore off and several on my chest. My broken capilaries under my left eye are still there, but not as red. My age spots in the center of my right cheek are lighter -- but still there. The IPL may not be the best treatment for one particularly stubborn age spot -- and I may get it zapped with a different laser -- but want to give the fotofacial treatments a chance as the rest of my skin looks and feels better. I will get a 3rd treatment on my face and 2nd on my neck and chest in about 3 more weeks. I would continue to recommend this treatment to anyone looking to fade freckles and age spots and small, broken capillaries. My skin texture seems better, yet I know this procedure will not do anything significant for my crow's feet and other wrinkles. Yet, for a treatment with no downtime, I am very, very satisfied with the results, so far!
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thanks for the detailed review, i found it useful.
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