IPL Treatment Series and Maintanance?

I want to receive a series of IPL treatments. I am 26 with moderate sun damage rating on the Visia skin analysis photos. If I get a series of 3-6 treatments, what is the maintenance required? Do I get one IPL done every 6 months after my initial treatment series etc.? I am looking to reduce my sun damage beneath the surface of my skin and refine my skin tone, texture, and pore size.

Doctor Answers 3

IPL and maintenance

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Most patients start with a series of 3-5 treatments for improvement of sun damage (red and brown discoloration).  Maintenance protocols would vary by how much new damage you get and how quickly.  If you have a good home care regimen with corrective benefits (like the TNS Essential Serum), you are diligent about sunscreen use and sun avoidance you can spread out follow up treatments for quite some time.  (One treatment every 6 months is not unreasonable)  If you do your part, it is definitely feasible to improve skin tone, color and texture and stimulate collagen production.


Dr. Grant Stevens                 Marina del Rey, CA                Marina Plastic Surgery                  The Institute

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

What benefits can one obtain from IPL

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Intense Pulsed Light ( IPL) is a wonderful tool that can help reduce the reds and browns we have in our skin. In fact, it is the only device or treatment we have that will treat both. If you undergo a series of treatments ( around 5) there have been a few good studies that show that you can maintain this result for several years if you maintain a good skin care program including a daily sunblock. Reds typically need 2-4 maintenance treatments over the year. If you live in a "sun" climate, you may need 1 or 2 treatments over the course of the year.

Jeffrey Kenkel, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

IPL series and maintenance

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Usually it takes 3-5 treatments with IPL to improve the brown and red spots that are part of sun damage.  How much maintenance and how often depends on what happens after your IPL treatment series.

If you are great about using sunscreen and staying out of the sun, the results will last much longer than if there is continue sun exposure.

One of the benefits of IPL, in addition to treating the red and brown discolorations, is that the deeper heating of the dermal collagen, helps stimulate new collagen production.  As a result, that will improve skin texture and diminish some fine wrinkling.

Many patients notice that after IPL treatments for redness and freckling, their skin is smoother, makeup goes on easier and their pore size is refined.  Technically pore size is treated much better with fractional laser resurfacing, but it is also noted after IPL treatments.

If you use a broad spectrum sunscreen and avoid sun exposure, you may not even need a treatment every six months, although a treatment twice a year sounds like an excellent maintenance plan.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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.