How Often Can I Do IPL?

Hello, I've had IPL for multiples issues, acne and acne scars on my face; brown spots/hyperpigmentation on a surgical scar and for spider veins on my legs. How frequently should I have each area treated?

Doctor Answers 7

How Often Can I Do IPL?

Its suggested having IPL 4 weeks apart each treatment to see full results. I also advise patients not to sun tan a few weeks before having treatment.

Best of luck

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

How Often Can I Do IPL?

I normally see my patients 4-6 weeks after each IPL. The skin needs to heal and recover after each treatment and wait for the sun spots to flake off. Find a medical provider who is experienced using IPL on all skin types and apply an spf daily to prevent any darkening of the skin.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews


IPL treatments can be done every 3-4 weeks.  I would highly recommend that you see a provider who has good experience with using IPL on patients.  It is also very important to not be tan at the time of the treatment.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Frequency of IPL

IPL can be performed every 3-4 weeks, and as long as it is being performed by a medical clinic with highly experienced staff such as dermatologists, you should have both optimal safety and results. Most people find 4-8 treatments are sufficient for most problems, although sometimes maintenance treatments 1-2/year are a good idea (e.g. for rosacea, sun damage). 

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Tailoring Treatments To Specific Skin Problems Often Better Than One-Method-Treats-All Approach

While enticing, the concept of one device or modality, such as IPL, being capable of treating a whole variety of skin problems equally well (such as acne, acne scars, dyspigmentation and hyperpigmentation and spider veins on the legs) may not be entirely realistic or appropriate.

Unfortunately, I have been less than impressed with the overall  results from many of the overly hyped and marketed energy- and light-based devices. I have been in practice long enough to have seen so many of "latest and the best" of these come and go and be replaced many times over by other sets of devices that make the same claims.

By contrast, I have consistently found that individually addressing specific problems with treatments that have stood the test of time, rather than trying to shot gun them with one device that may not be optimal for all is a far better and more cost effective approach in the long run.

There are certainly many prescription treatments for controlling active acne with proven efficacy. There are numerous approaches to acne scar improvement, including medical microneedling, punch-excision, manual dermasanding, and subcision, to name a few, which may be used either alone or in combination depending upon the kind(s) and extent of the acne scars present.

Likewise, hyperpigmenation and dyspigmentation can be dealt with via the appropriate use of topical prescription and OTC products, either alone or in combination with a series of inexpensive mild superficial peels, such as glycolic acid, Jessner's solution, low concentration TCA, or salicylic acid (all of which have proven effectiveness against acne, as well). 

Finally, the gold standard for spider veins on the legs continues to be sclerotherapy, the injection of a solution to irritate the lining of these tiny, unwanted vessels (which serve no purpose in either providing nutrition or oxygenation to the skin) and close them off permanently. 

In summary, consultation with a board certified aesthetic dermatologist versed and experienced with all these different treatment options would be preferable in my estimation to reliance on one single modality, such as IPL, that may not provide the results desired to the extent desired for treating all these problems.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

IPL treatments

As long as you are not tanned, IPL treatments can be performed at 3 to 4 weekly intervals.  You should consult an experienced laser physician to see if one of the fractional lasers might be a more effective treatment for your acne scars.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

How often can I do IPL

IPL treatments are recommended every 3-4 weeks for your initial series, which should be between 3-7 treatments, depending on what's being treated (i.e., acne, discoloration, veins, etc. will each require a different number of initial treatments but the same intervals between). After the initial series, maintenance is usually recommended approximately every 6-12 months.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 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.