Is It Safe to Get IPL Treatments when Pregnant?

I just found out that I'm about 5 to 6 weeks pregnant. I have an IPL session scheduled, for my face, in 2 weeks. I am mainly having it done for sun damage and I've never had this done before. Can/should I still have this procedure done?

Doctor Answers 26

I do not recommend IPL for pregnant women. The hormonal...

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I do not recommend IPL for pregnant women.  The hormonal changes of pregnancy can alter the effect of the broad band light therapy and result in stimulation of pigmentation, and accelerate or precipitate melasma.
There is no danger to the baby.

New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

No Energy-Based Devices Recommended for Pregnant Women

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IPLs, as well as other devices like lasers, should not be used on anyone that is pregnant. These devices have never been studied in pregnant women, and we recommend no energy-based devices in pregnant women – period.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

IPL during pregnancy

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There are no studies indicating whether it is safe or not in pregnancy.  During pregnancy hormones flucuate and there is more risk of hyperpigmentation from the laser.  That being said, I recommend waiting to do IPL until after pregnancy.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

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IPL is a safe procedure, but should be deferred until after pregnancy.

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IPL is in theory and in practice completely safe during pregnancy. There is no harmful energy or ionizing radiation involved. My preference is not to treat patients during pregnancy, particularly for melasma, because the pregnancy hormones could exacerbate the pigmentation anyway. In addition, even if this is a perfectly safe and mostly comfortable, well-tolerated procedure, there could be a patient who reacts differently to the treatment, feels more discomfort than the the usual for example, and this may trigger an 'adrenaline' or hormonal response that is undesired for the expectant mother and may pose a stress to the unborn fetus. I would wait until after pregnancy to do all the aesthetic treatments that your doctor can offer you. Good luck and enjoy your beautiful state!

Laser treatments are not recommended during pregnancy

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It is best to wait until several months after delivery to get laser or IPL treatments.  Hormonal changes during pregnancy change skin pigmentation and the way skin responds. 

Also, laser and IPL treatments have not been tested for safety in pregnant women, so such data is not available.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Pregnancy is a CONTRAINDICATION to having IPL

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Pregnancy is a contraindication for IPL and BBL (Broad Band Light) treatments. The effect on the fetus is unknown and the hormonal shifts of pregnancy make the response of pigmented lesions very unpredictable. It is best to have the treatment after the pregnancy when you reach a normal pre-pregnancy hormonal state.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

IPL While Pregnant

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Because very few treatments of any sort have been studied in pregnant or lactating women, most dermatologists would advise waiting till after the pregnancy.

Besides, a variety of brown blemishes or burst blood vessels may develop during pregnancy, which can then be cleaned up by the IPL afterwards safely.

While the risk of treatment would be remote, why have any risk?

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Safety of IPL on Pregnant Women

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This is an excellent question! Knowing the safety of a product or procedure, especially when you are pregnant, should be of utmost priority. As for your question, there are actually no researches made or studies done regarding the safety of IPL for pregnant women. With that in mind, I would highly recommend for you to reschedule the IPL treatment after you give birth since hormones easily fluctuate when a woman is pregnant. Hormone fluctuation brought about pregnancy may trigger hyperpigmentation could possibly intensify during the pregnancy period. However, they could also fade out on their own after delivery.


Because of all of these, I would suggest waiting out until delivery is done or even suggest foregoing the treatment altogether and just get it after you have breastfed your baby, should you opt to breastfeed. You and your baby’s safety and well-being are our priorities and since no study could prove the safety of IPL to pregnant women, we will go on the safer side and not put you and the baby at risk.

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Safety of IPL phootofacial during pregnancy

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Thank you for your question. I understand your concern. An IPL photofacial is an outstanding treatment for facial rejuvenation. It works by using bright light to target and destroy pigment and redness in the skin.

The light energy delivered by the IPL Photofacial gently heats the upper layers of the skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas will destroy unwanted pigment and redness while stimulating the skin cells to regenerate new collagen. This process will restore the skin to its natural beauty, blending its natural colors and making it smoother, vibrant and younger looking.

The IPL photofacial can treat a number of concerns including dark discolorations (e.g., freckles, age spots), broken capillaries, generalized redness, acne, loose skin, uneven texture, and unwanted hair.

The safety and efficacy of IPL photofacial treatments have not been determined in women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast feeding. While some physicians are comfortable treating women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast feeding, in the absence of data I err on the side of caution and recommend that my patients avoid IPL photofacial treatments and other such cosmetic treatments until they are no longer breast feeding.

Please consult with a doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!

Is it safe to get an IPL or Photofacial when pregnant?

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To date there are no clinical studies confirming the safety of energy-based treatments during pregnancy; therefore, we will not treat anyone who is pregnant, suspects they might be pregnant, or is still nursing. Hormone levels fluctuate during pregnancy, often resulting in increased hyperpigmentation and melasma. These skin markings may intensify or fade throughout pregnancy, post delivery, and nursing. For this reason, best results are observed once the new mother has finished breastfeeding completely. 

Jia Zheng, MD
Vancouver Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.