IPL Vs. Photofacial - What's the Difference?

What's the difference between IPL and a Photofacial?

Doctor Answers 10

Basically they are the same

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Photofacial is a generic term for any light-based therapy that improves the appearance of the skin with no downtime.

IPL is Intense Pused Light, a non-laser light that helps red spots, dark spots and rosacea.

So, IPL is a way to perform photofacial.

A rose by any other name....

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A photofacial treatment describes the use of an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) machine to treat the facial skin for improvement if brown spots, wrinkles, and vessels.

IPL may also be used in other areas, however, such as the hands or chest- so a photofacial would always involve use of an IPL, but an IPL treatment does not necessarily mean a photofacial.

I hope that clarifies it for you- Happy New Year!

IPL , photofacial and BBL what does all this mean:

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Photofacial is a term applied to a vast array of treatments.  IPL or intense pulsed light treatment is pulsed light and there are many different manufacturers of this technology with varying efficiency.  My prefered modality of photofacial is BBL or Broadband light.  It is the same sort of technology but I rind it safer, more consitent and more customizable to patient needs than a host of other IPL technologies I have used in the past.   There are definitely some IPL machines that are inconsistent with energy delivery and can yield poor results.  BBL by Sciton is safe and very customizable to individual goals.


All the best,


Rian A. Maercks M.D.

IPL and photofacial are the same.

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IPL, PhotoFacials, Fotofacials and other varied spellings are all referring to one treatment: "Intense Pulsed Light." Because there are different companies that manufacture the equipment for IPL, they all like to have their own 'catch phrase' for the treatment. Regardless of the machine, it is the same technology.

Peter Schmid, DO, FAACS
Longmont Facial Plastic Surgeon

IPL = Photofacial

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IPL stands for "Intense Pulsed Light" and Photofacial, Fotofacial and any other spelling variation are all just catchy marketing terms given to this treatment.  The actual treatment consists of a device utilizing light to selectively target your skin to reduce redness and brown discoloration. 

Lorrie Klein, MD
Laguna Niguel Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 216 reviews

IPL and Photofacial are the same

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IPL and photofacial are terms for the same treatment: non-laser, light-based skin rejuvenation.  The treatments mostly correct color (reds and browns), and give some texture improvement.  "Fotofacial" is the trademarked name for IPL or photofacial done using Syneron's IPL device.

The IPL Photofacial

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The IPL or Photofacial is a non-laser, intense pulsed light based treatment which is used to even out skin tone.  It targets the red, broken blood vessels, and the brown, sun spots on the skins to improve the overall appearence.  The terms are used interchangeably.

Lisa Kates, MD
Annapolis Dermatologist

Tissue or Kleenex :)

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An IPL is a photofacial.  IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light which is what one means when they say photofacial.  It is one of our most useful and effective skin treatments as it can quickly and safely help with a host of conditions.

Be well!

Dr. L

IPL is a form of photofacial,

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In the Scottsdale area the term "Photofacial" is used so widely by salons and medispas that the meaning is blurred.  There can be a huge difference in results depending on the equipment used.  State of the art Lumenis One is a fourth generation IPL and will deliver safer and more effective treatments than some low quality inexpensive equipment.  Check  credentials and equipment  before deciding on treatment.

Susan Van Dyke, MD
Paradise Valley Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Ideal Photofacial choice

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For all practical purposes most doctors and patients use the terms IPL and Photofacial interchangeably.  IPL stands for "intense pulse light".  Photofacial is a term used when a face is getting treated with IPL or similar light device.

On the other hand not all IPL devbices are the same.  Some do not deliver adequate energy to affect the desired effect.  In addition the practicioner needs to set the correct parameters to obtain the desired result.

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.