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!