Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy | Photofacial

When to consider intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, aka a photofacial, with Cleveland Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ponsky

Intense pulsed light or broad band light uses light technology to improve the color and texture of your skin without surgery. It can undo some of the visible damage caused by sun exposure, called photoaging. You may notice it mostly on your face, neck, hands, or chest. IPL may help if you have red, brown, or splotchy skin.

How It Helps


IPL, aka photofacial, uses light energy to send out wavelengths of pulsating light to treat a range of skin conditions at the same time. 

When the skin is heated, your body gets rid of the unwanted cells, and that gets rid of the thing you’re being treated for. After IPL, you may look younger because your skin tone is more even.  IPL photofacials treat: 

Redness: After one to three treatments, the light therapy can get rid of 50%-75% of broken blood vessels for most people. They could completely go away. If rosacea causes your face to flush, IPL can be a good alternative to laser therapy. 

Sun damage: You may see 70% less of the brown spots and redness caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Hair removal: You’ll get the most benefit if you have light skin and dark hair. It may not work at all if you have dark skin or blond hair.

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What to expect before Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

Before the procedure, do NOT tan in the sun, in a tanning bed, or use tanning creams for 4 weeks before treatment.  Do not get chemical peels for 2 weeks before, and do not wax.   Do not wear perfume, makeup or deodorant or any skin irritants before the procedure.  Do not take aspirin or medications which could thin your blood and therefore cause more bruising.  Do not take medications that sensitize you to the sun, such as doxycycline.


What to expect during Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

On the day of the treatment, the physician or nurse practitioner will give you numbing cream to put on for 10-15 minutes before the procedure.  Then protective glasses will be placed on your eyes.  Gel will be placed on your clean skin, and the IPL device will go right on your skin. The session will last about 20-30 minutes.  The light pulses may feel like rubber band stings. Most people do fine with the minor sensations.


What to expect after Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

You will feel like you have a sunburn for 4-6 hours after you’re finished.  Using aloe vera, ice packs or a cool washcloth for relief.  Your skin may be red or bruised for a day or two. Some of the brown spots may temporarily look darker but should peel off within a few weeks. Do not use makeup if the skin is sensitive, use adequate moisturizers and sunscreen 30 SPF daily even if not sunny outside. Most people need between 3-7 sessions.  Each condition is different. The sessions should be 2-4 weeks apart.

What Our Patients Say

  • The office was nice. Receptionist was very polite. Dr. Ponsky was great. The experience was comfortable and she explained everything to me before doing anything. She made sure I understood. Thank you Dr. Ponsky!

    - YM( Cleveland Facial Plastic Surgery )
  • I have always been apprehensive of ANY cosmetic procedures. Not any more! Dr Ponsky and her entire staff are friendly, professional and reassuring. Dr Ponsky is gentle, thorough, professional, talented, knows medicine and her craft. I can’t recommend this entire practice more. It is a gift that we have her in Cleveland.

    - SA( Cosmetic Surgery, Cleveland )
  • I can’t be happier with the results of my Rhinoplasty on both aspects functionally and aesthetically, Dr. Ponsky did such a great job, before, during, and after surgery, she is on top of everything and follow her patients very carefully after surgery to ensure complete healing and great results. Thank you Dr. Ponsky and her staff from the bottom of my heart🙏🙏

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    - A( Rhinoplasty, Cleveland )
  • I have nothing but positive to say about Dr. Ponsky and her entire staff! The first time I came in for a appointment I felt a welcoming and warm energy from the entire group . Dr. Ponsky’s assistant Jaime is fabulous and I love how she can answer all my questions if I don’t understand all!!
    Thank you everyone !!!

    - DB( )
  • Dr Ponsky’s staff are full of energy and very friendly. They are extremely personable, and worked to ensure that I felt comfortable and had everything I needed (down to a blanket during the procedure). Dr Ponsky is thorough, sweet, and gentle in her explanations. She made sure to explain the answers to each of my questions and I never felt rushed/forced to make a decision. I love the fact that we could do the entire procedure under local anesthesia.

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    - EE( Blepharoplasty, Cleveland )