What Is An IPL Photo Facial?

What Is An IPL Photo Facial?

It’s not been the smoothest skin rides in my mid-thirties. I have briefly spoken about my gut issues including IBS in one of my recent Instagram posts, and I have noticed acne over the past two years. I usually break out on my chin for that, I also eliminated dairy, reduced my intake sugar and gluten. But I still get bouts of chin acne every now and then (especially when my period is late), so during one of those breakouts, I tried an IPL Photo Facial.

What Is An IPL Photo Facial?

A Photo Facial is basically nothing like a traditional facial which is all about exfoliation and face packs and relaxation. It’s a laser treatment which uses light therapy to treat your skin. It’s a 30-45 minute session where you’re getting charged for medical treatment and not a relaxing day at the spa. The good part? There is little to no downtime, and it is a non-ablative treatment, meaning, no skin comes off.

With the help of a laser, Intense Pulse Lasers or IPL is used all over your face to tackle hyperpigmentation (dark spots, acne scars), enlarged pores, and acne.

Photo Facials are also used for fine lines and wrinkles but I have a feeling laser skin resurfacing might be a better option for that.

What To Expect In A Photo Facial?

Well, first up, don’t opt for a photo facial. I spoke to 2 dermatologists before opting for it. So get your consult at the same dermatologist’s office before you opt for a photo facial. According to this article, IPL photo facials shouldn’t be taken when you’re on Accutane or if you’re really tanned. I’m not really sure why, but I do think expert advice is necessary.

The aesthetician or the facialist will start by cleansing your face. And then she may or may not apply a topical numbing cream. In my case (I got it at Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta’s at ISAAC Luxe, I actually don’t remember if she did or didn’t, but I don’t remember being in pain.)

Then, the area i.e. your face is coated with a thin layer of gel that is also used in laser hair reduction. I just found out that it’s not just for gliding the machine handles but also helps protect the outermost skin layer (epidermis).

Then, you’re given eye-protecting goggles and the stinging starts. As the laser wand goes over your face, it can feel just uncomfortable or painful depending on the intensity being used. I didn’t really feel pain, but I did feel a stinging sensation in some parts of my face. It’s not too long, but they have to cover the whole face and your neckline if that’s what you are paying for.

Personally speaking, I hadn’t gotten a laser facial before then so I was also a bit uncomfortable. I think once you get used to the sound and light of the laser (which rattles first-timers) and the occasional stinging, it’s pretty OK. The treatment ends with an ice pack and sunscreen.


Aftermath Of An IPL Photo Facial & Results

My skin is super sensitive and gets red at the lightest touch, so it came as no surprise to me that my skin was red for a few hours. I came back home and went about my life. For the next week or so, my husband complimented me on the texture of my skin. Not only did the acne sober down but that my enlarged pores on my nose and cheeks were less visible. I do remember my brown spots (old acne scars) becoming less and less visible which was awesome (don’t pick on them, let the shed naturally). Over the second or third week, I did notice that I got another pimple on my chin and I was cursing myself. At the time, I didn’t know that, and IPL Photo facial may lead to skin purging. Your skin may push out all the bacteria to the surface and also takes some time to get used to the changes beneath the layers. Keep your skin hydrated and protected from the sun.

Soon, the lonesome pimple left, and yeah, I was pretty satisfied with the facial.

How Often Should You Get It Done?

Most docs suggest you opt for 4-5 facials every 3-4 weeks. However, I didn’t go for a second sitting, but I’ve had a lot of chin acne during quarantine for which I’ve used topical ointments and concentrated on my diet. When things normalise, I would consider going for a photo facial.

You Can Customise Your IPL Photo Facial Into A Shot

My client, dermatologist Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta told me that you could also just get a shot of IPL if you feel that your skin is breaking out only in parts, or if you want it to target a particular spot or pores.

So, next time when you’re in for a rejuvenating Hydrafacial, you can also request a shot of IPL!


It usually costs about between Rs 6,000-Rs 8,000 for a session of IPL Photo Facial. I actually got some discount on the same, so yes, it’s a rather expensive facial but it does offer promising results. The costs can differ from doctor’s clinics to cities as well.

Thanks for reading! Here are a few videos you can watch on photo facials!


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