IPL for Pigmentation: How It Works, What To Expect & More!

How IPL works for pigmentation

In This Article

In previous posts we continued our appreciation for IPL Skin Rejuvenation and how it can be used for a slew of skin conditions, but it doesn’t end there! That’s because this awesome, light-based treatment is perfect for another common skin problem: IPL for pigmentation and dark spots.

What is Pigmentation?

A quick recap on pigmentation: A common condition that occurs when the body produces too much melanin, it can manifest itself in a variety of different non-raised skin patches, such as sun damage, age spots and hormone-related melasma. This is because it occurs beneath the surface of the skin. Some causes of pigmentation include excessive sun exposure, injury and hormones.

You can read our complete guide on pigmentation to learn more. But for now, let’s focus on the real star of this article: IPL!

How Does IPL Work for Pigmentation?

By now you’ll understand how the process works – using quick and powerful flashes of light to pulse through the skin’s surface to target a specific area, notably somewhere dark (think hair, for example). This is because the light is absorbed by pigmented areas, before being converted into heat, thus allowing it to destroy said area. In the case of pigmentation, the part of the skin being obliterated is the unwanted pigment (melanin), which is first broken down into smaller particles before flaking away from the surface as part of a natural healing process – either as temporary scabs or through the body’s lymphatic system.

How Does IPL Work for Pigmentation?

IPL for Pigmentation: Before and After Tips

What to do before IPL

When thinking about IPL pigmentation removal, you’ll first need to ensure that the signs you’re seeing on your skin are actually pigmentation, and not something else.

For this reason, we always advise you to get a skin consultation with our aesthetician ensuring you get the right diagnosis beforehand.

What to expect after IPL

You should be prepared for the spots to darken the day of treatment and be present for 7 to 10 days afterwards until the natural healing process sloughs off the pigmented areas.

However, other than this – and one of the best things about having IPL treatment for pigmentation – is that there is very little downtime or any major aftercare required whatsoever!

How Many IPL Treatments for Pigmentation?

Ideally, you’ll need 4 to 6 sessions of IPL to get the best results.

Now, keep in mind: Pigmentation will develop again over time – especially if you don’t make any changes to the aggravating factors that caused it in the first place, such as prolonged exposure to sun. (Read all about that here and here!) As well as making necessary lifestyle changes, therefore, be prepared to top-up with a couple of maintenance sessions each year after your initial course of treatment.

IPL treatment for skin pigmentation also works well in conjunction with face peels – something else we’re proud to offer here at Lovoir. Read more about Face Peels here.

IPL vs Laser for Pigmentation: What’s Better?

Honestly, there is no better or worse. It all depends on your preference!

Compared to laser treatments, IPL is known to be gentler on the skin. Unlike laser, it doesn’t cause any deep resurfacing, which means less downtime and a smoother healing period.

After the session, you might leave with some minor redness that shouldn’t take long to clear up. During the healing process, the targeted marks may appear to be getting browner – but not to worry, this is totally normal and will resolve itself in a matter of days!

Secondly, because of its more gentle approach on the skin, IPL also requires more sessions for best results.

Laser, on the other hand, is a more targeted treatment, which may offer more obvious results after a single session but also more intense in terms of recovery. That said, keep in mind: Your results and recovery will depends on the type of laser used. If you plan to get laser instead of IPL, make sure to ask your aesthetician or dermatologist to explain their laser machine and what to expect from the treatment.

Is IPL Good for Melasma?

Is IPL Good for Melasma?

With the way IPL works, it can definitely help in lightening melasma. However, it should not be seen as the one and only solution. For best results, it should be done in tandem with other treatments like topical creams.

Is IPL Good for Dark Skin?

If you have naturally dark or tanned skin – real or fake – you may want to avoid this one. The risk of complications, such as burning or permanent pigmentation changes, is much higher. This is because it can mess with the IPL pigmentation machine’s ability to target the unwanted melanin.

Who Else Can’t Get IPL?

If you use Retin-A too (for the treatment of acne), you should also make sure you stop it a week or two before treatment to prevent extra sensitivity.

You should also refrain from the treatment two weeks before or after a holiday in the sun.

That said, a note for everyone: Regardless of skin tone, IPL treatment for pigmentation should always be conducted by a reputable clinic with trained therapists, if you want to avoid permanent scarring and other side effects. If it is, you can expect a textbook recovery post treatment.

We’re always available to advise so feel free to pop into our salon for a consultation!

Book IPL for Pigmentation at Lovoir Day Spa

If you’re interested in trying IPL, book your appointment online or give us a call. But if you’re unsure about whether this treatment is best for you, you can start by booking a consultation with one of our skin therapists. Either way, we can’t wait to see you at Lovoir Day Spa!

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