What is a Photofacial & How Does It Work?

What is a Photofacial & How Does It Work?

photofacials by Just Glam Aesthetics in Astoria, NY

Photofacials have become a popular option for those seeking to improve their skin’s appearance without undergoing invasive procedures. By utilizing intense pulsed light (IPL) technology, photofacials offer a solution for various skin issues such as sun damage, age spots, and rosacea. This treatment harnesses light energy to target and treat pigment-producing cells, encouraging the skin to rejuvenate naturally. The result is often a more even skin tone and a reduction in visible imperfections. With minimal downtime and a non-invasive approach, IPL photofacials appeal to many individuals seeking a healthier and more youthful complexion.

What is an IPL Photofacial?

An IPL photofacial, or Intense Pulsed Light photofacial, is a non-invasive aesthetic treatment designed to improve the appearance of the skin. It addresses various skin concerns by using light pulses to target specific issues such as sun damage, age spots, redness, and rosacea. Unlike traditional laser treatments that use a single wavelength of light, IPL utilizes multiple wavelengths, making it a versatile option for treating different skin problems simultaneously.

The popularity of IPL photofacials stems from their ability to provide significant improvements with minimal downtime and discomfort. Sessions are usually quick, making them convenient for those with busy schedules. Additionally, the treatment is customizable, allowing practitioners to adjust the light settings based on the individual’s skin type and concerns.

How Does IPL Photofacial Work?

The device used in IPL treatments emits multiple wavelengths of light, penetrating the skin to reach the deeper layers without damaging the surface. This light energy is absorbed by the pigmented cells and blood vessels in the skin.

When absorbed, the light is converted into heat, which selectively damages the targeted pigment cells and vascular structures. This controlled thermal injury stimulates the skin’s natural healing processes. As a result, the pigmented areas, such as age spots and freckles, are broken down and eventually slough off, while the damaged blood vessels causing redness and rosacea are coagulated and absorbed by the body​​.

Furthermore, the heat generated by the IPL also promotes collagen production. Collagen is a vital protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. As new collagen forms, it helps to improve the skin’s texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and enhance overall firmness and elasticity. This dual action of targeting pigmentation and stimulating collagen makes IPL photofacials effective for many skin concerns.

During the treatment, a cooling gel is often applied to the skin to enhance comfort and protect the outer layer. The IPL device is passed over the treatment area, delivering light pulses. Patients may feel a mild snapping sensation as the skin absorbs the light, but discomfort is generally minimal.  

Benefits of IPL Photofacial Treatment

  1. Targeted Treatment: IPL photofacials allow for precise targeting of specific skin issues, such as hyperpigmentation, redness, and vascular lesions. This specificity helps to address problem areas effectively without affecting the surrounding skin​.
  2. Enhanced Skin Clarity: The treatment significantly improves skin clarity by reducing visible imperfections, leading to a brighter and more radiant complexion.
  3. Quick Procedure: Sessions typically last 30-60 minutes, making IPL photofacials a convenient option for busy schedules. This quick treatment time allows for easy integration into regular skincare routines​.
  4. Customizable for Different Skin Types: The treatment can be adjusted for different skin types and conditions. Each patient will receive the best possible care tailored to their individual needs, thanks to this personalization.
  5. Non-Invasive with Minimal Discomfort: The procedure is non-invasive and generally causes minimal discomfort.
  6. Cumulative Benefits: Frequent care can have cumulative effects that improve the skin’s general health and look over time. Sessions that are ongoing support and enhance results.
  7. Improves Skin Elasticity: By encouraging the creation of collagen, IPL photofacials assist in enhancing skin suppleness, giving the appearance of tighter, younger-looking skin.
  8. Versatile Applications: Besides facial treatments, IPL photofacials can be applied to other parts of the body like the neck, chest, and hands, offering comprehensive skin rejuvenation​​.
  9. Suitable for Various Skin Concerns: It is practical in addressing a wide range of skin concerns, including sun damage, age spots, and broken capillaries. This versatility makes it a popular choice for many individuals seeking skin improvement​.

The IPL Photofacial Procedure

During the actual treatment, the skin is first cleansed thoroughly to remove any makeup, oil, or dirt. A cooling gel is then applied to the treatment area to help protect the skin and enhance the effectiveness of the light pulses.

There is protective eyewear available to protect your eyes from the bright light. The practitioner applies precise light pulses to the skin using handheld IPL equipment. The pigmentation and vascular problems that lie beneath the skin’s surface are the focus of these light pulses. Many people describe the sensation they experience during the process as light snapping or stinging, akin to the snap of a rubber band against their skin. Although most people can handle this feeling, if necessary, a topical anesthetic can be used before the procedure to reduce pain.

Depending on the extent of the region being treated, the operation usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete. It could take several passes with the IPL equipment to get the desired effects. Following the procedure, the cooling gel is taken off, and the treated region is covered with a calming moisturizer or sunscreen.


Post-treatment care is straightforward. Patients are advised to avoid direct sun exposure and to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect the treated skin. Some redness and swelling may occur immediately following the procedure, but these effects generally subside within a few hours to a day. The skin may also feel slightly warm, similar to a mild sunburn. In the days following the treatment, pigmented spots may darken and eventually flake off, revealing clearer skin beneath.


IPL photofacials offer a powerful solution for achieving clearer, more radiant skin by targeting pigmentation issues and redness and stimulating collagen production. The procedure is quick, non-invasive, and tailored to meet individual skin needs, making it ideal for those looking to improve their complexion with minimal downtime.

Ready to experience the benefits for yourself? Start your assessment with Just Glam Aesthetics today! Our skilled team is here to provide personalized care and help you achieve the glowing, youthful skin you desire. Contact us and see how our services can satisfy your needs. 

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