Cosmetic Dermatology

IPL Treatments
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment is often referred to as photorejuvenation or a photofacial.

It is excellent to erase sun damage, dilated blood vessels called spider veins (red spots), irregular pigmentation and uneven skin tone and texture on the face, neck and chest, forearms and hands.

IPL can be used in combination with other resurfacing lasers like Fraxel to remove dead skin cells and reveal young healthy skin. IPL treatments also smooth fine lines and wrinkles, shrink enlarged pores, and treat rosacea and melasma. IPL is not a laser.

How Does It Work?

Intense pulsed light penetrates the skin to heat the sub-surface layers of skin called the dermis. The gentle pulses of intense, optimized light target underlying pigment deposits. The light is absorbed by pigmented cells and breaks up the excess pigment that comes to the surface. Additionally, the heat enhances the production of collagen, which over time fills out lines and wrinkles and roughness.

What Does IPL Treat?

  • Sun-induced skin changes including red and pigmented lesions, spider veins, and freckles.
  • Age spots or lentigines found on the hands and face and other areas frequently exposed to the sun. They are common in people over age 60.
  • Melasma – hyperpigmentation on the face that appears during pregnancy or with use of oral contraceptives. It is caused by hormone changes.
  • Rosacea- facial redness, flushing and visible blood vessels. It is a chronic condition that usually begins around age 30 and flares up and remits. It is usually found on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. It develops into a ruddy complexion with visible blood vessels. It can be triggered by sun, stress, hot weather, alcohol and more.
  • Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation – excess pigment caused by a skin conditions like acne, infection, allergic reaction, injuries and trauma.
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Enlarged pores
  • Rough skin texture
  • Splotchy uneven skin tone and rough texture
  • Acne scarring and hyperpigmentation after acne
  • Moderate to severe inflammatory acne. The high intensity pulsed light reduces the growth of bacteria and eliminates inflammation in oil glands.
  • Unwanted hair on the face, neck, chest and body

IPL is very versatile and can improve the appearance of many of the most common skin conditions, with little to no downtime and recovery.

Your Consultation With Dr. Hashemi

During your consultation with Dr. Pantea Hashemi, she will review your medical history, examine your skin and listen to your aesthetic goals and expectations and discuss options to address your goals.

Most patients see their desirable outcome after a series of 3-4 IPL treatments about one month apart. IPL is safe and effective but unsuitable for pregnant women, people on blood thinner, people who are susceptible to keloid scarring.

The Procedure

Before treatment, a layer of cold gel is applied to improve comfort during the procedure. You will wear dark glasses to protect your eyes. Then, an applicator is placed on the skin and delivers the intense pulsed light to the areas to be treated. As it works, the skin absorbs the light energy and heats up causing a snapping sensation as if a rubber band is being snapped against your skin. The entire procedure can take up to 20 minutes. There may be some short-term tenderness and redness.

Most patients experience a few days of redness like a slight sun burn. Some brown spots may appear darker for a few days or look like coffee grounds that flake off within 3-5 days. You can apply SPF makeup immediately after IPL treatment if necessary.

It is imperative that the area being treated is not tanned 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after the day of the procedure.  Afterwards, it is important to protect your skin from the sun using a sunscreen daily. You should use a gentle skin cleanser and moisturizer for about a week, and then you can resume your normal skin care routine.

What To Expect

  • Prior to the procedure you will meet with Dr. Hashemi to discuss your treatment goals. It is important to avoid tanning before and during treatment.
  • Treatment can take about 20 minutes, depending on the area of the face or body that you want treated.
  • You should see improvement after the first treatment, but up to three treatments may be required to achieve full effect.
  • The number of treatments depends on the location and number of vessels to be treated.
  • Treatments are most efficient in patients with light skin who are not suntanned at the time of treatment. Preprogrammed setting for different skin types ensures a correct energy output for your skin type.
  • After treatment your skin may benefit from applying a cold damp cloth to the treated areas or using an ointment prescribed by Dr. Hashemi. Also, you should avoid sun exposure for 30 days, even if there are no signs of inflammation int he treated areas.
  • You may notice sloughing off of some skin or darkening of some pigmented spots for a few days following treatment. After that you will find that your skin looks smoother and fresher. You might choose to have 1 or 2 annual maintenance treatments.
  • Talk to Dr. Hashemi about what to expect with your individual treatment.


Contact Dr. Hashemi at The University Skin Institute to schedule a consultation and discover all your options for aesthetic enhancements.