What to Expect Before, During, and After IPL Treatment

Preparing for an IPL treatment can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Knowing what to expect at each stage is vital to ensure a smooth and successful experience. IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, is a prevalent procedure for addressing various skin concerns, from sun damage to fine lines. ThreeForMe™ is a specialized IPL treatment that utilizes the clinically proven Icon™ laser to target multiple skin issues in one session. Understanding what happens before, during, and after the treatment can help ease any anxiety and optimize results. 

Knowing IPL and ThreeForMe™ Treatment

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a versatile skin treatment that uses broad-spectrum light to target various skin issues. Unlike lasers that use a sole wavelength, IPL radiates multiple wavelengths, allowing it to address different skin concerns simultaneously. The light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by pigmented cells and blood vessels, which are then destroyed or coagulated.

ThreeForMe™ takes it a step further by exclusively utilizing the Icon™ laser. This treatment addresses three primary skin concerns in one session: discoloration, fine lines, and vascular issues. By combining the benefits of IPL and the precision of the Icon™ laser, ThreeForMe™ provides comprehensive skin rejuvenation.

Benefits and Unique Features of Using the Icon™ Laser

The laser’s technology allows for customizable treatments tailored to individual skin types and concerns. Its unique features include advanced cooling mechanisms to enhance patient comfort and reduce downtime. The Icon™ laser’s ability to target multiple skin layers effectively treats deep, surface-level imperfections.

Skin Concerns Targeted by ThreeForMe™:

  • Sun Damage: Helps to reduce sunspots and hyperpigmentation.
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Stimulates collagen production to smoothen fine lines and improve skin texture.
  • Vascular Issues: Addresses broken blood vessels and redness associated with rosacea.

Before the Treatment

Before undergoing IPL treatment, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a certified professional. During this consultation, the practitioner will consider your skin type, medical history, and specific concerns. 

Preparation Guidelines

Proper preparation is necessary for attaining the best effects and minimizing the risk of side effects. Here are some standard pre-treatment guidelines:

  • Avoid Sun Exposure: Stay out of the sun for at least two weeks before your treatment. Tanned or sunburned skin expands the risk of complications and can meddle with the effectiveness of the IPL treatment.
  • Stop Certain Medications: Some medications can increase photosensitivity or the risk of bruising. Your practitioner will confer with you on which medications to avoid before your treatment.
  • Discontinue Certain Skincare Products: Products containing retinoids, glycolic acid, or other exfoliants should be avoided for at least a week before your treatment. These items can make your skin more susceptible to the IPL light and tamper results. 
  • Shave the Treatment Area: If the treated area has significant hair, you may be advised to shave it a day or two before the treatment. This helps the IPL light penetrate the skin more effectively.

What to Avoid Before the Treatment

Avoid certain activities and products before the procedure to guarantee best results:

  • Avoid Tanning Beds and Self-Tanners: These can increase the risk of burns and hyperpigmentation.
  • Skip Chemical Peels and Laser Treatments: Other skin treatments should be avoided for at least two weeks before IPL to prevent skin irritation and ensure optimal results.
  • Limit Alcohol and Smoking: Reducing alcohol consumption and smoking can improve your skin’s healing capacity and overall health.

During the Treatment

The IPL treatment process is designed to be straightforward and efficient, ensuring minimal discomfort while achieving optimal results. Here’s what you can expect: 

  1. Skin Cleansing: Your practitioner will thoroughly clean your skin to vacate any makeup, oil, or impurities. This ensures that the IPL light penetrates the skin effectively.
  2. Application of a Cooling Gel: A cooling gel may be applied to the treatment area. This gel helps protect the skin and enhance the effectiveness of the IPL light.
  3. Protective Eyewear: You will be given protective eyewear to shield your eyes from the bright pulses of light emitted by the IPL device.
  4. Setting Up the Icon™ Laser: The practitioner will configure the Icon™ laser settings based on your specific skin type and concerns. The device is then passed over the treatment area, emitting controlled light pulses.

What to Expect

During the procedure, you might experience some sensations, but they are generally mild and tolerable:

  • Sensations: Patients often describe the feeling as a slight snapping or stinging sensation, comparable to the snap of a rubber band against the skin. The cooling gel and advanced cooling mechanisms in the Icon™ laser help to minimize discomfort.
  • Duration: The length of the treatment session depends on the size and number of areas being treated. A routine session can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Safety Measures: Throughout the treatment, the practitioner will continuously monitor your skin’s reaction and adjust the settings to ensure safety and effectiveness.

After the Treatment

Right after your IPL treatment, you might notice some redness and mild swelling in the treated area. These reactions diminish within a few hours to a few days. Here’s what you can expect immediately after the session and how to care for your skin:

  • Redness and Swelling: These are common and usually mild. Applying a cold compress can help ease these symptoms.
  • Soothing Creams: Your practitioner may apply or recommend a gentle cream or lotion to calm the skin and promote healing.
  • Sun Protection: Protect your skin from sun exposure immediately after the treatment. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and avoid direct sunlight for a few weeks.

Recovery Period

The recovery period following IPL treatment is typically minimal, but it’s essential to follow specific guidelines to ensure optimal healing and results:

  • Avoid Hot Environments: For the first 24-48 hours, avoid hot showers, saunas, and intense physical activities that can cause excessive sweating.
  • Gentle Skincare: For a week after treatment, use gentle skincare products and avoid harsh chemicals or exfoliants. Stick to a rudimentary routine of cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting your skin with sunscreen.
  • No Picking or Scrubbing: If you experience any crusting or flaking, allow it to heal naturally. Picking or scrubbing can lead to scarring or infection.


Ready to achieve radiant, youthful skin? Schedule your IPL treatment with Outer Banks Dermatology today! Our team guarantees state-of-the-art Icon™ laser technology to ensure you acquire the highest quality care and results. Don’t wait—book your assessment now and take the first step towards healthier, rejuvenated skin. Contact Outer Banks Dermatology to discover how IPL can transform your skin.


Recent Posts



Get in touch

Feel free to reach out and ask us anything!

Patients can apply for CareCredit and Cherry for cosmetic procedures.

Call Now Button