Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, is a new and exciting way to improve and rejuvenate the skin. Unlike a laser, which emits one specific wavelength of light, IPL emits a broad spectrum of light with each pulse. The broad spectrum of light in each pulse allows us to treat a variety of skin imperfections at the same time. The state-of-the-art machine we use is the Lumenis One, one of the most advanced IPL units produced. Treatments are quick and effective with very little downtime.


Treatment for Poikiloderma (320x240)
Above are before (left side) and after (right side) photographs of a patient treated at Baylor Dermatology for poikiloderma (redness on the neck) with two IPL treatments.

The most common application of IPL is a skin rejuvenation technique known as FotoFacial (also PhotoFacial). This treatment provides an average of 70 percent improvement in the signs of sun damage (redness, brown spots, etc). There may also be some improvement in wrinkles, pore size and flushing. An entire zone, such as the face, is treated during each treatment The sessions are scheduled every three weeks. Using a numbing cream immediately before the session may reduce any discomfort. Usually the treated skin stays red for 1-3 days and there may be a little bruising. Brown spots that have been treated usually flake off within 5-7 days. Most people can go back to work right away.

In addition, IPL may be used with different parameters for a variety of other conditions such as port-wine stains, hemangiomas, brown spots, scars, blood vessels, rosacea, acne and more. A consultation will determine if you might be a good candidate for treatment.


We charge $500 per treatment for the first 4 sessions for the face. The fifth treatment is free. Patients with brown spots may only need 1-3 treatments, whereas redness may take 5 treatments, and in some cases more. As mentioned, redness is typical and bruising can sometimes occur. Serious side effects such as scarring or discoloration are extremely rare with the Lumenis One due to numerous safety features.


Avoid the sun before and after treatment. Having a tan interferes with the treatment. Consider regular use of a daily moisturizing sunblock with an SPF of 30

Numbing cream is recommended for the most comfortable experience. Recticare 4 percent or 5 percent cream is sold in our clinic or may be purchased without a prescription at any pharmacy (some require 48 hours to order). For the face it is best applied generously 60 minutes pretreatment, and again as a mask 30 minutes pretreatment.


Photodynamic Therapy.  IPL may be combined with a topical medication called ALA (aminolevulinic acid) in order to perform a procedure called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). ALA is applied to the skin and left on for 1 - 3 hours before IPL treatment. The application of the medication is painless and the IPL treatment is performed as above. Adding ALA to an IPL session costs $150 for the medication.