Photofacial Benefits – What is IPL and Is It for You?     Today I’m really excited to share a post that has been a highly requested beauty topic ever since I started documenting my experience with it on Insta stories–IPL treatments! (Also commonly referred to as a photofacial!)   If you’re new here, I won’t go into too much detail, but to give you the short version. I struggle with breakouts on the sides of my face, and have been dealing with this on and off for years. Therefore, I have trouble not just with the breakouts themselves, but also the scarring and discoloration that they leave behind.   I was determined to get my skin under control before my wedding. So I started going to Mara’s Med Spa.  One of my favorite treatments I regularly get is the IPL. I’d say this is probably the treatment that I get the most questions about, so I figured I would do a super informative post to answer all your questions!



IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light – which is interchangeable with the term “photofacial”–it’s easy to get IPL mixed up with laser treatments because it essentially looks the same, but it’s not technically a laser–it’s a pulse of light, similar to a camera flash.

The light penetrates through to the second layer of the skin, targeting bacteria (helpful for acne) and pigmentation (helpful for dark spots, scarring, etc), without harming the top layer. The light is absorbed by the melanin–damaging only that specific lesion. Then the body naturally removes the damaged tissue (aka your dark spots) leaving behind more beautiful, even skin.



Overall, IPL therapy is known for helping even skin tone. Whatever kind of skin issues you have, typically, they’re related to your skin tone, right? IPL can help with all of these things, like:

Reduced hyperpigmentation, age spots, and sun spots due to photodamage 

This is what IPL is most well-known for. If you have any kind of dark spot on your face that you’re self conscious about, this will help immensely. Personally, I have leftover red and brown spots from acne–but it’s also a popular treatment for those with sun damage!

Reduced acne and acne scars 

IPL is a powerful weapon in killing bacteria in your skin and targets sebaceous glans that contribute to breakouts. I can attest to this myself (I had regular IPL treatments leading up to my wedding that definitely zapped any breakouts I currently had and kept them from coming back!) Results in clinical trials have shown IPL to reduce acne by at least 50%–but I would say it’s far more effective than that!



I’m sure this depends on where you get your treatment done, but I can assume everywhere is fairly similar! You’ll lie on what is similar to a massage-type table on your back, and your technician will put on goggles to protect your eyes from the flashing light. A cool gel will be applied to the area being treated, and the treatment will consist of a series of little pulses of light–again, like a camera is being flashed. If you’ve had any kind of laser treatment before, it will feel similar (although, remember, IPL isn’t actually a laser, it’s light!)

Does it hurt? Well–let me put it this way–it doesn’t feel good. It really zings if you have breakouts, but isn’t as painful if you don’t. It feels like a hot rubber band snap–but it’s over very quickly. To me, it’s not as bad as say, a Brazilian wax and getting ripped over and over again!

I will also mention that I have a high pain tolerance. To me, it’s tolerable, but others have messaged me saying the pain was truly horrible ? The moral of the story is–no, it doesn’t feel good, but beauty is pain and the results are WELL worth it. It’s also worth noting that if you get regular treatments I think you get used to it and it tends not to hurt as badly.

Also note: If you’re on a Retin-A type product or intense retinol, it’s best to stop using it a few days prior just to ensure your skin isn’t overly sensitive and avoid damage.



There is pretty much zero recovery time due to the fact that no damage is done to the top layer of skin. You may experience some redness and a bit of swelling at first, but it goes down in no time. Everyone is different, but sometimes your dark spots or scars will almost scab and virtually flake off over the next several days (it doesn’t hurt–they just feel rough and then will flake off, revealing a much lighter scar!)–it’s really crazy! That doesn’t always happen though–everyone is different!



Post treatment care is also very minimal, but you will definitely want to stay out of the sun (or wear a hat! And ALWAYS SPF!) Leah also recommends not wearing makeup right after your treatment, just to let your skin breathe–if at all possible. (Although this isn’t a deal-breaker at all.) Also, it’s important to avoid retinols or at-home chemical peels for at least a week or so to give your skin some time to rest and recover.



If you struggle with breakouts, uneven skin tone, or pigmentation, definitely look into getting IPL. Also, I think it’s a great thing to do before your wedding to clear up any existing breakouts, prevent new ones, and overall just make your skin look amazing!

Absolutely I love the results I get with IPL treatments. They do all the things I outlined above, and more. I see results after just one treatment, but sometimes it can take more than one. Typically starting with a package of 3 is the recommended amount, but again, everyone is different based on their individual needs and issues!

Note: If you are doing it for acne, please know that it’s not a cure and regular treatments will be needed to keep breakouts at bay–so it’s most effective best paired in tandem with other acne treatments.

If you are ready to start working on your skin care goals, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Mara’s Med Spa to find out how we can help you! To learn more about these innovative treatments and to schedule your consultation at one of our Dallas locations, just call or text 469.730.3333.  We are located in Uptown Dallas across from the Crescent, Moxie’s and the Ritz Carlton and in the Highland Park Preston Center Shopping Center near North Park Mall off of the Toll Road and Northwest Highway.