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Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light is a treatment that uses a device which emits light in quick, high intensity bursts to remove blood vessels, sunspots, or hair. (Read IPL overview “Intense Pulsed Light Therapy for Aging Skin” on the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery website.)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatments


What are Intense Pulsed Light treatments?

Intense Pulsed Light is light treatment like a laser that is specific for brown spots of the skin and blood vessels.  Depending on the size of the blood vessels and the darkness of the brown spots, different settings will be used to target these specifically.

Who should have Intense Pulsed Light therapy?

Dr. Janiga recommends Intense Pulsed Light for men and women who want to improve the overall appearance of the skin by decreasing redness, visible blood vessels, and sunspots, this is called a photofacial.  Intense Pulsed Light is not intended to treat wrinkles.

What is the difference between a photofacial and IPL or Intense Pulsed Light?

IPL is a type of laser and a photofacial is when you use IPL to treat sun damage on the entire face.  A photofacial treats the entire face with laser for sun damage, sun spots, and blood vessels.  It takes 15-30 minutes.  IPL is the laser used to do the photofacial.  IPL can be used to treat blood vessels alone or sun spots alone in patients that do not have both, or do not desire the treatment of both.    In fact, IPL can be used to treat one solitary blood vessel or sun spot taking only a few minutes, but can also be used to do a photofacial which by definition would be treating the entire face.

What can I expect during treatment with Intense Pulse Light?

You will come into the office and sign consent forms and receive your post laser instructions.  Topical medication is not usually needed for this laser, but if you have a low tolerance for pain or prefer numbing medication for 20-30 minutes, we are happy to provide that service.  Most people describe the laser as like the “snap of a rubber band” and not painful.

What areas of the body can be treated with Intense Pulsed Light?

Face, neck, chest, and arms are the most commonly treated areas.  Blood vessels or sunspots in all of these areas are treated very successfully with Intense Pulsed Light.  Veins on the legs cannot be treated with this laser and will require a more specific laser for leg veins.

How long do Intense Pulsed Light treatments take?

Intense Pulsed Light treatments take approximately 15-30 minutes per body area, depending on the extent of blood vessels, redness, or sunspots, but is extended if topical medication is used.

What can I expect after the treatment with Intense Pulsed Light?

Most people do not experience pain or discomfort with Intense Pulsed Light or photofacial.  There is usually some redness and swelling for 2-6 hours after treatment.  Bruising, although rare with this laser, may happen with some people, especially those on blood thinners, aspirin or ibuprofen.  If this happens it can last between 3 days and 2 weeks depending on the size of the bruise and how fast each individual heals.

What is the recovery time for the Intense Pulsed Light?

Usually there is no downtime with Intense Pulsed Light.  If you are a public person or have important meetings to attend, we suggest not scheduling those in the first 3 days after your treatment until Dr. Janiga can see how you as an individual respond to this treatment.

Can Intense Pulsed Light be combined with other procedures?

Yes, other procedures can be performed on the day of Intense Pulsed Light treatment and photofacials.  Please discuss any additional procedures you are interested in with Dr. Janiga to see if combining them is appropriate.

Are Intense Pulsed Light treatments available in your Reno office?

Yes.  Appointment length varies depending on the number of treated areas and if topical numbing medication is used.  (See above; “How long do Intense Pulsed Light treatments take?”)

For more information or to set up a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Janiga for Intense Pulsed Light treatments in the comfort of our South Reno office, please send us an email or call 775-398-4600.

Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD

Dr. Janiga enjoys taking care of both adults and children. Her extensive training and years of experience in medical dermatology, lasers, and cosmetic procedures allows her to treat her patients with the comprehensive attention they deserve.

Dr. Janiga listens attentively to what patients have to say, and works with them in planning the right course of action on an individual basis. Honest talk, humility and a fresh perspective paired with years of experience and education all contribute to the effectiveness of her straightforward care.