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What is IPL?

IPL, an acronym for “intense pulsed light” (also known as IPL photofacial), is a technology used by cosmetic and medical practitioners to perform various skin treatments for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes.

What can be treated with IPL?

IPL is employed in the treatment of a range of dermatologic conditions including:

  • Superficial uneven pigmentation and vascular changes caused by sun damage
  • Poikiloderma of Civatte (a reddish-brown coloring of the sides of the neck with prominent hair follicles)
  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Sebaceous gland hyperplasia (small bumps on the skin when sebaceous glands become enlarged)
  • Broken capillaries/telangiectasias (spider veins)
  • Vascular lesions (small blood vessel damage)
  • Superficial pigmented lesions (freckles, liver spots, birth marks)

Why IPL Is More Effective than Laser Treatment

Each color has a different wavelength of light, which can be either absorbed by or reflected off any surface it hits.

A laser uses only one color of light (monochromatic), while IPL uses a blend of many colors of light (polychromatic).

In our skin we have what are called “chromophores” (chromo, from Greek for color + phore, from Greek for produce). A chromophore is simply anything that absorbs light.

When IPL shines on different areas of your skin, the chromophores in that area absorb the energy of the light at a specific wavelength, causing them to heat up. By heating them, they are broken apart and will fade away.

The multiple colors in the IPL light can more effectively target the damage or blemishes in the skin—which may be of different colors and absorb different colors of light. Because the light is so precisely focused on the treatment area, there is no harm to the surrounding skin or tissue, so is therefore known as a top scar treatment available.

Why Choose Serenity Rejuvenation Center

At Serenity Rejuvenation Center, we offer treatment with the Palomar ICON: the most powerful, state-of-art IPL device available. Even more important is Dr. O’Connell’s expertise in a vast array of dermatologic treatments and in performing IPL specifically.

Pre-Procedure Instructions/Precaution


  • Using Retin-A products for 7 days prior to treatment.
  • Tanning, sun exposure and spray tanning for approximately 1 month prior to treatment.
  • Antibiotics for 10 days prior to treatment.
  • Pregnancy is currently a contraindication

What to Expect

Firstly, Dr. O’Connell will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure and, if so, formulate a treatment plan for achieving your individual goals and the best results with IPL.

The Procedure

  • A small amount of lotion will be applied to the skin.
  • You will also be given eye shields to protect your eyes from the light during treatment.
  • While the hand-piece is gliding over the area, you will feel a cooling sensation.
  • Some patients feel a slight, very quick rubber-band like snapping when the energy is being delivered into their skin, but it disappears immediately.

Depending on the size of the area, treatments can take just minutes.

After the Procedure

For the best results in scar treatment, after the treatment, the lotion will be removed, and a sun screen may be applied to your skin. Your skin may feel warm and, for a few days, you may feel as if you have a mild sunburn, but you can resume your normal day-to-day activities immediately following treatment. Over the course of days, hyperpigmented areas (brown spots) will darken then subsequently slough off, as vascular lesions coagulate then reabsorb. Pore size will decrease, leaving the skin with a fresh rejuvenated appearance. Over the course of weeks, the appearance of fine lines will dissipate as collagen stimulation and synthesis occurs.

Post Procedure

  • Wear a full spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher.
  • For the remainder of the treatment day, avoid activities that will raise your body heat (heavy exercise, sauna, and hot-tubbing).
  • You can use makeup immediately afterward.

Featured Testimonial

“Dr. O’Connell and his assistant (I forgot to get her name!!) were so nice and made me very comfortable with my first IPL treatment. Doctor was very professional and took time to explain the procedure and what results were expected to happen, including darken brown spots (not to be scared!) He communicated with me entire time during the treatment so that I feel comfortable knowing that what was going on my face (big flashy bright lights!) and told me “this might feel a bit of pain” whenever sensitive spots were treated such as around mouth.”

– Anonymous

IPL Before & After Photos


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