Growing up in Miami, I was always in the sun. Sometimes I wore sunscreen. But more often of not, I didn’t. Back in the ’90s, there wasn’t as much awareness about the importance of SPF. And man do I regret not wearing sunscreen every day! In my 30s, my sun-worshipping days really started to show. I noticed small sun spots on my face and majorly freaked out. When complaining to my friend he said not to worry. Just do IPL. Learn more about IPL for correcting sun damage.
What is IPL?
IPL is intense pulsed light. It’s a treatment you can use for various skin procedures. I didn’t realize it until later, but I actually did IPL in my 20s when I invested in laser hair removal (best decision ever!). For the face, IPL majorly helps with sun damage. It target dark spots and lightens them with treatments over time.
What does IPL feel like?
To be honest, IPL didn’t really hurt me. That being said, I have a pretty high pain tolerance. But the pain is super minimal. I really only felt it on my broken capillaries, which are much more sensitive. It just feels like a quick burn but is over really fast.
How long does IPL take to heal?
Healing time really depends on how much damage you need to correct. But unlike more invasive lasers, there is very limited downtime. I recommend not making plans the first day. My face was really red and a little swollen. But after that, I could cover everything with makeup. For the redness, I used Erborian CC Red Correct ($44). The cream, which also contains SPF25, comes out a light green shade, which slowly adjusts to your skin tone as you blend it in (I use my beauty blender for smooth blending). It instantly made the redness fade. I used it both on its own and under my tinted moisturizer.
As for your sun spots, the healing is actually really cool. Right after the treatment they start to darken. They turn into a dark brown for a few days. Then they start to rise to the surface of your skin and slowly come off. The best I can compare it to is having coffee grinds on your skin. I was fine going out because it just looked like I had dark freckles.
You’re encouraged to stay away from exfoliants and just use light skincare products while you heal. After about a week and a half, all the dark “coffee grinds” went away and I noticed my sun spots were significantly lighter. The photo below shows my results from two days after my treatment vs two weeks after the treatment.
How many IPL treatments do you need to do?
Again, this is all relative to your level of skin damage. The average recommendation is 3-5 treatments spaced out every month. This was my third treatment but I didn’t follow the recommendation and instead of every month, I did it over the course of two years. I don’t recommend this obviously but I because of my schedule that’s just what happened.
I wasn’t able to do the treatments back to back because it’s imperative you stay out of the sun and I had some trips planned after my treatments. Now is a great time to do IPL if you’re thinking about it since we’re in winter. I don’t recommend it during summer months because you’d have to be extra careful about staying clear of any sunshine.
More IPL Info
I just wanted to share my experience because you’ve been asking me about skincare and I’m a huge fan of IPL. But if you want more in-depth information on IPL for correcting sun damage, my best friend Jeannine Morris did a whole article about IPL and other dark spot treatments, with insight from skincare experts. You can read her article here.
Feel free to ask me any questions below! And for more of my beauty recommendations, you can always check out my mini reviews over on my Beauty page!