Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Beautiful for: reducing hyperpigmentation, targeting redness and broken capillaries, hair removal, and supporting skin rejuvenation by boosting collagen production.

IPL photo-rejuvenation is a safe and scientifically proven treatment to address skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, age spots, rosacea, facial redness, active acne, and photo-ageing as well as well as hair removal. IPL’s broad-spectrum pulse of light uses different wavelengths specific to the skin condition being targeted. The energy emitted causes broken capillaries or darker pigment to be broken up by photothermolysis, while surrounding skin is unharmed. 

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Ivy Clinic therapists are all clinically trained in IPL treatment by the NZ Laser Training Institute, and we use a machine designed to cool the skin and minimise discomfort. IPL can make skin more photosensitive, so we schedule IPL treatments in the cooler months. At Ivy Clinic we offer IPL skin rejuvenation and hair removal services for the face, neck, décolletage and hands. Prices start from $80 a session, and depend on the areas being treated and the results you’re looking for. 

Tell me about IPL

What is IPL?

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, a non-invasive cosmetic treatment that uses broad-spectrum light to target various conditions like irregular pigmentation, broken capillaries, sun damage, redness, and unwanted hair.

How does IPL work?

IPL works by emitting pulses of high-intensity light that penetrate the skin and are absorbed by specific pigments or structures in the skin. This generates heat that targets and destroys the unwanted cells or structures, while leaving surrounding skin unharmed.

What conditions can be treated with cosmetic IPL?

Cosmetic IPL treatments can effectively target and improve a wide range of skin conditions, including sunspots, age spots, rosacea, broken blood vessels, facial flushing, acne, and unwanted hair.

What areas of the body can be treated with IPL?

At Ivy Clinic, we offer IPL to treat specific areas of the face, neck, chest, and hands. We recommend you book a consultation with one of our qualified therapists to determine whether IPL is right for the areas you want to treat.

Is IPL safe?

Yes, IPL is considered safe when performed by a qualified, experienced therapist. Like other cosmetic procedures, potential side effects include temporary redness, swelling, bruising, pigmentation changes, and (rarely) blistering or scarring. To minimise these risks, your therapist will make sure you have clear pre- and post-treatment instructions to follow.

Is IPL painful?

Many people say IPL feels like a rubber band snapping against the skin or a warm sensation. Discomfort levels may vary depending on your pain tolerance and the area being treated. 

Does IPL work for hair removal?

Like laser hair removal, IPL relies on light directed at hair pigment to stop or slow hair growth. IPL hair removal works best on people with more contrast between their hair and skin colour. IPL hair treatment is not always suitable for darker skin tones, or for paler skin with blonde or red hair. 

Will I look weird after treatment?

mmediately after treatment, skin may appear flushed. This will settle down within a couple of hours. If pigmentation was the target for treatment, this may become darker in colour A few days later, pigmented areas can develop a light crust, which will flake off on its own over the next 7-10 days. After that, skin will look smoother and fresher. 

How many IPL treatments are typically needed?

The number of IPL treatments needed will depend on the condition being treated, the severity of the condition, and the person's response to the treatment. A series of at least four treatments and as many as eight, spaced several weeks apart may be recommended for optimal results. Maintenance treatments may be needed to keep the results.

What is the downtime after an IPL treatment?

IPL is a non-invasive procedure, and there is typically little to no downtime. Some patients may experience mild redness, swelling, or temporary darkening of pigmented spots immediately after the treatment, but these usually resolve within a few hours to a few days. Most people can go back to doing their normal activities immediately afterwards.

Am I a good candidate for IPL?

IPL is usually suitable for people with fair to medium skin tones with specific skin conditions that can be effectively treated with IPL. It may not work for people with darker skin tones, certain medical conditions, or those taking medications that make the skin more sensitive to light. A consultation with a qualified practitioner is essential to determine the suitability of IPL for an individual's specific needs.

Check out our blog on Skin Types

How do I prepare for an IPL treatment?

Before your IPL treatment, it’s important to avoid sun exposure and tanning for at least 2-4 weeks to minimise the risk of pigmentation changes. We recommend avoiding using self-tanners, retinoids, and other skin sensitising products for a week before your session.

How do I choose a qualified IPL practitioner?

Look for a therapist with training and experience in performing cosmetic IPL treatments. To ensure you’re in capable hands, don't be shy asking about qualifications, and safety protocols. In New Zealand, clinics that offer IPL must be registered with a reputable professional body like the NZ Laser Training Institute. At your initial consultation, the therapist should also assess your skin and determine whether IPL is right for you.

How long do IPL results last?

The longevity of IPL results depends on the condition being treated, individual skin characteristics, and lifestyle factors such as sun exposure and skincare routine. In general, IPL can provide long-lasting results, but maintenance treatments may be needed to sustain the improvements over time.

Can IPL be combined with other cosmetic treatments?

Yes, IPL can be combined with other cosmetic treatments as part of a tailored skincare plan. Your qualified practitioner may recommend a combination of treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or skincare products to enhance the results of IPL and address specific skin concerns.

Are there anyone who can’t have IPL treatments?

IPL may not be a good choice for people with very dark skin tones, as it can cause pigmentation changes. Pregnant women, people with open wounds, active infections, or a history of skin cancer may not be good candidates for IPL. During your initial consultation, you’ll need to let your therapist know your medical history and any medications you are taking.

Check out our blog on Skin Types

Can I get IPL if I have a tan or sunburn?

We don’t recommend IPL treatments if you have a tan or sunburn, as it can increase the risk of pigmentation changes and other complications. You’ll need to avoid sun exposure and tanning for at least 2-4 weeks before your IPL treatment and wait until your tan or sunburn has fully resolved before scheduling your treatment.

What should I expect during an IPL treatment session?

During an IPL treatment session at Ivy Clinic, you’ll have protective eyewear to shield your eyes from the intense light. Your therapist may also apply cooling gel to make the treatment area more comfortable. They’ll then use a handheld device to deliver the IPL pulses to the targeted areas of your skin – and you may feel heat and/or discomfort.

Can I resume my regular skincare routine after IPL?

Your therapist will give you specific post-treatment instructions to follow. This will include avoiding sun exposure, tanning, and using skincare products that may irritate the skin for a certain time after IPL. It’s a good idea to use gentle skincare products, and to be extra vigilant with sunscreen. To optimise healing and results, it’s also important to avoid picking or scratching treated skin.

What are the potential side effects of IPL?

Although IPL is considered safe, potential side effects include temporary redness, swelling, bruising, pigmentation changes (darkening or lightening of the skin), and rarely, blistering or scarring. These side effects are usually temporary and resolve on their own. It is important to follow your pre- and post-treatment instructions to minimise the risks of side effects.

Can I undergo IPL treatments while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Please talk to your doctor if you’re considering IPL treatments while pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding. Your Ivy Clinic therapist can help you plan a course of IPL treatments safely around these life events.

How many IPL treatments are typically needed to achieve results?

The number of IPL treatments needed to achieve the results you want depends on the condition being treated, individual skin characteristics, and the results you want. In general, a series of IPL treatments spaced several weeks apart may be recommended for optimal results. Your therapist will assess your skin condition and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

How much does IPL treatment cost?

The cost of IPL treatment depends on the reputation of the practitioner, the size of the treatment area, and the number of sessions needed. We recommend booking a consultation to get a detailed quote based on a treatment plan. Keep in mind that while cost is an important consideration, it should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a practitioner. The qualifications, experience, and reputation of the practitioner should be the top priority.

Can IPL treatments be performed on all skin types?

IPL can be effective on many skin types, but it may cause pigmentation changes in people with very dark skin tones. Skin types 1-3 (Fitzpatrick scale) tend to see the best results, and skin type 4 can be treated with care. Talk to a qualified IPL practitioner with experience in treating different skin types to see if it could be right for you. 

Check out our blog on Skin Types

Can I have IPL during the summer?

Having a tan can increase the risk of pigmentation changes and other complications. We recommend avoiding IPL treatments during summer, when New Zealand’s sun is at its strongest, and people are outside more – only scheduling IPL treatments during autumn, winter, or early spring. It’s essential to be extra vigilant with sun protection during and after treatment, whatever the time of year.

After Care

Learn more about our before & after care recommendations and advice.