Photofacial treatment: All you need to know

Want to upgrade from regular facials? Try a photofacial treatment. This new-age, tech-driven procedure disappears blemishes with the power of light. Could it be your ticket to even skin tone and a supple texture? Let’s find out!


How photofacial treatments work

A photofacial is a cosmetic procedure that uses light-emitting devices to treat skin concerns like acne scars, discolouration, and wrinkles (among others). The two main types are IPL photofacials and LED photofacials.

  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacials

The device is placed on the affected skin where it emits pulses of broad-spectrum light. Cells producing melanin (the substance that gives colour to the skin) absorb this light. The light goes on to destroy these cells and disperse the pigment. The melanin is then drawn to the skin’s surface. Here, it slowly flakes off and the healthy skin beneath becomes visible.

IPL photofacials penetrate deep within the skin. They help treat sunspots, broken capillaries, spider veins, and other pigmentation concerns.

  • Light-emitting diode (LED) photofacials

The individual is exposed to LED light from a lamp or a handheld device. Here, different colours of the LED spectrum are used to target different skin concerns. Blue light kills acne bacteria, red light promotes collagen growth, and green light eliminates melanin from the skin.

LED photofacials affect the skin’s outer layer and are used to treat more superficial blemishes.


What to expect at your photofacial appointment

  • Before the procedure: The practitioner cleanses and dries your skin. Protective eyewear is provided to safeguard your eyes from the light. In IPL photofacials, the practitioner also applies a cooling gel to the skin.
  • During the procedure: LED photofacials are completely painless. While undergoing an IPL photofacial, however, you could experience mild stinging. The session (both IPL and LED) may last from 20 minutes to an hour. The timeline depends on the skin concern, the area under treatment, and the device being used.
  • After the procedure: Following IPL photofacials, moisturiser is applied to the treated skin. A cold pack is also provided to minimise post-treatment swelling.


Do you need a photofacial?

Photofacials can be effective in treating the following skin issues:

  • Wrinkles
  • Acne scars
  • Open pores
  • Uneven tone and texture
  • Rosacea (redness from enlarged blood vessels)
  • Melasma (large, discoloured patches)
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Sunspots
  • Freckles

Your dermatologist can explain whether photofacials are a good choice for you. They will advise you on which photofacial to get and how many sittings you may need. For IPL photofacials, you could undergo three to six sessions. Expect a month-long gap between sittings. In case of LED treatment, you may require five to 12 sessions. 


Benefits of photofacial treatment

If you are looking to enhance your skincare regime, photofacials could provide a solution. Here’s what makes them so great:

  1. Photofacials target sun damage. They draw discoloured skin to the surface and promote skin cell turnover. Gradually, healthy skin is revealed.
  2. Photofacials treat stubborn acne. Try this procedure if medication is not helping your acne. Photofacials kill acne bacteria, fight inflammation, and minimise scars.
  3. (Prefer a DIY approach? Here’s a guide to removing the dark spots left by pimples naturally.)
  4. Photofacials help with blood vessel
    abnormalities. IPL photofacials help treat visible blood vessel issues like broken capillaries, spider veins, and rosacea.
  5. Photofacials work across the body. You can apply it to the face, neck, upper chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. Just avoid the eye area.
  6. Photofacials are convenient. You get done in about an hour’s time and can reapply makeup right after. Just avoid sun exposure for a week after an IPL procedure.
  7. Photofacials are affordable. Less expensive than most laser treatments, photofacials provide longer-lasting results than regular facials.


Side effects of photofacial treatment

Some side effects are normal after an IPL photofacial. These include redness, minor swelling, mild bruising, and tiny blisters. They usually clear up within a couple of days. However, consult your doctor if the symptoms last longer or if you notice burns, scabs, or extensive and painful blisters.

Photofacials are not recommended for:

  • Darker skin tones as the treated area could become lighter than the surrounding skin
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals who have taken or applied antibiotics and certain medication in the past six months



If photofacials are your weapon against skin damage, so be it. If not, no problem. Just keep in mind that the occasional photofacial is no substitute for a disciplined skincare routine.

Whatever your take on photofacials, resolve to pamper your skin every day, twice a day. Find products that work for you—be it an anti-ageing formula for wrinkles, Clearica Anti-Acne Cream for pesky breakouts, or a moisturiser with SPF for sun protection. Consistent care really does hold the key to a radiant, blemish-free complexion!



Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.