IPL Photofacial: Before and After Care

IPL Photofacial: What to Know Before and After Photofacial Treatment

At Smooth Synergy Medical Spa, NYC, we consider you an equal partner in the success of your Photofacial treatment. In order to achieve optimal Photofacial results, please review our Pre and Post-Care Instructions for IPL Photofacial:


Pre-Care for Photofacial IPL

IPL treatment is only indicated for skin types 1-3, possibly, light 4 (Scandinavian up to Light Olive). Notify Smooth Synergy if your skin is darker than that, so that another treatment from our comprehensive menu may be chosen to address your skincare concerns.

Six Months Prior

  • Discontinue use of Accutane until after procedure.


One Month Prior

  • Suntanned or sunburned skin cannot be treated with IPL (residual tan counts; must be own natural color). Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 daily. Refrain from use of tanning beds until treatment.


Two Weeks Before

  • Notify Smooth Synergy, if you have a history of hyperpigmentation, so a lightening agent may be prescribed.
  • Avoid hydroquinone, bleaching creams, Retin-A, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, astringents, or any harsh creams, abrasives or acids.
  • Refrain from use self-tanning agents.
  • Discontinue use of any sun-sensitive antibiotics.
  • Refrain from chemical peels.


Three Days Before

  • If you are prone to cold sores, notify the physician, who will prescribe a course of antiviral prophylactic treatment.

The Day of Your Procedure

  • Hydrate well to assure a more comfortable treatment.
  • For male clients: arrive at the appointment clean shaven.
  • Arrive at your appointment with a clean, makeup free face. Makeup wipes will be available, if not possible.

Post-Care for Photofacial IPL

  • Showering and cleansing the skin are allowed. A gentle cleanser may be used on the treatment area. Refrain from vigorous rubbing of the skin. Apply product  to the fingertips with tepid water and use gentle, circular motions on the skin.
  • Continue with your regular skincare regime; however, discontinue use of Retin-a (tretinoin), Renova, Differin, Tazorac, Ziana, Veltin, Atralin or any exfoliating agents with harsh abrasives or acids for seven days.
  • Refrain from touching the face unnecessarily.
  • Avoid picking at or scrubbing the skin, which can lead to scarring.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours.
  • Sleep propped on several pillow for two to three nights to minimize swelling.
  • Hydrate well for seven days following procedure.
  • Refrain from tanning or prolonged sun exposure for 2-3 weeks after the procedure. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater for 2-3 week to avoid incidental sun exposure.
  • Refrain from laser treatments, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, waxing and depilatories for 3-4 weeks.


  • Comfort Measures:
    • Ibuprofen, acetaminophen or Aleve are appropriate for swelling or discomfort.
    • Antihistamines, like Benadryl and Zyrtec, may be used for minor itching.
    • For up to 48 hours following treatment, cool packs or ice can relieve minor discomfort and reduce swelling and bruising. Ice for a maximum of 20 minutes per hour. After 48 hours, switch to hot packs.
    • If extreme swelling or any unforeseen symptoms occurs, please contact Smooth Synergy.

Post-Treatment Expectations

  • With the exception of strenuous exercise, you may return to normal activity after procedure.
  • Most side effects from the treatment should not be cause for alarm. Symptoms are usually minor and should subside in time, as a normal part of the healing process. They may be alleviated with simple measures, as described above.
  • Immediately following treatment, expect for skin to appear like a mild sunburn, which usually subsides within several hours. 
  • It’s normal to experience redness and bumps, which will subside anywhere from several hours to three days.
  • It is normal to experience swelling for up to a week.
  • Sunspots, dark marks and freckles will appear darker during healing process.
  • Sunspots, dark marks and freckles that were previously under the skin and not visible may come to the surface and scab off.
  • Hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation may occur and is usually resolved within 4-6 weeks. Pigmentary changes on tanned skin may take up to two years to resolve.
  • Burns, blisters and crusting of the skin are extremely rare. If any develop, please call Smooth Synergy at 212-397-0111.
  • If you are concerned about any aspect of your post-treatment recovery, please call Smooth Synergy at 212-397-0111.

Photofacial IPL Results

IPL works to improve color and texture for blotchy, sun-damaged, and discolored skin. It can help with large pores, freckles, acne scars and rosacea. You will see improved skin texture, a more even skin tone and a smoothing out of fine lines and wrinkles. A series of 4-6 treatments is usually necessary to reverse photoaging and repair damaged skin.