Do you remember when cosmetic lasers were first introduced a couple of decades ago? The idea of zapping away age spots or never having to shave your legs or bikini line again was exciting… until you had it done.  Lasers of the past were painful, required dozens of sessions, and didn’t offer satisfactory results– but not in 2024.

Nowadays, you have more options, such as IPL treatments, which are much less painful and much more advanced. However, the surge in these treatments has resulted in many at-home devices claiming to match up to professional treatments.

In this article, we will explain why you should reconsider purchasing an at-home laser device and how professional treatments are far superior. We will also discuss what an IPL treatment is, everything it can be used for, and how it differs from a standard laser treatment. Let’s dive in!

What is IPL Treatment?

IPL stands for intense pulsed light. Intense pulsed light treatment, also called IPL therapy or a photofacial, is a cutting-edge cosmetic procedure that uses a unique type of light and delivery method to penetrate the skin’s layers and tackle a range of skin issues.

While IPL is often grouped in the laser category and is often referred to as a laser treatment, IPL treatment isn’t a traditional laser treatment. IPL operates by employing bursts of gentle yet powerful, broad-spectrum light—sort of like a photo flash (hence the name photo facial). In comparison, a regular laser focuses on one wavelength of light directed at your skin.

During an IPL laser treatment session, a handheld device is gently moved over the treatment area. Most describe the feeling as a slight sting or a rubber band lightly hitting the skin. The targeted regions absorb the energy from the light pulses, causing them to break down and gradually disappear through your body’s natural healing process. You might experience some redness and swelling following your session, but you can resume most activities immediately.

For some skin issues, such as broken blood vessels, results are noticeable as soon as the treatment ends. While other skin concerns, such as brown spots, might take a couple of weeks to reveal results. Skin discolorations, such as age or sun spots, become darker and flake off before revealing your improved skin.

For more information on IPL treatment, read “FAQs: IPL Facial Treatment”,

How is IPL Treatment Different From Regular Laser Treatment?

Both IPL and traditional laser treatments utilize light energy to address various skin issues and unwanted hair growth. But that’s pretty much where their similarities end.

IPL isn’t technically a laser treatment; it’s non-laser high-intensity light therapy. A laser is very strong and spotlights a single, focused beam of light on a specific spot. IPL is weaker and unfocused. It’s more like a camera flash that spreads a broad spectrum of light with multiple wavelengths out over a large area—exactly why IPL is so great for treating skin.

So, while traditional lasers and IPL devices both use light, IPL uses completely different technology to deliver the light source.

Another difference is that IPL tends to be much less painful than traditional laser treatments, with most patients reporting only mild discomfort during the procedure. Additionally, IPL treatments typically have minimal downtime compared to traditional lasers, allowing patients to resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure.

While both a traditional laser and IPL can treat a wide range of skin concerns such as uneven skin tone, texture issues, and scars and are great for hair removal, IPL is the gentler, more advanced, modern choice.

Uses for IPL Treatment

The versatility and effectiveness of IPL have made it one of the most sought-after in-office cosmetic treatments for anyone hoping to improve the appearance and health of their skin or get rid of unwanted hair.

Here are some of the most common uses for IPL treatment:

Wrinkles and Uneven Skin Texture

IPL treatment can help reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture by stimulating collagen production. As collagen levels increase, skin becomes firmer and smoother while irregularities like fine lines and large pores diminish.


IPL treatment effectively improves the appearance of scars, such as acne and surgical scars, by triggering collagen remodeling and rejuvenating the skin. By stimulating collagen production, IPL helps fill in and soften the scar tissue, resulting in a smoother skin texture.


IPL therapy can reduce acne breakouts and inflammation by targeting acne-causing bacteria and reducing sebum production. This can result in clearer skin with fewer acne breakouts and a more even complexion.

Blood Vessels and Veins

If you have broken blood vessels on your face or legs, IPL treatment can effectively diminish their appearance. By targeting hemoglobin in the blood vessels, IPL causes them to collapse and fade, resulting in a reduction in visible veins and an overall improvement in skin appearance.

Sun Damage, Age Spots, and Other Skin Discolorations

Skin discolorations are often caused by an overproduction or irregular distribution of melanin in the skin. This can result from prolonged sun exposure, hormonal changes, aging, or genetics. During IPL treatment, the targeted bursts of intense pulsed light work to break down the excess melanin in these areas, gradually fading pigmented lesions and promoting a more even skin tone.


IPL works to lessen redness and symptoms of rosacea by targeting the blood vessels responsible for the visible redness. The intense pulsed light energy heats the targeted blood vessels, causing them to constrict and gradually fade over time. Additionally, IPL stimulates collagen production, which can help strengthen the skin and reduce redness associated with rosacea.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, or striae, are a common concern for many people. They often appear as streaks or lines on the skin. IPL treatment can be effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks by stimulating collagen production, which helps to improve the elasticity and texture of the skin. Over time, the skin undergoes natural healing processes, resulting in smoother and more even-toned skin.

Hair Removal

Shaving is a hassle, and waxing requires hair re-growth windows that don’t always time out around important events. IPL effectively reduces hair growth in the treated areas, resulting in smoother skin and long-lasting hair reduction.

IPL hair removal works by emitting pulses of intense light energy that are absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicles. This process heats and damages the follicles, inhibiting their ability to regrow hair.

Benefits of IPL Treatment

IPL treatments are highly sought after because they can address a variety of skin concerns in a quick office visit, offering effective, long-term results with minimal discomfort and downtime.

Here are some key advantages of IPL treatment over traditional lasers:

Less Painful

Lasers often have a bad reputation for being painful. IPL treatment is significantly less painful compared to other procedures like traditional laser treatments or waxing. In fact, most patients report only mild stinging discomfort during the procedure, making it a more comfortable option for hair removal and skin rejuvenation.

Long-Lasting Results

IPL treatment stands out for its ability to deliver longer-lasting results. Compared to other skin procedures, IPL treatments are more sustainable over time, reducing the need for frequent touch-ups or maintenance sessions.

Suitable for a Variety of Skin Types and Hair Textures

One significant advantage of IPL treatment is its versatility. It can be customized to suit different skin tones and hair types, making it suitable for a wide range of people seeking hair removal or skin rejuvenation.


IPL is a non-invasive procedure that does not require incisions or anesthesia. This makes it a safer option for individuals who may not be suitable candidates for invasive procedures.

Minimal Downtime

IPL treatments typically have minimal downtime compared to more invasive procedures like laser resurfacing or advanced chemical peels. Patients can usually resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure, with only mild redness or swelling that subsides quickly.

Quick Procedure

IPL treatments are relatively quick. Many clients even pop in on their lunch break. Small areas like the upper lip or underarms can be treated in just a few minutes. Even larger areas like the legs don’t require lengthy office visits.


IPL treatment is often more cost-effective in the long run compared to other cosmetic procedures. While the upfront cost may be higher than other skin rejuvenation and hair removal methods, such as facials and waxing, the long-lasting results mean fewer maintenance treatments over time, saving money in the long term.


IPL can address multiple skin concerns simultaneously, including hair removal, pigmentation issues, vascular lesions, and signs of aging. This versatility allows patients to target multiple concerns in a single treatment session, saving time and effort.

Covers Large Areas of Skin

Because IPL can cover larger areas of the skin in a single session, it is more time-efficient for patients seeking treatment for larger body areas. The broader spectrum of light used in IPL also means that it can be adjusted to target specific skin concerns more precisely, leading to more consistent and predictable results.

For more on the benefits of IPL treatment, click here.

Professional IPL Treatments vs. Home Devices

With the growing demand for at-home skin and hair removal solutions, numerous  laser devices have flooded the market, promising to deliver professional-quality results in the comfort of your own home at a price point less than a single professional treatment.

However, as the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for.” While at-home IPL devices may offer convenience and appear to offer cost savings, they lack the precision, power, and expertise of professional IPL treatments. Furthermore, they could be dangerous.

Here are some key differences between professional IPL treatments and at-home laser devices:

Professional IPL Treatments Are More Advanced

Professional IPL treatment uses very advanced technology that is significantly more advanced than at-home devices, allowing for more precise targeting of specific skin concerns and hair removal.

At-home devices do not have this patented technology. They operate at lower intensities and require significant time for treatment. Consequently, results may appear inconsistent and patchy due to irregular treatment patterns.

Professional IPL Treatments Provide Better Results

Thanks to the expertise of trained professionals and the use of advanced technology, professional IPL treatments yield more visible, consistent and predictable results than at-home devices.

Users of at-home devices might see a slight decrease in unwanted hair and a minor improvement in skin issues. However, it takes months of consistent use, and once discontinued, the problems usually come back with no assurance of sustained results.

There really isn’t a comparison when it comes to results. Professional IPL devices provide noticeable results with limited sessions, whereas home devices might provide minor improvements after months of consistent, ongoing use.

Professional IPL Treatments Are Faster

If you want to use a home device, get ready to spend a lot of your time. You must use the device numerous times a week, for months, before noticing even minor improvements. Then, you must continue using the device consistently to maintain results.

Professional IPL treatments are much more powerful and cover larger areas of the skin, providing obvious results in limited sessions with fewer maintenance visits.

Professional IPL Treatments Are Safer

When considering using a laser or light therapy on your skin, it’s a bad idea to attempt to do it yourself or allow someone who isn’t trained to use cosmetic lasers. You could harm your skin if you aren’t careful.

Clinics and medical spas adhere to strict safety protocols to ensure the safety and comfort of patients during IPL treatments, minimizing the risk of adverse effects or complications.

Professional IPL Treatments Come With Expertise and Experience

Professional IPL treatments are administered by trained and experienced technicians who understand how to customize treatments for each individual’s skin type and concerns. For example, those with darker skin will require different protocols than those with fair skin.

If you attempt IPL at home, you could end up causing damage to your skin, such as burns, blistering, or hyperpigmentation. Additionally, some areas, such as the back of the legs, the back of the neck, and the back, are hard to reach and better treated by a professional.

Professional IPL Treatments are Customizable

At-home devices do not offer the same features as professional devices. Professional IPL devices can tailor IPL treatments to address specific skin concerns and adjust parameters such as light intensity and pulse duration to optimize results while minimizing side effects.

Why Professional IPL Treatments are the Best Choice

At-home laser devices have limitations in terms of safety, efficacy, and customization. If you want optimal results and peace of mind, professional IPL facial laser treatments remain the gold standard.

Sure, you could spend less money on a home laser device, but you will not get the same results, and you could hurt yourself. So, if we are being blunt, most at-home face laser devices are a waste of money and could be dangerous if not used properly.

Bottom line… home devices will end up like many gadgets you’ve purchased, collecting dust on a shelf.

Are Professional IPL Treatments Safe?

Professional IPL laser treatments are highly safe when performed by licensed and experienced professionals. Clinics adhere to strict safety protocols, ensuring that treatments are administered correctly and tailored to each individual’s unique skin type and concerns.  Additionally, many professional IPL devices have received FDA approval, further confirming their safety and efficacy.

In terms of the safety of at home laser devices, we do not believe most are safe and would not recommend them. While at-home devices may seem convenient, they pose significant risks when used improperly. Misapplication or incorrect settings could result in adverse effects such as burns, blistering, hyperpigmentation, or scarring.

How Much Does a Professional IPL Treatment Cost?

The cost of a professional IPL laser treatment can vary depending on several factors, including the area being treated, the severity of the condition, and the number of sessions required to achieve optimal results.

For example, targeting a single visible facial vein may cost less than addressing multiple spider veins on the legs. One light age spot might be resolved in one session, while darker spots might require a few treatments.

Since IPL treatments are often customized to each individual’s needs, providing a precise cost without a consultation is challenging. However, clinics typically offer laser packages to accommodate various treatment goals.

If you want to know exactly how much your IPL laser treatment will cost, you should book a complimentary consultation with a skincare professional to receive an accurate estimate based on your specific concerns and desired outcomes.

How Many Professional IPL Treatments Will I Need?

The number of IPL laser treatments required varies depending on several factors, including the specific skin concern being addressed, its severity, and individual skin characteristics. While some patients may see noticeable improvement after just one session, most will require multiple treatments spaced several weeks apart to achieve optimal results.

For skin rejuvenation or pigmentation issues, a series of treatments may be needed to achieve desired outcomes. Similarly, for hair removal, multiple sessions are necessary to target hair follicles at different stages of growth.

During a consultation, a skincare professional will assess the patient’s skin and develop a personalized treatment plan outlining the recommended number of sessions and expected timeline for results.

Professional IPL Skin Treatment in Middle Tennessee

IPL is preferred over a standard laser due to its versatility, efficiency, and ability to treat a wide range of skin concerns in a single session. This type of technology is far superior to a standard laser or any at-home device, but it isn’t available everywhere.

At Garza Plastic Surgery, we proudly offer Lumecca IPL facial laser treatments as a quick and easy way to revitalize your skin. The Lumecca IPL machine boasts remarkable power, delivering up to three times more energy than others on the market. With its larger spot size and high pulse repetition rate, the Lumecca device offers the advantage of reduced treatment time, allowing for quicker and more efficient sessions.

Whether you want to minimize skin damage on your face, hands, or head caused by the sun, clear up rosacea, improve the appearance and texture of scars, or eliminate broken blood vessels and spider veins, IPL can help in only a few treatments.

Book your complimentary consultation today to discover if an IPL facial laser treatment is right for you! You can also click here to learn how this trademarked pulsed light technology works and what to expect before, during, and after treatment.