Photo facial is a term for a light-based skin resurfacing treatment which is mostly used to treat brown spots, broken capillaries and to boost collagen.  

You will find two main types of photo facials: LED (light-emitting diode) and IPL (intense-pulsed light). They are very different technologies so you will want to consult with your dermatologist and ask questions about the differences. That way you are more likely to get the results you hope to achieve and you will know what to expect.

Here is a quick description of an LED photo facial versus IPL:

  • LED photo facials – Offered mostly by day spas or medi-spas, the LED photo facial uses a narrow spectrum light to boost collagen, which creates plumper, younger-looking skin; it can also be used to kill the bacteria that causes acne. LED photo facials are painless, cool and relaxing, and carry no risk of burning.  The protocol calls for a series of six treatments for best results with one to two weeks between treatments.  

The facial rejuvenation properties have been proven with medical research. Results won’t be as dramatic as plastic surgery, but it’s a gentler, more natural, less expensive way to go.

  • IPL photo facials – An intense pulsed-light or IPL photo facial treats skin conditions such as brown spots, broken capillaries, spider veins and facial redness.  An IPL photo facial is not as gentle as an LED photo facial. It works by delivering a bright blast of light at very high energy levels through a hand-held device. Some IPLs have cooling devices but this treatment can be uncomfortable, if not painful.

Depending on the severity of your condition, which you will discuss with your doctor, IPLs are a good choice if you have uneven pigmentation, broken capillaries or overall redness.  Treatment varies based on your skin type, what condition you’re treating and the results you want.