Intense Pulsed Light

Is intense pulse light (IPL) right for you? If you are bothered by unwanted hair, broken blood vessels, sun-damaged skin, or wrinkles, talk to us about how IPL can remove hair quickly and rejuvenate the skin on your face and other parts of your body with little discomfort.

Best Uses

  • Pigment reduction, including brown spots
  • Rosacea
  • Birthmarks
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Spider veins and broken capillaries
  • Fine wrinkles
  • Hair removal


Intense pulse light is similar to a laser but is not a true laser. IPL, also called Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT) Pulsed Light, uses xenon light that is emitted in a full spectrum of wavelengths; this is called non-coherent light. (Laser equipment delivers a coherent beam at a specific wavelength.) By filtering out some wavelengths and concentrating others, IPL therapy can target specific types of pigments in the skin and hair follicles. For example, at certain wavelengths, IPL is attracted to and destroys the hemoglobin that colors spider veins and broken blood vessels. At other wavelengths, IPL targets melanin, the pigment in skin spots and hair follicles, resulting in reduced skin discoloration and unwanted hair. IPL is non-ablative – it works beneath the skin and does not break the skin surface.

About the Procedure (Board Certified)

Intense pulse light is applied to the skin using a hand-piece. Dr. Farella selects the hand-piece that is best for your treatment needs. IPL beams destroy the hemoglobin or melanin in the target tissue with little effect on surrounding tissues. You will be asked to wear an eye mask during treatment. Treatments are fast and effective.

Your IPL will be administered at one of Dr. John Farella‘s offices in Westchester County, NY.

  • American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Certified
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons Member
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Member

Dr. Farella recommends avoiding tanning in the sun or sun booth for two months prior to treatment because tanning stimulates the skin’s pigment system and makes discoloration more likely. Self-tanners also should be avoided as they turn the skin into a target for the light beam.


Treatment for sun damage, age spots, broken capillaries, and other skin conditions results in significant improvement after two or more treatments. Treatments are spaced three weeks apart. Depending on the patient’s needs, Pixel resurfacing can be alternated with IPL treatments.

IPL is most effective on women and men with a light complexion and dark hair. Grey, red, or blonde hairs cannot be removed using IPL because they lack melanin,. IPL, as well as other hair removal systems like lasers may require multiple treatments and may reduce hair permanently. At this time, Dr. Farella prefers using laser treatments rather than IPL for hair reduction.

After treatment, your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight so be sure to wear sunblock to prevent sun damage and hyperpigmentation.

Anesthesia and Pain

Discomfort during IPL is minimal and can feel like the snap of a rubber band.


You can return to work and normal activities immediately after treatment. After treatment for hair reduction, raised bumps and redness around treated hair follicles usually subside after several days. After treatment for dark spots, the treated areas are expected to darken and will flake off in seven to 10 days.

Risks and Complications

With any procedure, risks and complications can occur but generally are rare. IPL may not be appropriate for people with darker or tan skin. Treatment by inexperienced practitioners may result in burns, changes in skin color, or possible scarring.

We use the Harmony® AFT intense pulsed light technology.

Information on this page is not a substitute for medical consultation or advice. Please contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss the best treatments for you.