Before and Afters From My IPL Treatment

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This post was sponsored by Southern Pines Aesthetics & Laser Institute. All opinions are my own.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do a better job of taking care of myself, which is kind of a huge task because that includes everything from getting more sleep, to exercising, to eating right, to getting that mammogram done on time, and so on. I also have wanted to consult with an aesthetician for awhile–I’m in my late 40s and sadly, all of those years of sun-worshipping are starting to show up on my face!

| In Munich. There’s nothing like a photo with a 15-year-old to keep you humble! |

Just to give you a little background, my mindset when it comes to people who “have work done” is that it’s obviously their body to do with what they want, and if that’s what makes them feel good about themselves, then they should go for it. I won’t say I would never have plastic surgery (especially on my droopy eyelids–thank you, genetics!) but I prefer a nonsurgical approach for most things, mostly because I can’t afford the downtime for recovery AND surgery is expensive.

The good news is that there are so many techniques and treatments out there now to treat a variety of cosmetic issues. I also don’t have any problem sharing my imperfections with the world–obviously–so today I’ll be telling you all about my recent IPL (intense pulsed light) treatment.

I live in a small town and find it’s easiest to locate new service providers by asking friends for recommendations, so in January, I started asking around for medical spa/aesthetic providers. Just like I only ask women with great haircuts for stylist recommendations, I asked a few friends who have fabulously healthy, glowing skin to spill their source. There was a common theme, and that’s how I found Southern Pines Aesthetics & Laser Institute. This is important because this is a sponsored post: I found them first because they were highly and widely recommended.

During a free consultation, my physicians’ assistant, Brianna, outlined her recommendations to treat my areas of concern: droopy eyelids, sun damage, a few broken capillaries, some acne scarring, and frown lines (I like to think of them as smile lines but I do have teenagers so that’s anyone’s guess!). Basically my face is starting to show its mileage, and while that’s OK, I also see no reason why I shouldn’t try to look my best at every stage of life.

We started with a chemical peel; I didn’t actually peel that much which I think is because I have used Retin-A and my Clarisonic at bedtime for years and my skin is already pretty exfoliated. Still, it ensured that I didn’t have layers of dead skin on top for my IPL treatment.

Perfect Peel (before)

| This is pre-peel and pre-IPL without makeup. You can see the sun damage and red spots on my right cheek; also the “teenager” lines on my forehead. PSA: wear your sunscreen!! Also, what would we do without foundation? |

IPL or intense pulsed light is recommended for brown spots, redness, sun damage, age spots, broken capillaries, rosacea, and more. Results are usually seen after the first application although many people continue to see improvement through a series of  IPL treatments.

Pre-treatment was just stopping my Retin-A and Clarisonic for about a week beforehand; I still used my favorite Cleansing Balm and a washcloth to remove makeup at bedtime. On the day of, I went in with a clean face and posed for a series of truly unflattering “before” pictures. They washed my face and applied a thick layer of numbing cream for about a half hour and that was probably my least favorite part, because it felt like the dentist had shot Novocaine into my entire face. I’m also pretty sure I drooled at some point.

With eye protection in place on both of us, Brianna got to work. They use ultrasound gel along with a cooling tip on the handset to keep things from getting too hot (it is a huge pulse of light/heat, after all). I also had nitrous oxide available if it got too uncomfortable, but I didn’t use very much. The IPL wasn’t that painful, in my opinion–kind of like having a rubber band snapped on your face–and the nitrous made me feel kind of drunk, which I didn’t like. Obviously it would depend on your pain tolerance, but I think the numbing cream was sufficient for me. It hurt more around my nose and mouth, but then I could barely feel it on my forehead and cheeks.

Here’s some video of the procedure; also, Brianna is absolutely gorgeous but she’s so nice that I’m hardly jealous at all.

They sent me home with a bunch of post-treatment goodies and instructions for using them. I definitely recommend that you make use of the ice packs on that first day so you have minimal swelling! The arnica is optional but it has always worked well for me in the past, so I chose to take it. I’m sure this regimen would vary a bit based on your provider, but I felt like I was sent home with just the right things to make my face feel good.

All about my IPL treatment (intense pulsed light) treatment; before, during, and after | 11 Magnolia Lane

By the way, a post-IPL face feels like it has a sunburn; it’s red and stings a bit. They recommend no makeup at all the first day and that if possible you wait two or three days.

All of those brown and red spots that got zapped come to the surface over the first few days post-procedure and look pretty nasty; I’m not going to lie. It’s like every freckle on your face (that you didn’t even know you had) pops up and things got worse before they got better. Here’s Day 1:

All about my IPL treatment (intense pulsed light) treatment; before, during, and after | 11 Magnolia Lane

|  I’m not even smiling and definitely not going out in public! |

The healing process was literally like having a scab that flakes off. I took a no-makeup picture every day and you can see that by Day 5 (when I’m back to wearing makeup, thank you very much), my skin tone is so much more even.

All about my IPL treatment (intense pulsed light) treatment; before, during, and after | 11 Magnolia Lane

The nicest part is that it continued to improve for several weeks with my skin looking younger and brighter daily.

OK, my daughter shot the above picture using an Instagram filter–I should walk around all the time this way!–but this is what it really looks like:

All about my IPL treatment (intense pulsed light) treatment; before, during, and after | 11 Magnolia Lane

SPALI provide my IPL treatment at no cost to me in exchange for a detailed review of the process; they wanted to have something available online so their clients could read about IPL ahead of time from an unbiased source.

Would I have purchased IPL if they hadn’t offered it to me? Absolutely. I was planning to do just that when they asked me about creating a sponsored post for them, so it was a win-win.

Am I happy with the results? Yes! I noticed a big difference in my skin with the only downside being that I had to block a few days off to work from home while I was healing. Since I work from home, that wasn’t an issue, but if you don’t I recommend you schedule yours on a Friday.

I’m also planning one more treatment that Brianna recommends. It’s called Morpheus8™  and I’ll write about that after I have it, too. It involves radiofrequency and microneedling and apparently will have me looking like I’m 29 (ok, maybe 39) again.

If you’re nearby and want to hear what options might make you look 29 or 39, too, I would definitely recommend you contact SPALI for a free consultation:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | Reviews

Also, please let me know if you have any questions about IPL and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Thanks for stopping by~


Final New Christy headshot 2015
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  1. Good for you! I too believe we should do what makes us feel our best. I am 63, had fillers done this spring. As I told the person who did it, “I don’t need to look 25, just better than the average 63 year old”. Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Thank you for this. I have been wondering about the IPL process, but did not feel I was getting enough information to satisfy my concerns.

  3. I had something like this. It hurt like a mother trucker. I remember the ups guy dropped something off and when I answered the door and he looked at me in horror, i said, ” I paid for this.” it was so funny. I think i might have had something a little more intense, but now i iwll need to check because the ipl sounds a little more manageable. love it!
    i agree with the chemical peel too. i didn’t peel very much either, but my face felt so tight! laura
    i am going to share this on my weekend edit posting saturday! laura

    • Laura, that made me laugh out loud! The IPL really didn’t hurt but the Morpheus did (I had it after I wrote this post). I think it’s going to be worth it, but ouch! Thanks for sharing my post–I appreciate it! Christy

  4. If they have a solution for a saggy neck, AKA double chin…I’m there…you always looks beautiful!

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