Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Pre/Post Op Treatment Instructions
San Francisco’s premier plastic surgeons


One month prior

  • Avoid sunbathing, tanning beds and self-tanners.
  • Wear sun protection - SPF 30+.
  • If prescribed, use Hydroquinone for 2 weeks prior to the procedure.

One week before

  • Avoid the use of photosensitizing medications, and medications such as Retin-A or Glycolic Acid.

One day before

  • If you have a history of Herpes Simplex virus infection, you may consider taking an antiviral medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Shave the areas to be treated.
  • If there is very little hair in the area, please shave and tape a small amount of hair to a piece of paper for your provider to review.


  • Inform your doctor if you have changed medications or have had recent sun exposure.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes as this may constrict the vessels and make treatment less successful.
  • Do not exercise or go to the gym, spa or sauna immediately before treatment.
  • Do not wear sunblock or makeup.


Immediately post treatment

Same day of treatment

  • Avoid saunas, strenuous exercise, and any activity that may cause excessive heat to the treatment area for 24 hours.
  • A feeling of itchiness may be noticed; this is perfectly natural. Do not scrub or scratch the treated areas.
  • Apply a moisturizer to the treated area.
  • Do not apply products that may cause your skin to react negatively. Do not use peels or aggressive cleansers for 1-2 weeks.
  • If possible, avoid using makeup (other than sunscreen and moisturizer) for 4-8 hours after treatment.
  • Note: Treated pigment may become darker following the treatment, this is a desired effect and may be covered by make-up.
  • Inform your doctor immediately if there is continued or severe discomfort or any sign of blistering. This is extremely uncommon, but requires immediate attention.

Pigment treatments

  • The treated pigment may slough as the skin renews (7-21+ days). Do not scratch or pick at the areas.

Vascular treatments

  • Slight redness and itchiness are common for a few minutes to a few hours after the treatments.
  • Dry skin or peeling may be noted after the treatments (apply moisturizer).
  • Nd:YAG treatments of small vessels may have erythema (redness) lasting a few days.
  • Most vessels require multiple treatments, and new visible vessels may form over time.

Week 1 and 2 post treatment

  • Avoid direct sun if possible but if you cannot avoid direct sun exposure, always use sunscreen (30 SPF+) and reapply every 2 hours.

Schedule your consultation at Pacific Plastic Surgery Group in San Francisco, where we pride ourselves on our results and quality patient experience.

77 Van Ness Ave, Suite 302, San Francisco, CA

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