How Long After IPL Can I Use Retinol (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After 1 week

Nowadays, rejuvenating the facial skin by IPL treatments had been safer and it is the most simple way to proceed. Both men and women find Intense pulsed light (IPL) photo facials as a highly effective option for the treatment of dark spots and other irregular skin acne as it helps to reduce or completely vanish the damaged signs in the sun, age spots, and so on.

IPL treatments use a laser that emits energy in the form of pulses and penetrating deep into the skin or dermis, it regenerates the good natural skin process and also enhances collagen production. This treatment takes nearly 45minutes to 1 hour to complete.

How Long After IPL Can I Use Retinol

How Long After IPL Can I Use Retinol?

Individuals can feel the results in a couple of minutes after the treatment but it takes a little more period like 2-3 weeks to find out the major and effective results. Few patients urge for more than one IPL treatment due to severe skin issues. If you are taking more than treatment, there should be a gap of at least 3 weeks between each other to attain the best results. 

Exfoliants products like Retinol should be avoided for at least one week in the area which is being treated. As it doesn’t require any specific time to recover until and unless you have not used Retinol, it is considered to be the most convenient procedure for skin issues.

One should be careful when mixing the IPL or laser treatment with retinol. Normally, retinol is considered as a vitamin, which has been tried and proved to be worth it by professionals but using it right after IPL treatment can sometimes result in adverse effects. And it is also advised to use retinol during the night after one-week post-treatment. In the case of having aesthetic laser treatment, it is recommended to avoid retinol before 2 weeks to avoid a risky situation.

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This treatment locates a certain color and a particular range of skin to treat with the help of light energy and when once found, it is heated to diminish the cells which causes issues. It is different from laser types when compared in terms of pulses. You may expertise even skin tone after IPL and as it doesn’t affect other cells, you may feel better instantly.

Quantity of retinolDuration to wait
0.3% – 0.7%1 week
0.7 % – 1%12 days
More than 1%2 weeks or more

Why Do I Have To Wait That Long To Use Retinol After IPL?

Once IPL treatment is completed, issues in new places may occur but people rarely come back with issues in the same treated area. Individuals must wear very productive and protective eyewear once the skin is cleaned and ready for the remedy. Retinol should be used almost when you are completely comfortable after one week.

The goal of retinol is to exfoliate the skin in a bottom-up manner, and when you start to use it regularly, this is the reason for your newborn glowing face. As it is much powerful, it is sensitive too due to which when it is mixed with any other chemical and light energy, side effects occur. When IPL treatment is done, there may be few darkened areas that should come off by themselves, but when people use retinol to remove, it leads to hypopigmentation.

These darkened areas get back to normal in almost 6 to 8 days. But the body will take more than 6 weeks to recover if exfoliated. It can be drying and irritating and sometimes leads to more adverse effects like a higher risk of burn. Even it is suggested to stop using retinol one week before the scheduled IPL treatment.

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Because it also reduces the density of the skin which may be uneven in specific areas. Due to which it leads to difficulty in determining the width of pulse in IPL treatment. Not only retinol but also products like Retin-A, glycolic acids, and Benzoyl peroxide should be avoided to intensify and strengthen the results of IPL treatment.


IPL treatment would be worth it if taken under well-trained professionals.  They make the brown spots flare-up in a better way. Though it is safe, depending on the skin, few people get side effects like swelling in the treated area, hurt and scar gets crusty and even bleed occasionally.

The treated area may become reddish for two days and You may also feel sunburn type for almost 4 -5 hours after the treatment. Some of the brown spots may get even darker but they slowly peel off. The use of Cool clothes and ice packs may relieve it up to a certain extent.  Professionals suggest using an extra pillow to avoid swelling on the night of treatment.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I’m curious to know more about the potential side effects associated with IPL treatments. They seem to be briefly mentioned here.

  2. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea of IPL treatments, but this article has been informative nonetheless.

  3. I’m very excited to try the IPL treatment! It sounds super effective and I can’t wait to see the results!

    1. I agree! I’m also looking forward to trying it out. It seems like a great solution for skin issues.

  4. I’m fascinated by the science behind IPL treatments. It’s intriguing how it works and what the implications are.

  5. The IPL treatment process seems to be a bit more complex than I anticipated. I’ll have to think about it some more.

    1. It’s definitely a lot to consider. I’ll be doing some more research before making a decision on this.

  6. This post seems a bit one-sided in favor of IPL treatments. Would have been useful to see some potential drawbacks mentioned as well.

  7. This post has been very helpful in understanding the aftercare procedures for IPL treatments. I appreciate the detailed information.

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