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IPL Photofacial vs Clear Lift Tightening Treatment: Which treatment is best for you?

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

If you’ve been researching more advanced anti-aging treatments or ways to fade pigmentation left behind from acne, sun spots or even scars, laser facials have likely popped up as options for all of the above.

Many people, including all the A list celebrities, have begun seeking out laser treatments for:

  • Acne scars

  • Broken capillaries

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

  • Rosacea

  • Sagging skin

  • Spider veins

  • Sun spots

  • Uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation

If you’re just starting to look into laser facial treatments, it can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out which treatment is best for your specific skincare concerns.

The two most popular laser skin treatments among our clients are the IPL Photofacial and a Clear Lift Laser Facial. Note, there is also a treatment called Clear + Brilliant that is not the same as a Clear Lift Facial. The Clear + Brilliant Facial is not one that we currently offer.

Both treatments are highly effective and can achieve great results. It should be noted that whichever one you choose typically requires 3 to 5 treatments to achieve optimal results, although you’ll begin to see differences after just 1 treatment.

Before scheduling one or the other, it’s important to understand the benefits and differences between each treatment. While there are many similarities, there are key differences, downtime being the biggest one, to make sure you understand before booking your treatment.

We’ll start with Intense Pulse Light (IPL) Photofacials, the older, more known of the two treatments.

IPL Photofacials

IPL photofacials don’t actually use lasers like you might think they do. IPL stands for intense pulsed light, a powerful light source that can penetrate deeply into the skin with minimal damage.

It’s a popular treatment for skin concerns such as sun damage, hyperpigmentation (a harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin), rosacea, visible veins and capillaries.

IPL photofacials can be performed on the face (excluding any areas close to the eyes), neck, shoulders, back, and hands.

How does it work?

During the treatment, short intensive pulses of light penetrate deeply into the skin, targeting the brown and red discoloration in the skin tone. This pulls the pigment up to the surface of the skin while also increasing collagen production.

What to expect during and after the treatment

You may experience minimal discomfort during the treatment, many clients liken the feeling to the snap of a rubber band on the area being treated. It’s a relatively quick procedure, depending on what area(s) we’re targeting.

Post-treatment you may experience mild redness and swelling which disappears shortly.

Between 5 to 10 days after the treatment, skin will begin to peel or flake, revealing a healthier, smoother, more even skin tone.

For optimal results, we recommend clients undergo 4 to 6 treatments, spaced out over approximately 4 weeks.

It’s not a treatment for everyone

Because this treatment does pull pigment from the skin, it’s only recommended for pale or medium skin tones. Otherwise, it could cause a condition known as hypopigmentation which can cause patches of skin to become lighter than the surrounding skin.

Pre and post treatment instructions

If you do book an appointment for this treatment, you will be given some specific pre and post-treatment instructions. The most important is that you can’t be tan prior to your appointment and there’s a downtime of 7 to 14 days where direct exposure to the sun must be avoided.

Clear Lift Skin Tightening Treatment

The Clear Lift Skin Tightening Treatment is a newer laser treatment that uses a non-ablative laser, meaning the laser heats up the underlying skin tissue without harming the surface of the skin.

The Clear Lift treatment has become extremely popular because it works with all types of skin with no downtime. It can be performed on all the same areas as an IPL Photofacial with a bonus, it can treat the delicate areas around the eyes to minimize crows feet.

Clear Lift has become best known for improving early signs of aging like sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, texture, pigment and sun damage while also minimizing pores.

How does it work?

ClearLift light technology uses a gentle non-ablative laser to deliver a controlled dermal wound deep beneath the skin to stimulate the growth of new collagen. All stages of healing and skin repair occur underneath the top layer of your skin which is why there’s no downtime or immediate side effects.

It’s a quick, painless procedure and clients can walk out and immediately resume everyday life with no restrictions.

Just as with the IPL Photofacial, we recommend clients undergo 4 to 6 treatments, spaced out over approximately 4 weeks.

So which treatment is better? It depends on your skin type and your goals:

If your main concern is pigment and redness in the skin – choose an IPL Photofacial.

If you’ve noticed that your skin is looking older than it used to – choose a Clear Lift Treatment.

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Here's another quick easy reference for understanding the similaries and differences between the two treatments.

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