Photofacial Aftercare: Tips, What To Use

Photofacial Aftercare: Tips, What To Use

Whether you’re an expert on skincare or someone who’s just purchased their first set of skincare products, if you’ve ever had a photofacial, you know that it can make your skin look pretty close to perfect. Although it can be pricey, the results are a lot more obvious and last a lot longer than a normal facial. The key is making sure you understand how to take care of your skin afterwards so you don’t damage it.


Main Takeaways: Photofacials are incredibly effective, but important to properly care for your skin afterwards. If you don’t, you can not only ruin the effect of your facial, you can actually cause damage to your skin.

Good to Know: If you’ve never had a photofacial before, the first one can be a little intense, so it’s best not to schedule any important events in the week or two following your treatment.

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What Is a Photofacial?

Chances are, even if you’re not up on skincare treatments, you’ve heard the term, “photofacial.” You may have also heard the term IPL or Intense Pulsed Light. A photofacial is a type of IPL, and it can be an incredibly effective skincare treatment.

In a photofacial, light is used to treat cells of the skin that are damaged in some way. It’s usually performed at a medical spa or skincare treatment facility; when you go, you’ll need to arrive with no makeup, having cleansed your skin thoroughly (or schedule a cleansing facial with your med spa). Your facialist might apply numbing cream on your face in order to lessen the slight pain that comes with an IPL, or they may not. Once the cream activates, your facialist will start the procedure.

Using a tool that emits pulses of light, they will usually test a small area on your skin so you can get used to what it feels like. Depending on the setting your facialist uses, it’ll most likely feel like someone is snapping a rubber band on your face. The higher the machine is set, the more of a “snap” you’ll feel. Also, be prepared for a slight burning odor as the pulses of light hit your face.

They will go over your skin for a first pass, zapping your skin in sections to make sure the light is hitting every spot on your skin. They will then pass over the skin again – and possibly again – and will sometimes do a few extra passes over discolored spots or other areas of concern. For more difficult skin, your facialist might recommend more treatments (some facialists actually do IPLs over a period of different sessions, while some recommend just one treatment).

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Photofacial Benefits

Once you have a photofacial, it’s hard not to become addicted, as they are highly effective. Here are just some of the benefits of a photofacial:

  • Photofacials return skin’s glow - Everyone’s skin is different, but it’s rare not to find your skin looks much more radiant than it did before the photofacial.
  • Photofacials even out skin tone - Because photofacials target uneven pigmentation, they help even out skin tone.
  • Photofacials help reduce the appearance of dark spots - If you have dark spots, you may find that your facialist will do more than the average number of passes on your dark spots. That’s because the light from the tool will help reduce their appearance.
  • Photofacials help minimize the appearance of spider veins - Again, the light’s ability to “zap” uneven skin tone applies to spider veins as well.
  • Photofacials help minimize sun damage - While it may not be able to reverse the effects of sun damage (like cancer), it can minimize the appearance of it.
  • Photofacials aren’t just for the face - If you have difficulty with dark spots or freckling on other parts of your body, talk to your photo facialist about using a photofacial to treat it.

Photofacial Aftercare

Once it’s over, don’t freak out when you look in the mirror! For some of us, especially those of us who’ve never had a photofacial before, our skin doesn’t exactly look its best right after a photofacial (although there are some photofacial treatments that aren’t as intense). Because of the way a photofacial works, it can leave some of us with red scars or even some scabbing where there are dark spots. Whatever state your skin is in, make sure you follow these aftercare steps.

1. Stay Out of the Sun

This is always a good idea, but your skin will be extra sensitive to the sun after a photofacial, so use extra caution.

2. Do Not Exfoliate Immediately Afterwards

Again, parts of your skin have just been essentially burned off–you do not need more exfoliation right now!

3. Try Not To Take Hot Showers

The idea is not to do anything that irritates the skin; hot water can irritate your treated skin.

4. Resist Touching Your Face

As we said, your skin may form little scabs where the dark spots were. It’s best not to touch them, as it could cause scarring.

5. Wear Sunscreen

Even if you don’t deliberately lay out in the sun, you can still get sun just by being outside or near a window. Make sure you wear sunscreen to avoid damaging your skin.

6. Make Sure To Cleanse Your Face

While it’s crucial not to exfoliate the skin, you can and should keep it very clean. Make sure you’re using a clean, non-toxic cleanser that will cleanse your skin gently. Our So Clean! facial cleanser is a perfect choice. Packed with 13 nourishing actives, such as aloe vera to calm the skin, glycerin to hydrate, and pink grapefruit peel oil to protect it from environmental stressors.

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7. Moisturize Your Skin

It’s crucial to keep your skin moisturized after a photofacial, so be sure you restore moisture. Our Crème de la Cream brightening moisturizer is perfect. This silky smooth moisturizer contains safflower seed oil to hydrate the skin, jojoba seed oil to soften, and vitamin E to restore and protect.

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8. Use an Eye Cream

The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate, producing much less oil than the rest of your skin. Use an eye cream, such as our Eyes Eyes Baby anti-aging eye cream, to help firm the skin, reduce puffiness, and get to work on wrinkles.

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9. Don’t Use Makeup Right Away

If you’re a makeup user, it’s especially important after a photofacial to allow your skin to breathe. As we said, it may take a week or two for some to recover from a photofacial, so do your skin a favor and give makeup a rest while it recuperates from the photofacial.

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So that’s the 411 on photofacials. Hopefully, if you’re a fan of them, this article will help you with your photofacial aftercare; if you’ve never gotten one, perhaps we will inspire you to try it. Of course, one of the best ways to maintain great skin is to take care of it on the regular, but it never hurts to get a little help from your facialist!