When Can I Exfoliate After IPL

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are you unsure about when to start exfoliating after your IPL treatment? It’s essential to know that professionals recommend waiting at least one week before exfoliating your skin post-treatment.

This blog is here to ensure you understand the dos and don’ts of IPL aftercare, helping protect your skin while maximizing results from the treatment. Ready for a radiant, flawless complexion? Keep reading!

Key Takeaways

  • Wait until day 7 after your IPL treatment before exfoliating to allow your skin enough time to heal.
  • Use gentle exfoliation methods, such as chemical exfoliants or soft brushes, to avoid irritation and damage.
  • Avoid using scrubs, acids, retinol / vitamin A, or powered cleansing brushes on the treated area for at least one week post-IPL treatment.
  • Discontinue the use of photosensitizing medications and anticipate some downtime for proper healing.

IPL Aftercare Advice

Avoid exfoliation for one week after your IPL treatment and steer clear of using scrubs, acids, retinols/vitamin A, or powered cleansing brushes on your skin.

Avoid exfoliation for one week post-IPL

Keeping your skin clear and smooth after IPL requires mindful care. The primary rule is to keep away from exfoliation for a minimum of seven days following the procedure. Irritations such as scrubs, acids, retinols or vitamin A treatments could potentially harm the healing process.

It’s crucial not to rush into your regular skincare routine so that you can let the treated area recuperate naturally. If you’re adamant about hastening the recovery time while avoiding any mishaps like redness or skin irritation, steering clear of power cleansing brushes would be highly advisable during this period too.

Do not use scrubs, acids, retinols/vitamin A, or powered cleansing brushes

To properly care for your skin after IPL treatment, it’s important to avoid certain products and tools. These include:

  • Scrubs: Avoid using any type of exfoliating scrub on the treated area. Scrubbing can irritate the skin and disrupt the healing process.
  • Acids: Steer clear of products containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs/BHAs), as well as other types of acids like glycolic acid or salicylic acid. These can cause further irritation and sensitivity.
  • Retinols/Vitamin A: Products with retinoids or vitamin A should also be avoided during this time. These ingredients can increase skin sensitivity and interfere with the healing process.
  • Powered Cleansing Brushes: While these brushes can provide a deep cleanse, they can be too harsh on the treated skin. It’s best to stick to gentle cleansing methods to avoid any potential irritation.

Protect your skin from the sun

Shielding your skin from the sun is crucial after undergoing IPL treatment. Sun exposure can intensify skin sensitivity and increase the risk of complications. Remember to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever you step outside, even on cloudy days.

Additionally, consider wearing wide-brimmed hats and protective clothing to minimize direct sun exposure. By taking these precautions, you’ll help protect your skin from further damage and promote optimal healing after IPL treatment.

Avoid excessively hot temperatures

To ensure proper healing after IPL treatment, it is important to avoid excessively hot temperatures. This includes avoiding hot showers, saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs for at least one week post-treatment.

Exposing your skin to high temperatures can increase the risk of irritation or complications. Stick to lukewarm water when washing your face and opt for cooler environments during this time.

Remember that taking these precautions will help protect your skin and promote optimal results from your IPL treatment.

What to Expect After IPL

After IPL, it’s normal to experience some crusting or blisters on your skin. Remember to be patient and avoid picking at your skin to ensure optimal healing. Curious about when you can start exfoliating? Keep reading!

Crusting or blisters may occur

After IPL treatment, it’s common for crusting or blisters to appear on your skin. This is a normal part of the healing process and should not be picked at. Remember to be patient and allow your skin to heal naturally.

Avoiding exfoliation during this time is important as it can further irritate the affected area. Instead, focus on gentle skincare and follow the post-IPL instructions provided by professionals to ensure optimal results.

Be patient and refrain from picking at the skin

Picking at the skin after IPL treatment can hinder the healing process and potentially lead to infection or scarring. It’s important to resist the urge to pick, even if you notice crusting or blistering.

Give your skin time to heal naturally and trust that it will undergo its own rejuvenation process. This patience will ensure better results and a smoother recovery overall. Remember, picking at your skin may cause more harm than good, so be gentle with yourself and let your skin heal at its own pace.

Refrain from exercising or strenuous activities

To allow your skin to heal properly after IPL treatment, it is important to refrain from exercising or engaging in strenuous activities. This includes activities that cause excessive sweating or put pressure on the treated area.

Exercise and physical exertion can increase blood flow and heat, which may lead to increased inflammation and prolong the healing process. It’s best to give your skin time to rest and recover before resuming your regular exercise routine.

When Can I Exfoliate After IPL

You should wait until day 7 after your IPL treatment before exfoliating, and use gentle methods to avoid irritating your skin.

Wait until day 7 post-IPL treatment

Exfoliating your skin is an important part of your skincare routine, but it’s crucial to wait until day 7 after your IPL treatment before doing so. This gives your skin enough time to heal and recover from the intense pulsed light therapy.

Using gentle exfoliation methods is recommended during this period to minimize any potential irritation or damage to the treated area. Remember, avoiding exfoliants for a week post-IPL treatment helps ensure the best possible results and allows your skin to fully benefit from the rejuvenating effects of IPL.

So be patient and give your skin the time it needs before incorporating exfoliation back into your beauty regimen.

Don’t forget that using certain products can also interfere with the healing process after IPL treatment. Avoid using scrubs, acids (like alpha or beta hydroxy products), retinols/vitamin A, or powered cleansing brushes on the treated area during this time.

Use gentle exfoliation methods

To exfoliate your skin after IPL treatment, it is important to use gentle methods that won’t irritate or damage your skin. Here are some tips for gentle exfoliation post-IPL:

  • Opt for chemical exfoliants: Instead of harsh scrubs, choose chemical exfoliants such as AHAs, BHAs, PHAs, or enzymes. These can help remove dead skin cells without being too abrasive.
  • Start with low concentrations: If you’re using a chemical exfoliant for the first time after IPL treatment, start with a low concentration to test your skin’s sensitivity. Gradually increase the strength if your skin tolerates it well.
  • Patch test new products: Before applying any new exfoliating product all over your face, patch test it on a small area of skin to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.
  • Be gentle: Whether you’re using a scrub or a chemical exfoliant, be gentle with your motions. Avoid rubbing too vigorously or applying excessive pressure to prevent irritation.
  • Use a soft cloth or brush: If you prefer physical exfoliation, opt for a soft cloth or a gentle brush. These tools can help remove dead skin cells without causing excessive friction.
  • Moisturize afterwards: After exfoliating, don’t forget to moisturize your skin. This will help restore hydration and keep your freshly-exfoliated skin nourished.

Other Post-IPL Care Instructions

Discontinue the use of photosensitizing medications and anticipate some downtime as part of your post-IPL care routine.

Discontinue photosensitizing medications

To ensure proper healing and prevent any potential adverse reactions, it is essential to discontinue the use of photosensitizing medications after IPL treatment. These medications can make your skin more sensitive to light, increasing the risk of sunburn and other complications.

By stopping these medications, you give your skin a chance to recover and minimize any potential side effects. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen.

Anticipate social “down-time”

After undergoing IPL treatment, it’s important to anticipate a bit of social “down-time.” This means that you may need to take a break from your usual social activities for a few days.

Since your skin may experience redness, swelling, or even crusting after the treatment, it’s best to give yourself time to heal and let these side effects subside. It’s totally normal and temporary! While you may prefer not to be in the spotlight during this recovery period, remember that taking care of your skin now will lead to better results in the long run.

So embrace this downtime as an opportunity for some self-care and relaxation.

Keep in mind that everyone’s healing process is different, so there might be variations in how long you need this social break. Just listen to your skin and pay attention to what feels comfortable for you.

Do not have chemical peels or facials

Having chemical peels or facials immediately after IPL treatment is not recommended. These treatments can be too harsh for the skin and may cause irritation or damage. It is best to wait until your skin has fully healed before considering these procedures.


Wait until the seventh day after your IPL treatment before exfoliating. This will give your skin enough time to heal and reduce the risk of irritation or damage. Remember to use gentle exfoliation methods and avoid harsh products that may interfere with your IPL results.

Take care of your skin properly post-IPL for beautiful, rejuvenated results.


1. What is the best time to exfoliate after an IPL treatment?

The timing of exfoliation after IPL varies, but it’s usually safe to start once any skin irritation has subsided and brown spots have started to peel off naturally.

2. Are there precautions I need to take when exfoliating post-IPL?

Yes, it’s essential to be careful with your skin care routine following your treatment. Avoiding harsh scrubs or other exfoliants immediately after IPL helps prevent further skin irritation.

3. How does exercise affect my IPL aftercare instructions?

After an IPL procedure, some exercise restrictions may apply since excessive sweating can irritate treated areas on the skin.

4. Can sun damage affect my results if I delay Exfoliation post-IPL?

Yes! Delayed exfoliation might expose sensitive new cells under peeled-off brown spots due to sun damage post-IPL skincare should involve strict sun protection measures.

5. How can a dermatologist advice help in my post-treatment care from facial treatments like IPL?

A dermatologist provides accurate directions regarding the effects of exfoliation on IPL results, specific information about “When Can I Exfoliate After IPL” as well as guidance for overall skin rejuvenation processes.

When Can I Exfoliate After IPL
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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