IPL Specialist

Mill Valley Dermatology

Dermatologists & Cosmetic Dermatologists located in Mill Valley, CA

Red and brown spots on your skin aren’t often indicative of a skin condition and usually aren’t irritating or painful. However, their impact on your appearance might cause you to wear lots of makeup and hesitate to show off your natural skin. At Mill Valley Dermatology in Mill Valley, California, board-certified dermatologist Haydee Knott, MD, performs photorejuvenation treatments with intense pulsed light (IPL) to give you an even skin tone. To find out if you’re a candidate for IPL skin treatments, call Mill Valley Dermatology to book a cosmetic consultation appointment today.


What is IPL?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a powerful tool in the world of skin care. Many people mistake IPL for a type of laser because it uses light energy. However, there are several key differences between IPL treatments and laser treatments. 

Lasers are concentrated beams of light with one single wavelength per beam. IPL uses flashes of light with many wavelengths instead of beams. If you watch an IPL treatment happen, you’ll see what looks like a camera flash as the light treats your skin. 

IPL light goes through your epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, without causing any harm or disruption. When it reaches the second layer of your skin, called the dermis, the pigmented cells absorb the light and convert it to heat. The heat breaks the pigment apart to give your skin a more even tone with fewer spots and blemishes. 

What does IPL treat?

At our Marin Skin location, Dr. Knott uses IPL to treat a wide range of common skin imperfections and pigmented lesions. If you’re a candidate, she might recommend treatments with IPL for:

  • Age spots
  • Sun damage
  • Birthmarks
  • Freckles
  • Rosacea
  • Varicose veins
  • Spider veins


You can get IPL treatments on your face, neck, chest, hands, or any other area of skin that looks imperfect. Depending on the extent of your skin’s imperfections, Dr. Knott generally recommends three to four IPL treatments with one month between each to reach your goals. 

What do IPL treatments feel like?

During the treatment, you’ll feel as if a small rubber band is snapping against your skin when the light hits it. The procedure is generally well tolerated. An ice pack can be used after the procedure to soothe discomfort. 

How should I prepare for IPL treatments?

Before your IPL treatment, you’ll need to take some extra steps to protect your skin to prepare it for treatment. Taking these steps reduces your chances of getting skin irritation after your IPL procedure. For two weeks before your appointment, Dr. Knott recommends that you stay away from:

  • Ultraviolet rays (sunlight, tanning beds)
  • Waxes
  • Chemical peels
  • Aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Vitamin A skin products (retinol / retinoid)

Dr. Knott also recommends giving your skin extra attention after your IPL treatments. You should use sunscreen every day and use products catered to sensitive skin for about a week.  

To find out if you’re a candidate for IPL skin rejuvenation, call Mill Valley Dermatology or book an appointment online today.