I’ve written about IPL, aka BBL treatments in previous blog posts, as well as the difference between an IPL and a fotofacial. IPL treatments are traditionally reserved for people with lighter skin tones. This is because unlike a laser, IPL produces all wavelengths of light, and then uses a filter to block out the wavelengths of light we don’t want to use. Filters aren’t perfect, so what results is a narrow range of wavelengths, as compared to a laser which produces only a single wavelength. The end result is that IPL devices have a tendency to heat the skin up more than a laser would. Darker skin tones (which have more melanin), heat up more, which means there is a risk of burning the skin.
Despite this risk, a fotofacial actually can be done on darker skin types. To reduce the risk of burning the skin, I use lower energy settings and different wavelength filters on patients with dark skin. More treatments may be needed to see a result because of this. If you are considering having a fotofacial and you have darker skin, I definitely recommend seeing a physician who has significant experience performing fotofacials on both light and dark skin types.