IPL Treatments and the ‘Coffee Grounds Effect’

Intense Pulsed Light also known as IPL is not only effective at treating sun damage but is also useful for resolving other conditions such as redness, rosacea, scarring, unsightly blood vessels and skin textural concerns such as fine lines and crepey skin.

Artisan’s Dermal Therapist Kristy commented “IPL is one of my favourite treatments to perform in clinic as it is incredibly versatile and effective for concerns of both redness and pigmentation, while providing a level of skin rejuvenation. It can be performed on any area of the body and has very little downtime.”

But what has IPL got to do with coffee? What you may not be aware of is that after you enjoy an IPL treatment you may experience a phenomenon commonly known as ‘the coffee ground effect’.

To understand this phenomenon, it’s helpful to understand how IPL works. You may have noticed, on hot sunny days that different colours or objects absorb or reflect light in different ways and this often results in certain surfaces becoming hotter tha others. IPL is a skin technology device that delivers a broad spectrum of light into the skin (different from lasers). By tuning the device your clinician can target a wide range of conditions as listed above. When the intense light of the IPL device is passed over the skin, the light is absorbed by different components in the skin at varying intensities. By rapidly heating specific components such as pigmentation or unsightly blood vessels, the device is able to trigger a response in the skin that processes and removes them.When pigmentation is targeted with an IPL treatment, the spots initially darken and begin to rise to the surface of the skin during the days post treatment to appear as if coffee grounds have been rubbed onto the skin. This is known as the ‘coffee ground effect’. These darker specks eventually flake off to reveal glowing and smooth skin as a result.

Kristy states that “Following IPL you can expect the skin to be red and a little warm (similar to a sunburn sensation) over the next 12 – 24 hours. Pigmentation will darken and start to flake off over the following week. Any vascular lesions such as broken capillaries can change colour and slowly disappear or may disappear during the treatment. It is important to keep the treated area clean and cool during this time and avoid picking at any pigment lifting off the skin. You can expect to see results as soon as a week to two weeks post treatment, revealing a visibly refreshed, rejuvenated and more even toned skin.”

To learn more about how IPL can benefit your skin and help you achieve your skin health goals, book a consultation with one of our experienced clinicians today!