Intense pulsed light therapy for skin conditions

Uses wavelengths of light to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections.

Some of us feel particularly self-conscious about our skin, especially if we have scars, blemishes and other skin conditions. Intense pulsed light therapy aims to reduce the appearance of these blemishes without the need for surgery, using light waves.

Why you might need it

Intense pulsed light therapy is a treatment option for those who want to reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes, including acne scars, rosacea, port wine stains, sun damage and age spots.

If you feel self conscious about your skin, this may be the right treatment for you. Intense Pulsed Light therapy works by emitting a range of different wavelengths in each pulse of light. These pulses of lights are targeted to areas in the skin which are different in colour to the surrounding tissue to even out your skin tone.

Unlike a chemical peel - which can be used for the same purpose - it’s not an invasive procedure and you should be able to get back to your normal day-to-day activities immediately afterwards.

We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Find a Spire hospital offering this treatment

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see and when you want. They’ll be with you every step of the way: from giving advice at your first consultation, through to offering on-going support after your surgery.

All of our cosmetic surgeons are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well equipped hospitals.  A cosmetic surgeon’s reputation, qualifications and experience are vitally important, so we only work with consultant grade specialists. These are highly experienced consultants who have completed years of medical training. All our consultants are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC), and many are also members of the UK’s leading cosmetic and plastic surgery associations.

If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, we'll give you at least two weeks between consultation and the procedure date. This is because we want you to be really happy and confident with your decision.

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Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that any medical procedure can be a cause of anxiety – even if it’s a relatively straightforward one like this. That’s why our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you every step of the way.

Your skin will be cleansed before your medical practitioner moves a hand-held device over the affected area, to deliver the laser treatment.

The treatment targets the melanin (brown pigment) in your skin. It absorbs the light beam and is then naturally dispersed around the body, helping to stimulate collagen production. The treated skin should look clearer and rejuvenated afterwards.

You may feel some stinging when the light waves touch your skin but if you’re concerned about potential discomfort, talk to your doctor about whether an anaesthetic cream can be administered beforehand.

The whole thing usually takes around 30 minutes but may be longer if you are having several parts of your body treated.

Hair removal usually requires about eight sessions, about a month apart, to be successful. Age spots, blemishes, and veins usually require fewer sessions.


After the procedure, you’ll be able to leave hospital straight away.

Pain relief

You may experience some soreness and swelling after the treatment for a day or two. We will give you medication while you’re with us and to take home to help ease any pain.

Recovery time

You won’t need to take any time off work and you should be able to return to normal activities straight away. Some people experience redness and irritation of the skin immediately after the treatment but this should wear off in a day or two.

End results

Most people find their skin looks and feels refreshed after the treatment and it is usually successful in reducing the appearance of blemishes and veins.

Looking after you

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way.

On rare occasions, complications can occur following treatment. Potential complications include blistering and bleeding and darkening and lightening of the skin have also been reported but most people are unaffected. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you. You will be a given a contact number for the hospital following your treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.

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