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Clear + Brilliant vs. IPL Photofacial 

 April 20, 2021

By  Matthew Pruitt

Many people are not sure which type of laser is best for their skin when it comes to laser treatments. Many of our new members have questions about “this” laser versus “that” laser.

How are they alike? How are they different? And what laser is appropriate for my goals? I’m writing this blog to answer the most frequent questions I’ve heard about two of our most popular laser technologies, Clear + Brilliant (We call it Fraxel Refresh) vs. IPL photofacial.

One of the top concerns of many of my clients is hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Hyper-pigmentation can occur with prolonged sun exposure and free-radical damage. There are many ways to help reduce hyper-pigmentation, but many people turn to lasers.

IPL Photofacial

IPL is a very effective treatment for the removal of hyperpigmentation. Intense Pulse Light (IPL) flashes its light beam onto the skin in a spectral range to target the brown and red discoloration in the skin tone. Once it targets the melanocytes in the skin, it pulls the pigment up to the surface for it to lift off. The pigment will break up, become a little flaky, and then peel or flake off about 5-7 days post-treatment. Over a series of 4-6 treatments, clients will notice a more even skin tone and a brighter complexion.

While IPL can be effective on patchy pigmentation, it is most effective on the more freckled appearance caused by sun damage. Also, IPL is safe on lighter skin types; we cannot perform IPL on darker skin types because of the high amount of melanin in the skin.

Clear + Brilliant (Fraxel Refresh)

Skin Bar NYC introduced a more robust version of Clear + Brilliant to New Yorkers, recently called Fraxel Refresh. Refresh is a more powerful version of Clear + Brilliant. We perform the treatment with a Fraxel Dual laser.

This treatment corrects pigmentation differently from IPL. These lasers resurface the skin, creating microscopic wounds that activate your body’s repair response and stimulate collagen production. When this “controlled injury” occurs in the skin, new cells from the dermal layer are rushed to the surface, causing peeling and shedding. Once the fresh, new cells reach the skin’s surface, a much more youthful appearance is revealed.

Fine lines and wrinkles appear softened, skin texture is smoother, and patchy or freckled pigmentation is lightened. The pigmentation exfoliates off the skin because the skin cells below are pushing it up and off the surface. Skin resurfacing is for anyone that desires a fresh-faced look. And it is safe on all skin types. We recommend a series of 2-4 treatments performed in the cooler months, spaced a month apart.

The best laser depends on your goals.

Both IPL Photofacial and Fraxel Refresh are excellent treatments and highly effective. In my experience, I have had clients utilize IPL for hyper-pigmentation and complete a series of 4-6 treatments with outstanding results.

Sometimes, pigmentation can be highly stubborn, depending on how deep and dense it is in the skin. After a few sessions of IPL, if a client’s skin is still showing signs of hyperpigmentation in certain areas, we know that it’s time to switch it up and try another modality.

While IPL is an excellent treatment, it has its limitations. Fraxel Refresh can come in and clean up the lingering pigment by attacking it differently and resurfacing the skin at the same time.

This combination may not be best for everybody, as everyone responds to treatment differently, but this is a common trend we’ve noticed with many of our clients.

Stop guessing and get expert advice.

If you’re new to any of these treatments, it’s best to start with a consultation. We can help you determine what is best for your skin. We want to get you the best possible outcome, no matter what your skin concern may be. We’ll take images of your skin in our Fit Skin Photo Booth to determine the best treatment for each individual and set up a customized plan for your skin. Call us today for a complimentary Skin-Strategy-Session.

Matthew Pruitt


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