All About Photo Fractional


We all love IPL (and BBL) to treat discoloration such as age spots & facial vessels but did you know you can take it a level deeper and combine IPL with laser resurfacing at the same appointment?

 And the best part is there is no broken skin with this combination, making the “downtime” minimal! 

Read more below to learn about this treatment, explore commonly asked questions, and see if this treatment could benefit you! 

Table of Contents

What is a Photo Fractional?

At Elite Medical & Aesthetics, our customized Photo Fractional combines IPL 3-in-1 and ResurFX, together in ONE treatment. It is designed to target the following skin concerns:

  • Discoloration
  • Sun spots/age spots 
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Soften fine lines and wrinkles
  • Collagen Production
  • Skin tightening

👇 So what exactly does IPL and ResurFx, alone, do to the skin? 👇 

  • The IPL treatment, also known as a “photo-facial”, uses light energy that causes destruction of damaged cells leading to the regeneration of new, healthy cells. IPL is very effective for treating skin discoloration, including brown spots and redness. 
  • At Elite our 3-in-1 IPL targets: 1. overall complexion/skin tightening, 2. brown spot treatment, and 3. redness/vessels treatment 
  • The ResurFx treatment is a fractional, non-ablative laser that targets below the skin’s surface to increase collagen production and resurface the skin texture without opening/breaking the skin surface. This treatment is effective at softening lines, uneven texture, and scarring.

How long do Photo Fractional results last?

Photo fractional results last forever, in theory, if we were to never go out into the sun again nor age. So in real life, we will always continue to accumulate spots, discoloration, wrinkles, and lose collagen just by living our lives and aging. However, by doing treatments such as the photo-fractional the spots, redness, fine lines, etc. will be less overtime than they would have been if we did nothing for our skin. 

For full results, our Nurse Practitioner Providers recommend doing a series of 3-6 treatments spread 4 weeks apart, and then continue with maintenance treatments yearly (1-3). Alongside in-office treatments, incorporating a customized skincare routine with products such as retinol, vitamin C, and a mineral SPF 30+ will help the longevity of results! 

What does a Photo Fractional treat?

A photo fractional treatment treats the following skin concerns/conditions:

  • Discoloration
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Sun/age spots 
  • Loss of collagen 
  • Mild wrinkles/lines
  • Acne scarring
  • Uneven skin texture 
  • Redness/broken capillaries 

It is best to consult with a trusted provider to ensure you are on a customized treatment plan that is best suited for your skin concerns. 

How much does a Photo Fractional cost?

Photo Fractional treatments cost around $800-$1,000/per treatment (on average). At Elite, we price our Photo Fractional at $1,000 because we account for our highly trained providers, the effectiveness of the two treatments, and the experience/care during your treatment! Remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to aesthetic treatments!

⭐️ We also offer two different programs that help with budgeting and financial payment plans: Elite Wallet and Cherry Payment Plans.

What is the downtime of a Photo Fractional?

There is minimal downtime after a photo fractional treatment, mainly because there is no broken skin! You may experience the following after a photo fractional up to 7-10 days:

  • A “sunburn” feeling 
  • Tightness
  • Swelling
  • Darkening of any pigmentation, that may look like “coffee grounds”
  • Redness 
  • Puffiness
  • Dryness/flaking 

It is best to stay out of direct sunlight and be diligent about re-applying SPF during this time (and all the time 😉). Read through and understand your provider’s post treatment instructions, and always contact them if you have concerns or questions.

How should I take care of my skin after a Photo Fractional?

Below are helpful tips to follow after your photo fractional treatment, but keep in mind to always follow the instructions provided to you by your treating clinician. 

  • Avoid direct sunlight 
  • Keep skin well moisturized 
  • Do not pick at the skin 
  • Avoid harsh products such as retinols, exfoliants, AHA/BHA
  • Apply SPF 30+ daily and reapply as needed
  • Apply cool compresses if skin is uncomfortable

How many sessions are needed for Photo Fractional results?

3-6 sessions spread 4-6 weeks apart is usually recommended for full results. This however, does vary based on the individual’s baseline and what they are wanting to achieve. Consultations with a trusted provider are important to better understand how the treatment will help you, how many sessions are needed, and to gain realistic expectations.

Who's a good candidate for Photo Fractional?

A good candidate for a photo fractional includes anyone who wants to improve their skin with the following:

  • Even skin tone
  • Even skin texture
  • Softening of lines/wrinkles 
  • Anti-aging 
  • Collagen production/stimulation
  • Reduced pigmentation/sun spots/age spots
  • Reduced redness
  • Healthier, youthful skin

However, there are some contraindications for a photo fractional to be aware of but they are mostly due to the IPL component. For the first 3 listed you can still do ResurFX alone:

1. Caution with Melasma

2. IPL cannot be used on tan or dark skin tones

3. Caution if on light sensitizing medications

4. Has not been studied on pregnant women (look out for our pregnancy series on YouTube!) 

5. Cannot be done on broken skin or if skin sore such as cold sore is present

These will all be discussed in the initial consultation beforehand, to ensure safety is #1 priority and clients are getting the best treatment plan possible. 


Talk with one of our NP Providers to explore treatments fit for your skin concerns, book a consultation below 👇 

Is a Photo Fractional painful?

A photo fractional treatment can be uncomfortable for clients, but not necessarily painful. However, at Elite, we do apply topical numbing cream to the skin a minimum of 20 minutes beforehand, to keep our clients comfortable. 


Everyone’s pain tolerance is different, so keep your provider in the loop with how you are feeling during treatment, so they can best accommodate you!

How long is a Photo Fractional treatment?

Photo fractional treatments usually take about an hour from start to finish. About 30 minutes is accounted for actually receiving the IPL and ResurFX. This treatment typically takes a little longer than others, because it uses both IPL and ResurFX on the whole face. Rest assured that the results are worth every minute!

Our providers also focus their time on educating our clients before the treatment, explaining do’s and dont’s, and being diligent with the treatment to provide the best experience and results.  

What is a Photo Fractional treatment like?

Best described, a photo fractional treatment is a resurfacing facial treatment that is typically an hour long. 

  1. First, your provider will walk you through what to expect, have you read/sign consent forms, take facial photos for charting, and run through basic information of the treatment. 
  2. Once all questions are answered, the provider will clean and prep the skin by applying a topical anesthetic to numb the skin. 
  3. After the skin is fully numb (approximately 15-20 minutes), the IPL photo fractional treatment begins.
  4. Once the full face is treated with the IPL, the provider will prep the skin for the ResurFX.
  5.  After the ResurFX treatment is completed, the provider will apply a mineral based SPF and go over the after-care instructions and any follow up questions you may have. 
  6. To end the treatment, your provider will recommend to schedule a follow up appointment to ensure desired results are achieved, and and re-schedule any needed future appointments. 

For more information on an insight into each individual treatment, read these helpful blogs below.

When is the best time to get a Photo Fractional?

The best time to get a photo fractional treatment is during the fall to early spring months (October to May). This is the time when most people are not in the sun as much or on tropical/beach vacations! It is important that your skin is not tan before a photo fractional treatment, because it can lead to potential burning and a less effective treatment, overall. 

Note: you can still do this treatment year round if you are not tan or you can do ResurFX only during Summer months so long as you are diligent with your SPF afterwards!

What are the risks/side effects of a Photo Fractional?

Rare, but potential risks of a photo fractional include the following:

  • Scarring
  • Blistering
  • Severe swelling
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Infection

Most of these risks can be avoided by going to a licensed, trained, medical provider and following all pre and post treatment care instructions provided to you. Like mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for when it comes to aesthetic treatments! However, if any of these side effects happen, contact your provider ASAP!

Photo Fractional before and after

Below are before and after images of real clients after just ONE treatment. You can see the skin is more even-toned, fine lines are softened, and skin looks more rejuvenated/youthful. 

Check out our before and after gallery below for more images. 

Elite Medical & Aesthetics is a premier med spa located in Lone Tree, CO. Our staff of Nurse Practitioners provide a holistic approach to natural results with safety as a #1 priority.

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