Whole Beauty® Institute

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Reduce red and brown spots, broken capillaries, and unwanted hair with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).

Why Choose The Whole Beauty® Institute For All Your Non-Surgical & Medical Aesthetic Needs.


Because of our roots in plastic surgery, we understand the continuum of surgical and medical aesthetics treatments and how the two can complement one another for optimal results. This allows us to offer a full range of treatment options for our patients.


Dr. Cook has a deep understanding of aesthetic treatments since he has studied them diligently and followed their development for over 25 years. While everyone on his clinical team adheres to our practice philosophy of naturalism.


We offer our treatments in a premium, unrushed caring environment that respects your privacy. This is why so many of our patients have been coming to us for 10 or even 20 years or more.


Our highly experienced team offers a full spectrum of aesthetic treatments that include the most advanced technology available.

Education and Credentials

Awards and Recognition


See the difference experience makes. Scroll through before and afters in the photo carousel of IPL patients treated by Dr. Cook and his team.


Treat Spots with Intense Pulsed Light in Chicago and Winnetka

Our patients benefit from the advantages of BBL (Broad Band Light), an advanced type of IPL, at our Chicago and Winnetka Whole Beauty® Institute offices. Our team uses specific wavelengths of intense pulsed light used to reduce brown and red discolorations and restore a fresh and youthful appearance. While an IPL session can be performed on its own, we often combine it with other nonsurgical skin treatments to provide synergistic skin rejuvenation.

Many clinicians think of IPL as a way of treating sun damage, but at Whole Beauty® Institute, we have learned that the benefits of this technology extend beyond a single series of treatments. IPL also has an important place in the prevention of skin degeneration and in the maintenance of healthy skin. For this reason, patients tend to benefit from a regular cycle of IPL treatments.

Who Can Benefit from IPL?

Thanks to the inevitable aging process and decades of cumulative sun exposure, many of us develop brown spots and patches of red in the skin. These are areas where melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells, go into a hyper-defensive mode to protect the skin against damage from ultraviolet radiation. The resulting small areas of highly concentrated pigment are known as age spots, sun spots, or liver spots. Anyone with these benign lesions can benefit from IPL, one of the very best methods to even out skin color and tone.

Regular IPL treatments can also help to reduce the redness and flushing that occur with a chronic condition known as rosacea, as well as the dark patches that develop on the forehead, cheeks, and chin due to the complex problem of melasma. Also known as “the mask of pregnancy,” melasma often occurs in response to changes in the hormonal environment. There is no single treatment for melasma, but in experienced hands, IPL applied at gentle settings can play a role in reducing the severity of the patches.

IPL can also be a key feature in general skin rejuvenation, as regular treatments can help to improve skin tone and texture.

How Does IPL Work?

We all know that a dark car parked in the sun will heat up more than a light-colored car. This is because the pigment in the paint of a dark-colored car will absorb energy from the light that strikes its surface, converting it into heat.

This is essentially the same thing that happens with IPL when it strikes the brown and red pigments in the skin. Certain wavelengths of light are particularly well-absorbed by the red pigment in blood cells (hemoglobin) and the brown pigment in dark patches (melanin).

IPL is simply a series of bright flashes of light run through a filter that allows the range of wavelengths of light best absorbed by melanin and hemoglobin to pass through. If just the right amount of energy is delivered, it will damage the brown or red area targeted by the IPL treatment without damaging nearby tissues. Automatic body processes will then kick in to remove the damaged tissue and repair the area.

Recent scientific studies have also suggested that IPL can help to keep older skin working like young skin.

Whole Beauty Institute

Contact Whole Beauty® Institute to arrange a consultation for IPL in Chicago or Winnetka. Call 312-751-2112 or send a message online.

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Our bodies are in a constant state of renewal and repair. The governing mechanism for this ongoing action is the complex code that resides in our chromosomes, which controls the structure and function of the body via gene expression. Essentially, snippets of information in our DNA are translated into messenger molecules that set the machinery of the body to work. With age and stress, this beautiful and complex mechanism begins to go awry, which is one of the main reasons a 60-year-old body doesn’t work as well as a 20-year-old body and why 60-year-old skin doesn’t look and feel as nice as 20-year-old skin.

Thanks to scientific advancement, it is now possible measure gene expression. A team at Stanford recently demonstrated that older skin treated with a form of intense light known as BBL (broadband light) returned to young patterns of gene expression. In effect, the old skin began to work like young skin. This is the same BBL we use to treat our patients.

There are many questions that remain about this important research—how long do the results last, for example?—to which Dr. John Cook remains interested in learning the answers as they become available.

What Happens Before an IPL Session?

It is essential to avoid tanning for three to four weeks before an IPL treatment. In addition to natural sunshine, this includes tanning beds, and self-tanning treatments. If you are actively tanned, the light emitted by the IPL device will be drawn to the pigment, and two undesirable things will occur: First, because the light cannot distinguish between brown spots in the skin and pigment from a suntan, your treatment will be less effective. Second, the presence of an active tan increases the risk of complications. It is not enough to avoid intentional tanning. You must make use of sunblock anytime you are outside in the weeks leading up to an IPL session.

Our team at the Whole Beauty® Institute may also suggest other treatments to prepare for your IPL session. If the outer layer of your skin has thickened in response to sun damage, we will suggest something to reduce that thickness so the light will better penetrate and reach its targets deeper in the skin.

What Happens During an IPL Session?

For some patients, we apply a topical anesthetic cream to the skin before treatment, but this step is not often necessary, because the machine itself has a cooling system that diminishes the discomfort caused by the light.

Our experienced team will guide you through every step of the treatment. Your eyes will be protected with an eye shield. We apply a gel to the skin, after which you will feel a cool sensation as the hand-piece touches you. There will be a flash of light when the device is activated. Once you are accustomed to the experience, we will proceed with the session.

An entire face takes about 20 minutes to treat, due to the fact that our technology is very effective and efficient. IPL also works well in other areas, such as the neck, chest, hands, and body.

For most patients, two or three IPL treatments will provide optimum results. We generally suggest maintenance treatments every six months to one year. Some of our patients are so pleased with our treatments that they come once a quarter.

What Happens After an IPL Session?

If your skin has significant brown spots, they will noticeably darken after your first treatment, then lighten again in seven to 10 days. Subsequent treatments will cause a less noticeable change. If you have significant red areas, especially related to rosacea, you may experience swelling after an IPL session. This effect should subside in 24 to 48 hours. We can also provide you with a medication that will help diminish swelling.

It is essential that you protect your skin with a high-level sunblock after treatment—and even with sunblock, you should avoid extensive ultraviolet radiation exposure in the early days after IPL.

The best results from IPL require a team effort. We provide high-level technology that is delivered by an experienced and knowledgeable team. Your part is to protect the skin from further sun damage and to follow up with maintenance therapy. Together we can provide you with skin that appears noticeably younger and fresher.

Is IPL Different from PhotoFacials?

There are many names for intense light-based treatments. If you start researching IPL treatments online, you will likely encounter a confusing list: IPL, intense pulsed light, PhotoFacial, FotoFacial, BBL, Lumeca, and so on. Each one promotes itself as the “best” IPL, but Dr. Cook has never seen a study that accurately compares all of these different technologies.

There are technical differences between the different IPL machines. These largely come down to the type of bulb used to generate flashes, the energy output of the machine, the specific wavelengths of light selected by the filters, and the degree to which the machine’s output can be “fine-tuned.” Different machines also have different ways to cool the skin in order to improve comfort during treatment. Dr. Cook has used a variety of IPL machines to benefit his patients over the years. We currently use BBL, which we feel is the most advanced form of intense pulsed light.

Dr. Cook encourages patients to not get caught up in trying to decipher the IPL treatment they think would be best for their needs. A skilled clinician can obtain excellent results with any of the medical-grade machines and can recommend the ideal treatment after a comprehensive, personalized consultation.

Why Choose Whole Beauty® Institute for IPL in Chicago and Winnetka?

First, Whole Beauty® Institute uses medical-grade machines. If you look, you will likely find a wide range of IPL machines in a variety of settings. The ones you see in hair salons and spas tend to be low-energy devices that provide a very mild effect. This is all for the best, because the more powerful medical-grade machines do not, in Dr. Cook’s opinion, belong in a non-medical setting. The reason for this is that the more powerful technology also has a much greater potential for risk and side effects, so it needs to be delivered in a medical facility where the team has the appropriate training and knowledge.

Second, our providers are properly trained and have in-depth knowledge of IPL. Medical grade IPL devices are not “plug and play.” It is important to customize the settings for each patient, based on the person’s skin type and the particular condition that is being treated. This requires skill and judgment.

Third, our facility has oversight, led full-time by a doctor who has a strong background in aesthetic surgery. Think carefully before you go to a medispa with a part-time medical director.

What Can Be Combined with IPL?

We offer a wide range of devices, products, and strategies intended to improve the appearance of the skin. We often combine IPL with other treatments to provide total skin rejuvenation. Options include fractionated lasers such as HALO® to improve fine lines and texture, as well as radiofrequency treatments, such as Fractora® and Forma®, which improve skin tone and texture. IPL can also be paired with innovative biocellular treatments, which target specific aspects of the skin rejuvenation and repair process.

Whole Beauty Institute

If you would like to have a consultation regarding IPL in the Chicago area, or if you have questions for our team, please call 312-751-2112 or contact us online.

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Dr. John Q. Cook

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Our Office Locations

Our locations in the Gold Coast of Chicago and Winnetka in the North Shore reflect our commitment to convenient and discrete concierge-level service.

Whole Beauty® Institute |Map | 737 N.Michigan Ave

Chicago Office

737 North Michigan Ave., Suite 760 Chicago IL 60611 (312) 751-2112 Entrance at 151 E. Chicago Avenue

Whole Beauty® Institute |Map | 118 Green Bay Road

Winnetka Office

118 Green Bay Road Winnetka IL 60093  (847) 446-7562
Located directly across from Indian Hill Metra Station