Intense pulsed light (IPL) is discussed in relation to its application in acne vulgaris. The author acknowledges that it may not be the most effective, or the first line therapy for managing such a challenging and persistent skin condition, but presents an interesting argument. The mode of action with red and blue light therapy is initially outlined, in relation to the skin and pilosebaceous unit. The mechanism of IPL is conveyed with an interesting comparison to laser and associated potential side-effects and adverse events, reinforcing the importance of the skill and competence of the treating clinician. Through discussion of the narrow evidence base, the author acknowledges the limitations of IPL, owing mainly to small samples and narrow parameters that do not demonstrate long-term outcomes in treating acne. However, IPL used as part of a combination treatment pathway (e.g. a topical regimen) appears to demonstrate a more promising potential, but stronger evidence is required.