Intense Pulsed Light or IPL treatments provide a nonablative skin rejuvenation. IPL restores a visibly fresh and youthful vigor to sun-damaged, dull looking skin at any age. IPL’s main advantage over traditional cosmetic procedures is its ability to deliver smoother, younger-looking skin immediately and much more comfortably, with little down time. Remarkable Benefits of IPL Photofacial:
- Tightens the skin
- Shrinks pores
- Reverses sun damage and may decrease the risk of skin cancer in the future
- Disappearance of red lines and spots
- Marked decrease in fine lines/wrinkles, especially around the eyes and lips
- Fading of brown spots/and or freckles
- Refinement/smoothing of skin texture
- Decrease in overall skin redness from sun damage or rosacea
- Improvement of shallow acne scars and accompanying discoloration
- Permanent reduction of dark facial hair
While laser resurfacing is among the most popular and effective skin rejuvenation procedure, it is often not the most practical. There is downtime and post procedure care that is very important to obtain great results. We offer the Mixto fractional laser at our office but find that many patients are not able to have 5-7 days of downtime for healing. IPL treatments are also effective for sensitive, non-facial skin, such as the neck, chest or hands/arms, where laser resurfacing poses much greater risks of scarring. IPL treatments are performed with many wavelengths at the same time, allowing the light to gently penetrate all levels the skin where abnormal, easily dilated vessels are found. As a result, IPL serves as a less traumatic, gentle alternative to fractional laser resurfacing, at a lower cost and no major down time. Multiple passes can be made using a long wavelength resulting in differences in Class I and Class II wrinkles.
Before the treatment begins, you apply a topical anesthetic cream to your clean skin. This minimizes the feeling of a warm snap created by the pulse light. Just prior to treatment, specific parameters of light, based on the characteristics of your skin type are entered into the computer. Then the skin care specialist uses a hand-piece to distribute repetitive light pulses of various wavelengths over the entire face, neck and chest. The intense light penetrates into surface layers of the skin to visibly improve the skin’s appearance, stimulating skin improvements that single-wave lasers and chemical peels cannot. Unwanted, damaged capillaries and brown pigmentation in the skin are vaporized, with the brown pigmentation eventually reaching the skin’s surface and crumbling off. The skin tightens with the pores appearing smaller. The light stimulation improves the skin while avoiding trauma to the skin’s surface or underlying layers. All of this occurs without any down time. Benefits are cumulative and improve with successive treatments.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
For optimal results, a series of five full-face pulsed light treatments are given at three week intervals. Recommendations are based on the individual’s desire for a certain level of skin rejuvenation and the condition of the skin at the time of the consultation. The treatments last 30 to 60 minutes. More than five treatments may be recommended for severely sun-damaged skin or severe facial flushing. Microdermabrasion is recommended between IPL treatments. This procedure removes layers of dead skin cells, so that the light is much more effective at reaching target areas. Also, dead cell layers hold excess pigment and cell debris that rises to the surface after pulsed light therapy. Your skin will look clearer and cleaner as the IPL treatments progress.
Removing the Red
As many as 70 million Americans have an undesirable amount of facial redness, flushing and sun damage. Roughly 13 to 14 million of those people struggle with Rosacea, a very common skin problem that causes redness and flushing, often accompanied by pain on the nose, cheeks, forehead chin and neck. Rosacea causes dilated capillaries and acne-like breakouts, particularly among fair skinned men and omen over 30. Common triggers of Rosacea include excessive sun exposure, stress, heat, humidity, wind, stress, alcohol consumption, medications, heredity and skin aging. Until recently, the only treatment available has been lifestyle changes, with oral or topical medications But there has not been a truly effective treatment to significantly reduce or eliminate the redness and flushing. So, IPL benefits are particularly rewarding for individuals with Rosacea. Clinical data has demonstrated that individuals receive a remarkable improvement in decreased facial flushing, redness and dilated capillaries after a series of five to seven IPL treatments.
Who Should Have IPL Treatments?
Prevention is the best cure, but skin restoration is exciting and possible for most skin types. Anyone of any age seeking younger looking skin can benefit from IPL. It is convenient for active individuals who cannot commit to or do not require more aggressive treatments with extended recovery periods. They are especially beneficial for younger patients looking for a proactive way to treat initial fine lines and the early signs of aging. There is a health benefit to IPL treatments. By removing cells that have been damaged by the sun, the risk of subsequent skin cancer is reduced. Maintenance treatments after the initial treatment package can be used for this reason. Avoidance of the sun and using sunscreen is very important in addition to IPL treatments. IPL treatments are contraindicated in individuals who have a history of abnormal response to sunlight or who are currently taking medications that increase sun sensitivity, individuals with darker skin tone or people who have recently tanned. These individuals are not candidates for IPL treatments because of the risk of hypo- or hyperpigmentation of the skin. IPL is not appropriate for those who have taken Accutane in the last 6 months.