Intense-Pulsed-Light (IPL) skin rejuvenation uses high-energy pulses of light to improve the skin’s appearance. Also referred to as IPL photorejuvenation, photofacial therapy and pulsed-light therapy, IPL skin rejuvenation is a nonabrasive and noninvasive treatment option for removing red and brown pigment from the skin. IPL is used to treat age spots, birthmarks, freckles caused by the sun, symptoms of rosacea, spider veins, and scarring from acne; it is also an effective tool for hair removal. IPL penetrates below the surface of the skin, leaving the top layer of skin intact, which means that there is no post-treatment recovery period. The light is absorbed by the pigment in sunspots and the blood in the visible vessels, and converted to heat. The heat dissolves the cells that create the pigment and shrinks the vessels.
What conditions can be treated?
- Mild acne scars
- Vascular irregularities (broken blood vessels,rosacea,redness)
- Sun damaged skin (freckling, sun spots, uneven skin tone)
- Dull/sallow complexions
- Liver Spots
Pigmented Lesions (dark spots/sunspots)
These lesions are flat tan, brown or darker areas typically from sun exposure. As we age an increased number of spots appear most commonly on the hands, arms, face and chest. With IPL treatments brown spots and freckles temporarily become darker before they lighten. Particularly sensitive areas may crust and flake first, but as the skin is shed, discoloration and textural irregularities will resolve removing discoloration and textural irregularities, resulting in the appearance of healthier, firmer, more vibrant even toned skin. Years of sun bathing and exposure to the natural elements can be removed in little to no down time.
Vascular Lesions (red/purple spots)
Vascular lesions on the face and body develop from a number of causes. These dilated capillaries are often provoked by sun exposure, trauma to the skin, hormonal changes and heredity. The laser aims carefully with controlled pulses of narrow wavelength light at the damaged veins without affecting the surrounding skin tissue. The veins absorb the light and heat, then collapse and eventually close. They are gradually reabsorbed by the body, leading to their disappearance. A more aggressive approach may be taken when treating rosacea or larger vessels. A series of treatments are recommended to see visible results and will be discussed during the initial consultation.
Each treatment session takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes, depending on treated areas. A typical series may include three to six sessions, spaced two to four weeks apart. The number of IPL treatments you need will vary depending on the condition you’re treating, the desired overall results, and how your skin responds to each treatment
Pre Treatment Information
- Avoid sun exposure on the treatment area for at least 2 weeks prior to your treatment. This includes tanning beds. Treatments cannot be done on areas with a sun tan or sun burn.
- Discontinue use of any prescription strength or aggressive skin care products one week prior to treatment.
- IPL treatments cannot be performed on patients who have been using Actuane in the last 6 months.
Post Treatment Information
- Immediately post treatment the skin may feel warm and tingly similar to a sunburn for up to 24 hours. The skin may appear slightly pink, sometimes temporarily swollen or itchy.
- Makeup can be reapplied once the skin feels back to normal- usually within a few hours. We recommend no scented lotions or heavy foundations post treatment.
- Apply cold packs, ice or cool compresses to soothe the area. You may use aloe-vera gel or topical hydrocortisone if needed. If any swelling or puffiness occurs you may take an ibuprofen and continue icing.
- Avoid any aggressive skin care products over the next few days. A customized skin care regimen is often recommended post treatment to maintain optimal results.
- It is extremely important that you stay out of the sun and always use a full spectrum (protects from UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen of 30 or higher. Reapplication every few hours during summer months is recommended to fully protect the skin.
Risks of Intense-Pulsed-Light Skin Rejuvenation
One possible contraindication for IPL treatment is taking medication that increases photosensitivity. A patient using a topical or oral medicine that increases sensitivity to light may not be a candidate for IPL treatment. And, although IPL skin rejuvenation is considered safe, there are some risks associated with its use. Although rare, IPL skin rejuvenation can cause skin discoloration, blisters, scars and burns.