IPL / Photofacial
Conveniently located to serve Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond
Intense-Pulsed-Light (IPL) skin rejuvenation at Liebertz Plastic Surgery at Yarrow Bay 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, sunspots, 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 sunbathing 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
Am I a Good Candidate for an IPL Treatment?
The best candidates for photofacial treatments are individuals with acne, birthmarks, stretch marks, liver or age spots, or broken blood vessels. Optimal candidates have dark spots from hormonal changes, discolored skin, fine wrinkles, or freckles. Patients with redness from rosacea, scars, spider veins, or unwanted hairs are also good candidates.
Skin tone also plays a role in candidacy for the treatment. Lighter skin tones work best, since individuals with tanned or darker skin types are at risk of pigment changes after a photofacial.
Patients who have skin cancer, severe scarring, or keloid scars may not be ideal candidates. The treatment is not recommended for individuals who are sensitive to light or are using a retinoid cream. For pregnant women and people with skin conditions, it’s best to get professional advice from your doctor before undergoing an IPL treatment.
Your Photofacial Consultation
During a photofacial consultation, you and our skin experts will discuss your aesthetic goals. It is important to be transparent regarding your goals to ensure that IPL is the right treatment option for you.
Lifestyle factors such as sun overexposure can also impact the effectiveness of a photofacial treatment. Before undergoing treatment, ensure that you are prepared to change certain habits.
Provide your complete medical history, including all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking, to help determine the number of IPL sessions you will need.
- 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 suntan 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 Accutane in the last 6 months.
- 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.
The total cost of your photofacial will depend on the number of sessions you undergo. For best results, the initial treatment will require you to come in for at least three to six sessions.
Since IPL is purely cosmetic, your medical insurance will not cover the cost. Speak with our financing department to discuss pricing and your payment options.
Learn More Today
To find out more about what IPL in Bellevue can do for your skin issues, contact Liebertz Plastic Surgery at Yarrow Bay today. We will be happy to meet with you for an informative consultation.