Written by: Christine G. Adamo
About IPL or Photo Facial Therapy
Are you ready for your close up? If your skin shows signs of redness, browning or aging, you might be quick to say “No”. But, there is a solution. Today’s intense pulsed light photo skin rejuvenation techniques can get you “camera ready” quickly – with excellent results in as little time as it takes to snap a great picture.
Photo facial or IPL laser procedures are a popular, anti-aging
alternative to face lift
surgery and traditional laser skin treatment
. If you want healthier, more youthful and radiant skin, non-invasive IPL treatment may be just what you’re looking for.
What IPL Treatment Can Do for You
IPL treatment is a long-lasting procedure which improves your skin’s appearance and increases your self confidence by evening out skin tone and reversing the signs of aging. With sessions completed in 30 minutes or less, it’s often thought of as an ideal lunch break procedure – with little down time, minimal pain and few side effects.
IPL or intense pulsed light therapy treats skin imperfections along the face, neck and chest which include:
- Sun Damage
- Redness or Rosacea
- Age Spots or Brown Spots
- Under-Eye Bags & Premature Wrinkles
- Enlarged Pores, Acne Scarring or Other Scarring
It has also been used as an alternative to laser hair removal. If any of these conditions concern you, read on to learn more about how IPL treatment (or fotofacial techniques) can improve your skin’s appearance.
How IPL Therapy Works
Skin imperfections and signs of aging shouldn’t keep you from looking – or feeling – your absolute best. Your skin will look and feel better after your very first IPL treatment.
The goal of IPL therapy is to give your skin a more flawless, fresh and radiant appearance. It is best suited to anyone who’s not quite ready for a facelift but who would benefit from a non-surgical procedure that effectively treats hyperpigmentation and other imperfections while it rejuvenates the skin.
When applied appropriately, IPL lasers penetrate the dermal layers of your skin at the deepest levels to draw out unwanted pigment. Unlike traditional lasers which use one wavelength to treat the skin, IPL lasers use a full spectrum of fluorescent light waves to remove red spots and banish noticeable brown patches.
During treatment, a combination of light and heat energy is used to smooth your skin’s appearance. The photo (or light) portion of the process is what evens out skin tone. The addition of heat gives skin cells a boost of energy, jump starts collagen production and invigorates your skin's own regenerative capabilities.
In some cases, IPL lasers are used to target the roots of hair follicles to successfully and permanently remove unwanted hair. The intensity of the IPL laser which is applied across your skin’s surface is controlled through the use of various filters.
A Typical IPL Treatment Session
Prior to scheduling treatment, consult with an experienced and qualified professional who is able to answer each of your questions about IPL therapy. Find out whether this treatment is right for you and know what the pre-treatment, treatment and post-treatment expectations are to ensure the best results.
It’s possible that by now you’ve scheduled a consultation, met with a cosmetic surgery professional and are headed to your first IPL session – on your lunch break, no less!
On average, IPL treatment sessions last 30 minutes. If the treatment area is large, your session may take longer. If the treatment area is small (ex: spot treatment), you’ll be out the door in no time. The number of sessions you require may vary (5 or more is not uncommon) and should be discussed during your initial consultation.
A typical IPL treatment session generally includes the following:
- Examination – to clearly identify treatment areas
- Cleansing – to remove residual makeup and/or oils
- IPL Laser Application – one quick “click” per treatment area
- SPF Application – to help prevent additional damage to your skin
- Powder, as needed or desired – to minimize evidence of treatment
Your skin may look pink or tender following treatment. To minimize this effect, your doctor may apply a loose dusting of powder, especially if you’re headed back to work. Generally, no down time or recovery period is necessary. You can resume normal activities immediately.
Potential IPL Side Effects
The most “frightening” aspect of laser treatment is often rooted in our own imaginations. In reality, IPL laser treatment is as painless as being snapped lightly with a rubber band. It’s even gentle enough to sometimes be coupled with microdermabrasion treatment.
Yet, all cosmetic procedures pose potential risks or side effects. Two ways to increase the success of your IPL therapy while decreasing your risk for side effects include following pre- and post-procedure instructions carefully and seeking treatment from an experienced and qualified skin care professional.
Temporary side effects which are sometimes reported after IPL treatment include:
- Pink Skin
- Light Bruising
- Slight Swelling
- Redness at Treatment Areas
- Skin Itchiness, Peeling or Scabbing
In some cases, patients who have received IPL therapy report a burning sensation and/or skin burns, blisters or scarring. While those side effects are uncommon, you should contact your care provider’s office immediately if you experience them in response to IPL treatment.
Sure, we all want more flawless skin – but IPL therapy is not right for everyone. In an effort to make sure that your safety is always a top priority, we want you to know the conditions under which IPL laser treatment is not recommended. We urge you to take these precautions seriously.
If you are pregnant, taking medications which are known to increase your skin’s sensitivity to light (ex: Isotretinoin, Accutane and others) or suffer from skin infections or significant skin irritation, IPL therapy may not be suggested. These conditions increase your risk for side effects and have been found to interact poorly with IPL therapy.
Get Ready for Your Close Up…
Now that you understand intense pulsed light or IPL therapy, it’s time to get ready for your close up. Use our Surgeon Finder
to locate a doctor near you who perfroms photo facial IPL therapy. Then say “Goodbye” to redness, brown spots and early signs of aging and say “Hello” to a more flawless, radiant complexion – one that’s picture perfect!