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Who benefits from an IPL Photofacial?

Almost anyone with fair to brown skin with discolorations in the form of browns and/or reds.  “Browns” can be called freckles, age spots, liver spots, melasma, solar lentigines, hyperpigmentation, and other names. “Reds” include Rosacea, large vessels, fine vessels, flushing, and cherry angiomas. The IPL sees all discoloration as darker than the surrounding skin and be can be quite effective in lightening or removing them. Results can last months to years. It can be used to treat discoloration of the face, neck, chest, arms, shoulders, upper back, and hands.

Not all IPL devices are the same.  Our device is manufactured by Cynosure and is considered the gold standard in our industry.

The browns in our skin are typically caused by reactions of our melanocytes. Melanocytes give our skin color, but hyperactivity of these cells can cause too much color. This leads to darker spots that do not match surrounding skin. Complete destruction of melanocytes could cause white spots on the skin, which is a permanent loss of pigment. Therefore, the goal is never complete removal, but rather a correction back to the natural baseline skin color.  To maintain this correction long term, an ongoing commitment to a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen is imperative to prevent reactivation of the over-reacting melanocytes. A topical medical prescription called hydroquinone may be recommended in conjunction with IPL treatments.

The other color treated with IPL Photofacials is redness. This can be in the form of rosacea, broken capillaries, or blood vessels in the face and around the nose, cherry angiomas (little red dots on the skin), flushing, and more. Treating reds often leads to initial swelling for a few days, but once the swelling resolves, the redness is typically minimized or resolved.  Reds are more difficult to treat than browns, and therefore typically require a series of treatments.

How to prepare for the treatment

Never have this treatment done when you are tanned or are wearing self-tanning products.  The device is looking for browns, and the heat is delivered to the browns to lift them off the skin.  Having this treatment done when tanned or wearing self-tanning products can increase the risk of causing a blister or burn.  Our device features the newest technology called the Skintel Melanin Reader. We can measure the amount of color in the skin to help guide us to use the appropriate setting in varying skin types.  However, the best outcomes are achieved when we can use the optimal settings on untanned skin.

What to expect during treatment

IPL Photofacial treatments can be mildly uncomfortable and are often described as feeling like rubber band snaps on the skin. Therefore, our aesthetic practitioners often use a topical anesthetic to soothe any possible discomfort. Our office will provide patients with numbing cream to apply 30 minutes prior to the IPL appointment.

What to expect after treatment

Recovery will vary depending on your skin type. For example, some people respond to even a minor treatment with redness similar to a sunburn. This fades quickly and can easily be covered with makeup until it resolves. Some people have freckles throughout the skin and can expect them to darken and float to the surface of the skin. This will last anywhere from a few days on the face to a few weeks on the chest, but will eventually flake off leaving the skin looking clear and beautiful. Treatment of reds can lead to mild to significant swelling, depending on the type and severity of redness present. It is common for our patients to reach their desired outcome in just 1-2 treatments, unlike 4-6 commonly required by other devices.

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