IPL treatment, also called photo rejuvenation, is a technology based on different wavelengths of light, and is used as anti-aging treatment to rejuvenate the skin. Intense pulsed light is different from a laser treatment in that a laser typically is focused on a single wavelength of light. IPL, however, releases many different wavelengths of light and produces a “flash” of light. Since IPL has more than one wavelength, it is able to treat a variety of different skin conditions. The light from the IPL is scattered and reaches down to the dermal layer of the skin. Depending on which wavelength of light is utilized, either pigment cells, hair follicles, or blood vessels, absorb the light energy, and are destroyed. IPL can undo the visible damage caused by the sun, pollution, environmental stresses, and photo aging.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy, which is often referred to as “Forever Young BBL”, and sometimes called a photo facial, offers Atlanta patients the chance to improve the tone and texture of their skin without significant recovery or downtime. The IPL is ideal for evening out skin tone, texture, sun damage, or healing visible redness from broken capillaries or rosacea. IPL is a safe and effective treatment which can help you look your best. IPL treatment is able to treat many different skin conditions including:
- Brown spots
- Sun damage
- Broken blood vessels
- Facial rosacea
- Skin laxity
- Hair removal
- Skin tone and texture
- Leg veins
- Sun spots
- Acne scars
A good candidate for Intense Pulsed Light is a patient who has sun damage, freckles, age spots, or broken blood vessels and wants skin rejuvenation. These issues may be on the face, chest, neck, or body. One of the benefits of intense pulsed light therapy is that there is no downtime required for this procedure. Also called a photo facial, this intense pulsed light treatment, improves fine lines and wrinkles, tightens the skin, and also removes unwanted hair. Many patients choose IPL over chemical peels since there is no downtime associated with this treatment. In addition, IPL can treat spider veins and leg veins and remove pigmented spots or vascular lesions on the face or body. In this way, Intense Pulsed Light treatment can treat the majority of skin problems from sun exposure. IPL can also be used effectively for patients with red marks from acne and acne scars.
In addition to treating pigmentation, damage on the skin, and removing hair, Intense Pulsed Light treatment can be used to tighten the skin and reduce wrinkles, generating younger looking, healthier skin. The procedure is non-invasive and painless and works by using the Sciton Broad Band Light (BBL) treatment SkinTyte laser. SkinTyte sends light energy to the dermis to deeply heat the collagen there while simultaneously cooling the epidermis for comfort and safety. The heat sent to the dermis triggers the body’s natural healing process and a new foundation of collagen in created, which makes the skin firmer and reverses the effects of aging on the skin. The procedure should be repeated every couple of months for best results and has great success in correcting damage on the skin and producing smoother, healthier skin. The process is also effective for younger patients who do not need to correct any damage but would like to delay the effects of aging and maintain healthy skin.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterized by facial redness and swollen blood vessels, most commonly found on the nose and cheeks, that can be accompanied by burning or itching feeling. The condition can also cause small bumps that look like acne and that may be filled with pus. While Rosacea can go into remission and symptoms may fade naturally, Rosacea symptoms can flare-up and be triggered by a variety of dietary, lifestyle, and/or environmental factors. Your provider will treat the symptoms of rosacea in several ways, and Intense Pulsed Light therapy is essential to the treatment process. IPL is very effective at targeting and removing the redness and broken blood vessels associated with rosacea.
Over time, exposure to the sun can cause visible damage to your skin in a process called “photoaging,” which occurs when ultraviolet radiation causes DNA changes in the skin. This leads to symptoms such as age spots, liver spots, rough and uneven textured skin, broken capillaries, and blotchy redness. Intense Pulsed Light, also often referred to as a “photofacial,” can reverse the visible effects of photoaging on your skin. A photofacial uses different wavelengths of light to target the second layer of your skin, known as the dermis. The melanin in your skin transforms the light energy into heat, which then destroys the pigmentation caused by photoaging, clearing your skin.
The IPL treatment is not painful. The IPL treatment feels a little bit like a rubber band snapping against your skin. The stinging is mild and no topical numbing cream is required for the procedure. You should avoid having a sunburn or being tanned before the procedure, as the IPL will interpret the tan as pigment that it needs to remove, and you could potentially have a burn. If you suffer from melasma, you should also avoid IPL treatment as the light energy can exacerbate melasma and make it more noticeable. It is best to avoid topical Retinoids or alpha-hydroxyacids before your IPL treatment as well. If you are having IPL for hair removal, it is not advised to wax or tweeze the hair for at least two weeks before the procedure so that the hair follicle itself can be treated.
Your provider will prep the treatment area by removing all makeup and sunscreen before your session. Protective goggles will be given to you to wear during the treatment to protect your eyes. A cool gel is applied to your skin and the light pulses from the IPL will be delivered to the dermal layer of your skin. The pulses will feel a little like a rubber band snapping against the skin. The treatment time will take between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on which area of the body is being treated and for which specific skin condition. The number of treatment sessions needed depends on both the skin condition being treated and the condition of the skin. For example, laser hair removal typically takes six sessions and extensive photo damage takes five to six sessions.
Intense Pulsed Light treatment is non-invasive and non-ablative – meaning the laser does not remove the top layer of skin — so you should be able to return to your regular activities directly following the procedure. You may experience some redness and mild swelling for 1-2 days after the treatment, and the area of your skin that received the IPL treatment might feel like you got sunburned for 4-8 hours afterwards. A cool washcloth can be used on sensitive areas to help ease the stinging sensation. After the first IPL treatment, some spots on the skin may darken. This is normal and will go away within 3-7 days of receiving the initial IPL treatment.
It is important to maintain strict sun avoidance for the week after your IPL treatment and use a broad spectrum sunscreen to the treated area. Although this treatment is non ablative with minimal to no downtime, it is important that proper skin care and sun avoidance be maintained after your skin treatment for the best cosmetic results. It’s best to use a combination of physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. Physical sunscreen remains on top of the skin and contains minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in order to reflect UV rays away. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, is absorbed into the skin and converts UV rays into heat.
Typically, the side effects to IPL treatment are incredibly mild, and may include redness or swelling. Occasionally, potential side effects of Intense Pulsed Light treatments may include:
- Worsening of facial melasma
Because of the minimally invasive nature of IPL, we recommend a series of treatments for the best results, usually between four and six sessions spaced approximately one month apart. The number of treatments will vary from patient to patient according to your specific appearance goals. You should see a change in your skin right after your first treatment session. At first, brown spots will actually become darker and you may see some redness. This can be covered by makeup, and should resolve quickly. Skin will look smoother and your skin tone will become more even, with the skin looking brighter and more radiant following each session.