What is IPL and Can My Skin Benefit from It?
We all know aging is inevitable. But did you know that an estimated 90 percent of all skin aging is caused by sun damage? Skincancer.org says that those who use SPF 15 or higher every day show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not.
But there’s no need to worry if you’re already showing visible signs of sun damage, because intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL, just might be the answer to ridding of your dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, and unwanted fine lines and freckles.
And while there’s no better treatment than the daily application of SPF and limiting sun exposure, the addition of regular IPL treatments could solve your skincare woes.
What is an IPL treatment?
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, often referred to as a photofacial, is a non-invasive treatment used to brighten sun-damaged skin and improve its texture.
IPL works similarly to laser therapy. The difference is that laser treatments deliver a single wavelength of light energy while IPL delivers multiple wavelengths. This means IPL can treat a larger area in a shorter time.During an IPL treatment, a light-emitted device is calibrated to target specific skin concerns, such as brown spots or solar lentigo as well as redness from rosacea or broken capillaries. When the pulses of light emitted by the device are absorbed by the melanin and red blood cells in the skin, heat is generated. This heat emulates a superficial injury, but unlike a burn, it won’t cause damage. Instead, IPL activates the skin’s natural healing processes without actually harming dermal tissue, breaking down the dark pigment inside age spots, vessels, and freckles.
The treatment takes between 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the surface area being treated. Immediately after treatment, patients may notice a darkening of the areas treated by IPL. That’s because the laser has kickstarted the deconstruction of damaged skin cells. In a matter of days, the damaged cells will begin to die off and naturally leave your body.
The result? Smoother, rejuvenated skin and a brightened complexion.
What are the benefits of IPL treatment?
IPL is best known for its ability to reverse some of the visible signs of sun damage. Even better, it helps protect your skin after you’ve completed the treatment.
Most notably, IPL attacks brown pigment in the skin, helping to reduce sunspots and melasma on the face, neck, chest, back, and hands. IPL is also effective at reducing redness caused by broken capillaries, rosacea, and general facial flushing.
What are the side effects of IPL?
Most patients are able to return to normal daily activities almost immediately. But you may experience slight bruising, darkening, or redness around the treated areas. These symptoms typically subside within 24 hours of the treatment.
It’s important to note that people with naturally darker skin tones may experience discoloration and, in some cases, burns from IPL since the treatment heats up tissues and melanin in the skin.
How often should you get an IPL treatment/facial?
Treatment plans typically include 3-5 treatments, each one approximately 2-3 weeks apart. Our board-certified dermatologists recommend IPL treatments take place during the fall or winter for two reasons:
- You must stay out of the sun after each treatment, and avoiding the sun’s rays is likely easier during characteristically colder and gloomier seasons.
- Plus, it’s the perfect time of year to get rid of any damage caused during the sunny summer months.
How long do IPL benefits last?
Proper care of your skin is crucial to maintaining the benefits of your IPL treatment. Most patients report that after 3-5 treatments, the results last up to a year. Additional maintenance treatments can always be scheduled to increase the longevity of your results.
And while we always recommend daily SPF and avoiding tanning beds, it’s especially important to do so after each IPL treatment.
Not sure if IPL treatment is the right fit for you? Call us to schedule a consultation