With so many non-surgical aesthetic options available today, many patients who visit plastic surgery practices opt not to go under the knife. Instead, they choose therapies that can improve their appearance without a single incision. IPL, or intense pulsed light, is one non-surgical option that patients love here at Perfection Plastic Surgery and Skin Care. Also known as a photofacial, IPL uses visible pulses of light to correct a wide range of skin imperfections, such as acne, photoaging, broken blood vessels, and fine lines and wrinkles.
Light-Based Skin Regeneration
IPL uses different frequencies of visible light to target components in the skin responsible for visible damage. Specifically, IPL targets melanin and hemoglobin, damaging these cells while leaving surrounding skin cells unharmed. As a result, dark spots, broken blood vessels, and blotchy skin will disappear. In addition, strategically damaged cells help to rev up the skin’s regenerative healing process. Therefore, you will see a continued improvement in the appearance and texture of your skin following your treatment.
Conditions Treated with IPL
Photorejuvenation, or IPL, is most effective for patients with lighter toned skin. However, it can yield results for a wider range of patients for certain skin concerns. For example, acne and acne scar treatment with intense pulsed light may be effective for all skin types. Other conditions that are well treated with IPL include:
- Sun Damage – Dark spots, premature wrinkles, and freckles can all be caused by prolonged sun exposure, which is a big risk here in Tucson. Because IPL can easily target melanin, the cells responsible for skin pigment, it can help to erase dark spots and damage while promoting collagen production to help improve the smoothness and elasticity of the skin.
- Rosacea – Patients with moderate to severe rosacea may finally find the relief they need from redness and discomfort with IPL. This treatment can be a gentler alternative to laser therapies, especially for patients under age 40.
- Broken Blood Vessels – If you have facial spider veins or broken blood vessels in the cheeks—two more common types of sun damage—IPL can target these damaged blood vessels and help you achieve clearer skin. Usually patients will need about 1-3 treatments for damaged blood vessels. In addition, blood vessels treated with IPL will not come back. However, new ones can show up later if you continue to skip proper sun protection outdoors.
- Unwanted Hair – Just like laser skin treatments, IPL can be used to target unwanted hair for permanent hair removal. However, it is best suited for individuals with darker hair and lighter skin.
- Scars – IPL can target scar tissue to remove unwanted scars, including acne scars left behind from your teenage years.
Effectiveness of IPL
The effectiveness of intense pulsed light therapy is dependent on the condition being treated. It is often most beneficial for patients with concerns related to discoloration, scarring, and various forms of sun damage. IPL is not right for patients who are sensitive to light, have recently tanned, may have skin cancer, use retinoid cream, or have very dark skin. In addition, you should not have IPL if you are pregnant.
Treatment Process and Potential Side Effects
As with laser skincare, the biggest potential issue with IPL is related to post-procedural sun exposure. Your skin will be particularly sensitive to sun damage after treatment, so you should avoid spending time outdoors for a few days after each treatment session. In addition, you may feel like you have a sunburn following IPL. You can ease your discomfort with a cool washcloth or ice packs applied directly to the skin. You may also need to avoid makeup if your skin hurts after treatment.
If you are considering IPL as part of your skin rejuvenation routine, call us today at (520) 323-7100 to schedule your treatment.