IPL therapy has been around for more than 20 years and has proven its effectiveness in treating a wide range of cosmetic issues, from sun-damaged skin to acne to rosacea — and much more. But we continue to be surprised by how many people are unaware of this amazing technology and all of its uses.
We’ve talked about IPL therapy and its benefits in a previous blog, but here’s a quick review of what it is and it how it works
What Is IPL Photofacial Therapy?
IPL stands for “intense pulsed light.” When used in cosmetic therapy, the IPL device shines bright flashes of ultra-concentrated broad-spectrum light on the skin. Filters on the device block specific wavelengths of light for optimal therapeutic effect when treating various types of skin problems.
When you have IPL photofacial therapy, you’ll sit or lie comfortably in the treatment room, wearing dark glasses to protect your eyes. Each treatment session lasts for 30 minutes or less, after which you can go back to your normal daily activities. You’re likely to experience some short-term soreness and reddening in the treated area as your body begins its healing response. The skin improvements become gradually visible over the next few weeks.
How Does IPL Photofacial Therapy Work?
You’re probably familiar with the way materials of different colors either absorb or reflect the sun’s energy. When you wear black on a warm, sunny day, your clothes absorb light energy and give it off as heat. White clothing, on the other hand, reflects light energy and is cooler to wear in the sun. IPL photofacial therapy applies these properties of light and color in treating skin problems. Darker and redder spots on your skin will absorb more energy from the bursts of light in IPL treatment than the lighter tissue around them. Because of this, we can heat the darker tissue in the layer below the skin’s surface (the dermis), while leaving the epidermis unaffected. We can precisely control the effect by varying the intensity of the IPL emission and by focusing it on specific skin discolorations with filters.
In the days and weeks after IPL treatment, your body will gradually process the heated and damaged skin cells — the darker, redder, discolored dermal tissue below the skin’s surface — as waste and replace them with fresh, new dermal tissue. Thanks to this process, your skin will have a more even tone. You may need several IPL treatment sessions to achieve the best results.
IPL therapy improves skin tone and color in another way, too. While it does not damage lighter skin, these areas get “shocked” by the light exposure in a way that stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that helps the skin retain moisture and stay resilient. Our skin produces more collagen when we are younger and less as we grow older, which is one of the main reasons it stretches, sags, and wrinkles as we age. By stimulating the production of collagen, IPL photofacial therapy triggers a rejuvenating effect that smoothes and moisturizes roughened, dry areas of skin.
What Skin Problems Can IPL PhotoFacial Therapy Correct?
Healthy looking skin is what our patients say is their number one goal in any skin care treatment.
Below is a list of 10 skin issues IPL Photofacial therapy can address that will aid in helping you achieve your aesthetic goals.
Sun-damaged skin is an issue everywhere, but especially in the South. Here in the Jackson, Mississippi, area, we get an average of 215 days of sun a year. That can mean a lot of UV damage to your skin. Sun-damaged skin can be rough, dry, and have irregular coloring — spots and patches of darker and discolored skin. It can lose its resilience and develop wrinkles and lines. Sun damage also intensifies the melanin concentrations in freckles and age spots. With all these unhappy changes, sun-damaged skin can make you look older.
IPL photofacial treatment reduces uneven discoloration from sun damage by targeting dermal tissue with darker pigmentation. The intense light of the treatment heats this discolored tissue more than it heats the lighter-colored skin surrounding it, causing its destruction and gradual removal from the body.
IPL therapy also rejuvenates skin that has become coarsened from sun damage. The light treatment heals and restores the skin from the bottom up by increasing collagen production in the dermal layer, just below the skin’s surface. As the body naturally replaces rough, dry skin, smoother, moister, more resilient skin rises to the surface.
After several sessions of IPL therapy, you’ll be amazed by your younger, more evenly colored complexion.
We all have dark spots on our skin, but these can become larger, darker, and more noticeable as we age. Age spots, or liver spots, are flat areas of dark or discolored skin. We associate them with aging, although they can appear at any age. They are often a direct result of sun damage.
IPL therapy removes age spots by heating and destroying dermal tissue with excessive concentrations of melanin. Just as dark colors absorb more of the sun’s heat and light, the melanin in the tissue of age spots heats up more than the lighter-colored tissue around it when exposed to IPL therapy. With repeated treatments, age spots disappear, and your complexion becomes younger, clearer, and smoother-looking.
Freckles can be beautiful. But if you’d prefer that yours be a bit less noticeable, IPL therapy can lighten them. Freckles are small tan, brown, or red spots that have more melanin and are darker than the skin around them. Sun exposure can cause freckles to darken over time and can also create new ones.
Just as it does with other forms of skin discoloration, IPL therapy eliminates freckles by breaking up dermal cells that have excessive melanin. Over several treatment sessions, we can lighten your freckles to a more attractive tone or eliminate them if that’s what’s desired.
Broken Blood Vessels
Broken blood vessels, or spider veins, are networks of red lines that spread across the skin. They can appear on the face, as well as other parts of the body. On the face, they create a ruddy or blotchy look.
There are many causes of broken blood vessels, from hormone changes during pregnancy to injury or alcohol consumption (even in moderation). Your physician may be able to help you identify the cause of your broken blood vessels, and suggest a treatment option. IPL Photofacial therapy has been found very effective in treating broken blood vessels. The light pulses close off the flow of blood to the visible red lines and divert it to intact vessels and capillaries below the surface of the skin.
Rosacea is a common condition that causes the skin to redden on the face, most often on and around the nose and on the cheeks, chin, and forehead. If you have persistent areas of redness on your face, it could be rosacea. Over time, as the condition worsens, pimple-like bumps can form and blood vessels can become visible on the skin’s surface.
IPL Photofacial therapy has also proven to be an effective treatment for rosacea. It works by closing off surface blood vessels, breaking up discolored skin cells, and stimulating the development of healthy collagen-rich skin in replacement.
Some Types of Acne
There are many types of acne, but the most common form is the result of oil and dead skin clogging pores. That leads to the formation of blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, and in severe cases, cysts. Most cases of acne respond well to treatment with topical medications. In severe cases, however, a dermatologist may recommend antibiotics or other oral medication.
IPL therapy offers another potential option to clear up acne and minimize its visible effects on the face. As with other forms of skin discoloration, IPL treatment targets darker skin tissue for replacement by new, healthier skin. For acne, that includes inflamed tissue below the skin’s surface. IPL also penetrates deep into the clogged pores to trigger a response that kills the bacteria causing inflammation and infection. IPL offers a non-invasive treatment option for acne without the side effects of oral medication.
Rough Skin Texture
Rough skin can have a wide range of causes, from sun damage to inflammation. IPL therapy can help restore a smooth complexion by stimulating the production of collagen in the dermal layer. The treatment works on rough skin from the bottom up, rejuvenating the surface tissue from below. Over time, the body replaces old, coarse skin with new skin that has a healthier and more youthful texture.
Abnormal Skin Redness
We’ve mentioned how IPL therapy can treat broken blood vessels and rosacea, both of which can cause the skin to become red in patches. But other conditions can also cause abnormal skin redness. Some people have sensitive skin that flushes easily, for example, or that becomes overly red when exposed to wind or cold. Whether abnormal skin redness results from pigmentation problems or by excessive blood flow near the surface of the skin, IPL treatments can reverse the problem by closing blood vessels and capillaries near the surface of the skin and breaking up cells with excess pigmentation. It can also rejuvenate the skin and make it less reactive.
Why is Wintertime the Best Time for IPL Therapy?
Although IPL is a non-surgical procedure, the skin becomes highly sensitive after an IPL treatment session, and as such, patients must avoid the sun for a number of days post-treatment. This is why, particularly in a place like Jackson, Mississippi, which has such variance in day length between summer and winter months, that winter is a perfect time to get IPL therapy. During the winter, we spend more of our time indoors and protected from the sun. With less sun exposure, your skin has ample time to undergo the healing, regenerating and repairing processes of skin rejuvenation after IPL therapy.
Learn More About IPL Photofacial Therapy in the Jackson, Ridgeland, and Madison, MS area
Find out how IPL photofacial therapy can address your skin problems. Based in Ridgeland, MS, Faces is a pioneering cosmetic surgery and skin treatment practice dedicated to the care of the face and neck. Call us at (601) 607-3033 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.