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What are the Benefits of an IPL Photofacial?

Do you feel like your skin needs a fresh start? If exfoliation and topical creams aren’t giving you a blemish-free glow, it might be time to consider professional skin resurfacing. Skin resurfacing treatments, like the IPL photofacial, can help people of all ages achieve better skin tone and texture. 

How IPL Photofacials Work

IPL stands for “intense pulsed light.” During an IPL photofacial, a light-emitting device is precisely calibrated to target specific skin concerns or to deliver comprehensive full-face rejuvenation. When the pulses of light emitted by this device are absorbed by the melanin (pigment) and red blood cells in the skin, heat is generated. This heat emulates a superficial injury, but unlike a burn, it won’t cause any lasting damage. The IPL device is designed to activate the skin’s natural healing processes without actually harming delicate dermal tissue. IPL therapy will not cause scarring, infection, or other complications when administered by a qualified professional. 

As your skin attempts to repair itself, it will shed its dull, damaged outer layer and form supple, vibrant new skin. During this process, skin-firming proteins (like collagen and elastin) are produced in abundance, mitigating some of the effects of age-related collagen loss. The light emitted during IPL therapy also breaks down the dark pigment inside age spots and freckles, creating more even skin coloration. 

IPL treatments use poly-chromatic (broad spectrum) light to work their magic. This type of light is made up of many different wavelengths, unlike the light emitted by conventional medical lasers, which is usually limited to a narrow band of wavelengths. By adjusting the wavelengths of light emitted during IPL therapy, our doctors can calibrate the IPL photofacial to react with specific skin conditions. The adjustable nature of this procedure makes IPL treatment extremely versatile and easy to customize. This procedure can be used to treat a single issue or to address multiple problems simultaneously.

10 Benefits of the IPL Photofacial

With so many options for skin resurfacing currently available, it can be difficult to select the best treatment to meet your needs. If you’re wondering how photorejuvenation compares to similar treatments, like chemical peels, reviewing the unique benefits of the IPL photofacial is a great place to start. Alternately, you can arrange a consultation with our experts and discuss your choices in person. Ten of the top reasons our patients choose the IPL photofacial are outlined below:

 1. Having a photofacial is one of the best ways to treat sun-damaged skin.

When it comes to aging, the sun is your skin’s worst enemy: Most of the changes in skin condition we associate with getting older are a direct result of exposure to UV radiation. Sunlight breaks down the collagen in our skin, making it weaker and more susceptible to wrinkling and sagging. Sun damage also causes dark “age spots” to form on highly exposed areas (like the hands and face) and gives the skin a lined, leathery, weathered look. If you think you look older than your actual age, habits like intentional tanning or spending a great deal of time outdoors may be to blame.

The IPL photofacial combats the effects of UV damage in two ways: First, it penetrates and draws out discolored cells that have formed deep in the dermis. By dissolving these cells, intense pulsed light gets rid of dark age spots and excessive freckling to restore an even, dewy complexion. After this stage of deep exfoliation is complete, the skin begins to generate a significant amount of new collagen, which replaces collagen stores that have been destroyed by the sun. As a result of this healing process, the skin becomes stronger and more supple. Wrinkles and fine lines disappear, and many patients also see a reduction in facial sagging.

 2. Photofacials can treat stubborn acne.

Intense pulsed light can tackle the causes of acne and its lasting side effects, like scarring. The IPL photofacial shrinks large pores, thereby cutting off the route through which acne-causing bacteria penetrates the skin. This procedure also kills harmful bacteria and reduces redness and inflammation. Repeated IPL photofacials encourage the skin to shed and renew its outer layer, a process that gradually eliminates scar tissue. 

Before you have an IPL photofacial, you may need to stop using topical and systemic acne medications for up to six months. Generally, skin resurfacing is only recommended for patients who aren’t experiencing a substantial reduction in acne symptoms through the use of medication alone.

 3. Intense pulsed light is an excellent way to eliminate visible veins and capillaries. 

Because intense pulsed light is absorbed very efficiently by red blood cells, the IPL photofacial is one of the best treatments available for visible blood vessel abnormalities. Our patients use the IPL photofacial to dissolve broken capillaries and spider veins for a more even, youthful complexion. This procedure is also ideal for treating conditions that cause diffuse redness, like rosacea.

 4. Having regular photofacials can prevent premature skin aging. 

Intense pulsed light is unique in its ability to actually change the structure of skin cells, making them behave more like young cells. A 10-year study conducted by Stanford University in California demonstrated that having two to three photofacials per year for a decade can positively alter the genes of dermal cells. The genetic expression of aged skin cells treated regularly with intense pulsed light resembles that of young, healthy skin cells. As such, researchers think intense pulsed light can prevent (and not just treat) many of the superficial signs of aging.

To make the most of the IPL photofacial’s age-fighting properties, it’s essential that you avoid sun exposure, especially in the weeks following IPL treatment. (All skin resurfacing procedures make the skin temporarily more sensitive to UV radiation, so SPF 50 is a must.) You should also keep your weight stable, because weight gain and loss distorts the skin, and avoid unhealthy habits, like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Taking these steps will preserve the collagen and elastin in your skin.

 5. Photorejuvenation can be performed on multiple areas of the body.

Though the IPL photofacial is most frequently used for facial rejuvenation, it can also renew the neck, upper chest, shoulders, hands, arms, and legs. If you have signs of sun damage on multiple parts of your body, treating them all with intense pulsed light may give you a more uniformly youthful look. When you visit Faces for a consultation, our doctors will let you know whether or not this approach is right for you.

6. The IPL photofacial pairs well with other non-surgical treatments.

The gentle lifting and revitalizing action of the IPL photofacial can be complemented with other non-surgical procedures, especially injectables like BOTOX® and dermal fillers. BOTOX® can reduce wrinkles in areas photofacials can’t treat, like the region around the eyes. Dermal fillers enhance the lifting effect of IPL therapy by replacing facial volume that’s been lost with age. These compounds can also fill in any very deep creases that aren’t alleviated by skin resurfacing alone.

7. IPL treatment offers deep rejuvenation with very little downtime.

The IPL photofacial is powerful enough to access the deeper layers of the dermis but gentle enough that it won’t cause excessive swelling, redness, or lasting irritation. The pulses of light emitted during IPL therapy are less concentrated than a laser beam, so IPL treatment is much less risky than laser skin resurfacing. When administered by a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, photofacials do not cause blistering, skin peeling, or other unwanted side effects. The vast majority of patients don’t experience any discomfort during treatment, either. 

Most people who have a photofacial can apply makeup immediately after their appointment and return to work within 24 to 48 hours. If any side effects occur after this procedure, they’re usually limited to very mild redness and skin sensitivity. This lack of downtime makes photorejuvenation an appealing alternative to deep chemical peels, which can produce symptoms of redness and flaking for up to two weeks. 

8. Photorejuvenation is quick and convenient.

IPL treatments typically take under half an hour to complete, so you can easily schedule your procedure around other commitments. Three to six of these quick treatments spaced one month apart, create beautiful results for most people.

9. The IPL photofacial is very affordable.

Though the cost of the IPL photofacial varies depending on your location and how experienced your care provider is, this procedure is one of the most affordable methods of skin rejuvenation. The photofacial costs less than other laser treatments, while also being safer and more convenient. An IPL treatment can cost as little as $700, whereas laser skin resurfacing usually costs about $2000. 

 10. Intense pulsed light can remove unwanted hair.

People with lighter skin and dark hair can use intense pulsed light to painlessly eliminate unwanted face and body hair. Like laser hair removal, IPL can remove hair from large areas very quickly.

IPL hair removal works by targeting the melanin in hair follicles, causing hair shafts to heat up. This heat damages targeted hair follicles, preventing hair growth. 

Are There Any Downsides to Photorejuvenation?

Though the IPL photofacial’s ability to target melanin is useful for many applications, it presents a challenge for tanned patients and those with naturally dark skin. When applied to darker skin, light therapies can cause skin lightening or hyperpigmentation. Patients with tanned skin, dark skin, or melasma should consider having a chemical peel instead of photorejuvenation. If you’re concerned about the downtime associated with chemical peels, our doctors can use a mild peel formula to ensure rapid, painless healing.

People with certain skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, may not be good candidates for intense pulsed light therapy. Patients with these conditions should choose skin treatments that won’t cause any inflammation, like our comprehensive facial. IPL treatment is not recommended for use on pregnant women or people with chronic health conditions.

Finally, if you’re interested in hair removal, you should know that hair removed with IPL may grow back more quickly than hair removed with a targeted laser. However, IPL hair removal produces no pain or irritation during treatment, so it remains an appealing option for pain-sensitive patients. IPL treatments can also be safely repeated (as necessary) to keep unwanted hair growth at bay.

Talk to Us About Photorejuvenation

Having an IPL photofacial can give you your glow back – without significant discomfort, downtime, or expense. If you think you might be a good candidate for this procedure, our team of board-certified plastic surgeons can give you the guidance you need to make the right choice. Contact Faces PLLC in Ridgeland, MS to arrange your no-obligation skincare consultation today.