Skin Rejuvenation™IPL (Intense Pulse Light) Treatments
What is photorejuvenation used for?
Photorejuvenation (IPL/Intense Pulsed Light) laser treatments are most commonly used for:
- Lightening and removing “sun spots”, “age spots”, and brown blotches on the face, neck, chest, hands and other areas of the body
- Lightening and reducing redness, rosacea, dilated blood vessels and “broken” blood vessels on the face, neck and chest
- Helping to control flushing
Along with treating the above conditions, it can improve skin texture by stimulating collagen which gives an overall glow with minimization of pores. At CreekSide Skin & Laser Center, photorejuvenation is used for IPL treatments which makes it possible for most skin types to be treated, although those with darker skin types are not appropriate candidates for this type of laser treatment.
Photorejuvenation, when done properly, almost always consists of a series of 3-5 treatments, usually one every three to five weeks. The benefits of photorejuvenation treatments are achieved with little discomfort and minimal risk. Sun exposure is an absolute contraindication for this type of laser treatment.
How does the laser treatment improve the appearance of blood vessels, rosacea, and age spots/freckles?
The laser/IPL device emits a range of lightwaves that are then tuned and targeted at hemoglobin (the red blood cells in the blood vessels) or melanin (the brown pigment in freckles and age spots). The light beam passes through the skin and is absorbed by either hemoglobin or melanin resulting in damage to the vessel wall or fragmenting of melanin pigment. These tiny vessels and the melanin pigment are then absorbed by the body, rendering them less visible. Rosacea and its visable symptoms can be controlled but not eliminated.
How long does it take for laser photorejuvenation treatments to work?
Most people need at least 4 to 5 months, consisting of a full series of treatments about 1 month apart. You can see some improvement with each treatment, but it’s common for your response to be slightly different to each treatment. The more sun damage or redness you have, the more likely you are to need a full five treatments. Some cases of severe redness or brown spots require more than 5 treatments. Expect to see gradual clearing over time.
Are the treatments painful?
There may be mild discomfort during the treatment, but most patients tolerate removal of dilated blood vessels or age spots/freckles and fine lines very easily. The first treatment is usually the most sensitive. As your skin begins to clear, the treatments usually become even more comfortable. Treatments usually take 30-90 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area and a Zimmer air cooler is used during the treatment for comfort.
What are the treatments like?
When you come to CreekSide Laser Center, we’ll seat you in one of our laser treatment rooms where special glasses, goggles or eye pads will be placed to protect your eyes from the light of the laser. A cool gel is then applied to the area of the skin being treated. The cooled surface of the handpiece is gently applied to your skin and pulses of light flash. You may feel a very slight sting, like the snapping of a small rubber band. At the end of the treatment, the nurse wipes off the gel, then has you wash your face with a mild cleanser to remove the gel further, then a sunscreen is applied. If there is any mild swelling, you might be given a cold pack to apply for five or 10 minutes. Makeup can be applied but the nurse will recommend allowing the skin to “breathe” for an hour or two post treatment. If you are returning to work, makeup application is NOT contraindicated.
What will I look like right after the treatment, and what is the healing time?
For veins, generally the skin looks slightly redder after the treatment for two to five days. Makeup can be used starting right after the treatment, as long as it is applied and removed very gently. Rarely, there is bruising, which can take one-two weeks to resolve. For freckles and age spots, the spots generally look darker for three-seven days. Peppering can occur, which may last up to 10 days. The lesions will then begin to clear and will generally be resolved at one month. Remember, it takes an average of three-five treatments to clear age spots.
How much do photorejuvenation treatments cost?
A single full face treatment costs $300 if purchased within a series or $350 if purchased individually, so a series of four treatments will be $1200. IPL to the face and neck costs $400 if purchased within a series of four (total $1,600), or $450 if purchased individually. Treating the hands is usually around $250 per treatment; a series of four is $1,000. IPL can be used on most parts of the body and depending on the area the price will vary according to the area.
Be suspicious of low cost “specials.” They are usually low cost for a reason. Many IPLs that are sold to salons and spas have less power than the IPLs sold to doctor’s offices. The treatment may appear to cost less but not be equivalent in the laser used or the expertise of the personnel using the laser.
IPLs can cause serious burns. Be very cautious of spas where there is no doctor onsite and where the lasers are operated by nurses with little to no expereince with esthetic procedures. Staff turnover is the most detrimental cause of adverse effects in laser treatment, so know your nurse, her background, and how long she has been doing these types of procedures. Don’t risk harm for a cost savings.
Who will do the treatments?
Our doctor, registered nurses,or certified physician assistant; all experienced in laser treatments.
What results can I expect from photorejuvenation treatments?
After your first treatment, you can expect to see some redness, darkening of brown spots, and light swelling. These symptoms will resolve in several hours to one week. Makeup can be immediately applied, if desired. After the treatment, your skin will feel smoother and have a more even tone. A gradual decrease in overall redness, flushing, age spots, and fine lines will be more visible after each treatment.
How long will the results last?
That depends on how much sun exposure your skin gets after your laser treatments. If you are in the sun a lot and do not use sunscreen, the underlying issues, whether they are redness or brown spots, will return. But if you take good care of your skin and keep it protected from the sun, your skin will continue to look good with annual maintenance treatments. If you want to stimulate collagen, we currently recommend a treatment every 6-12 months. Other conditions are more variable. If you are very red, once or twice a year may be needed.
Will the treatment make me more sensitive to the sun?
IPL treatments do not make you more sensitive to the sun and you may have the treatments done any time of the year; however, the summer months make the possiblility of picking up color. The benefits of IPL treatments won’t last very long if you are getting much sun exposure. It is recommended that you wear a sunscreen daily with a minimum SPF of 35 and reapply as necessary. In addition to sunscreen, other protective measures are recommended such as sunglasses, hats, umbrellas and avoiding prolonged sun exposure.
What should I do prior to my photorejuvenation treatment?
CreekSide Laser Center nursing staff will give you instructions prior to your first treatment, but here are some of the basics:
- For two-four weeks before your treatment, avoid self-tanners and excessive sun
- You may be asked to discontinue minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline or Retin-A/Renova several days prior to each treatment
- You may be asked to avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve one week prior to treatment unless medically indicated to help prevent bruising
- Protect your improved skin with sunscreen every morning. Hats and sunglasses are also good protection from the sun
Who should not get these treatments?
Those who are pregnant; those who have contraindications mentioned above and those with darker skin types should avoid IPL treatments. For those clients we have a full array of lasers that may be better suited for your situation.
Are there any side effects?
The main side effects are mild, temporary swelling, redness, an accentuation of the brown spots, crusting, and an occasional bruise or small superficial blister (like a sunburn blister). There are other rare side effects which the nursing staff at CreekSide Laser Center will review with you prior to your treatment and as part of the consent process.