While cosmetic physicians and professionals spend the warmer months preaching about the damaging effects of sun rays, we change our tune when speaking of wavelengths of light that help to rejuvenate your skin. That’s right…some light waves can be used to provide the skin a “second chance” for good health! These rejuvenating waves are isolated from broad spectrum light and applied to the skin through a process known as Intense Pulsed Light or IPL.
It is usually in the third decade when skin changes begin to appear on the face. Yes, that’s correct. Visible facial aging begins around age 30! These changes are often characterized by an increase in wrinkling, uneven skin pigmentation and a loss of facial volume. Just as the wrinkles and freckles are becoming more prominent, a loss of tone and elasticity is occurring as well. Why do these changes occur? We know with certainty that the skin ages due to a lifetime of accumulated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UVB rays, known as the burning rays, penetrate the outermost layers of the skin and are primarily responsible for sunburns. UVA rays, however, penetrate into the deeper layers of skin and are the major source of premature skin aging and skin cancer. UVA rays do not cause an initial redness to the skin; therefore, exposure to UVA rays often occurs when one least expects it. For instance, UVA rays can penetrate through glass and shade. So exposure occurs while driving, sitting indoors near a window, staying outside on a cloudy day, or even while enjoying some time under a shady tree . Sun exposure was shown to cause 80% of facial aging according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Small increments of UV exposure add up over time to significant facial aging and often more on the left side because of driving! Most importantly extensive sun damage is also the primary cause for skin cancer.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) to the rescue
The technology behind Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) provides doctors with an effective tool to reduce imperfections of the skin including those that appear as we age. IPL is a very popular cosmetic procedure because it is well tolerated, does not require downtime for healing, and it provides for noticeable results. While the benefits of IPL may be similar to various combinations of traditional rejuvenating procedures, the affordability of this technology is attractive to the busy person who does not have the luxury of time for multiple appointments or prolonged recovery. Many common skin blemishes are effectively treated with IPL.
¾ broken capillaries and redness of the skin like rosacea
¾ freckles, melasma and pigmentation changes
¾ sun damage, “age spots” and “liver spots.”
In addition to the reduction or removal of many of these skin issues, many patients provide anecdotal reports of reduction in pore size, rough skin, and fine wrinkles!
How it works
After a consultation, your provider should advise you on approximately how many treatments will be necessary to achieve your goal for skin appearance. It may take three to six treatments to clear age spots and vessels. The treatments are generally spaced around 4 weeks apart and a full treatment of the face rarely takes over twenty minutes to perform. IPL can be performed on the chest, back, neck, and arms, though the healing time in areas off of the face is a bit longer. You will remain comfortable over the healing period, however, and those areas can be covered by fall/winter clothing styles. Some patients do multiple IPL treatments in the cooler months when skin is less tan. This decreases the risk of excess energy absorption that can occur with tan or dark skins. So the diminished sun exposure of fall and winter provides an ideal time for skin rejuvenation treatments like IPL.
Before you receive an IPL treatment, a soothing gel is applied to your skin to cool the epidermis and provide even transmission of the filtered light. Next a cool glass light guide is placed over the treatment area and a pulse of filter light is triggered. The flash of filtered light through the prism is directed at the target and has been describe as “the snap of a hot rubber band.” Your initial treatment may not be as aggressive as following treatments so that improvements in skin condition can be achieved. This will then determine the skin’s tolerance for more intensive treatment.
Result = Repair of Damaged Skin There are prescription and non-prescription products available for the treatment of damaged skin. Whichever you choose will depend on how long you are willing to wait for results. A cosmetic medical practice can offer advanced technology which may provide rapid, more dramatic results. With advanced tools such as cosmetic laser, intense pulsed light (IPL), microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and active professional products, we can eliminate the cosmetic effects of age spots, broken blood vessels and discoloration, fill in skin defects and reduce wrinkles on the face and body. Combination treatments offer solutions that are synergistic for not only an immediate improvement, but also for prevention of skin concerns over time. For some, the removal of these age markers is a wonderful way to slow the clock, while for others it is simply an effect way to help their confidence and spirit to shine through. The best part is that with expert application you can get the results that you desire with little or no downtime.
Watch video of Dr. Hester’s medical staff performing IPL: http://video.about.com/spas/See-a-Photo-Facial.htm