By Michael Pavlos
IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light photo skin rejuvenation is a process that works by converting light from the IPL device to the heat treated area. The heat will then stimulate the formation of elastin and collagen that tightens and lightens the skin, after a series of treatments determined by your doctor, will improve the overall look, tone and texture of your skin.
IPL can safely and effectively treat dark colored skin caused by the sun, age spots, liver spot, freckles, birth marks or virtually any dark area of skin. It also a very effective treatment for the red spots associated with rosacea or the redness from the stretching of capillary vessels. Many patients with severe acne scarring find very good results from this procedure also.
IPL is also used in the treatment of hair removal; light from the IPL is absorbed by the melanin in the pigment of the hair, which is then absorbed by the pigment and converted to heat. The heat loosens up the hair and the cells that are responsible for the new growth, therefor stunting new hair growth; leaving you with a smooth hair free area. IPL can be used on armpit hair, beard, mustache area, arms and legs.
The treatment itself is very quick, usually lasting between 10-20 minutes a treatment. It is usually recommended that you start over on a low strength IPL for your first treatment to know what you can tolerate at a comfortable level. IPL is a desired sought out process ideal for patients with very busy lifestyles because of the way it works, by using light to target your pigment and the blood within your skin, depending on which procedure you are having done, it spares the structure of the skin. Therefore there is usually less down time.
How is the IPL Procedure Like?
When you go in to see your doctor, a nurse or technician is going to go over everything about the procedure with you to help make sure that you understand exactly what you are about to undergo. As with any medical procedure you will be asked to sign consent forms once all of this is done you will begin.
The first thing that will be done are pictures will be taken for you; these are for record only and have no use in the IPL. If you have any makeup on other than mascara, or lipstick, you will need to wash it off, and then your face will be cleansed. Your eyes will be covered with goggles during the treatment so they are not bothered by the IPL machine. A cool gel is then applied to your skin and a glass pyramid will be place over the gel. An intense flash of light is flashed through the prism to the area being treated. The first treatment will be mild as to not damage the skin and to see what your skin can tolerate in the future.
All you should feel during the IPL treatment is a sting or tingling maybe a slight burning of the lesions, but this will go away after the treatment is done. A Cryo-chiller is used to blow cool air on the skin to ease any discomfort you will feel. When the treatment is over, you will be instructed to wash the gel off with cool water and soap, and then a healing cream is applied to the skin, followed by a layer of sunscreen. You will be instructed on what to expect for the next couple of days, how to care for your skin and what to do if any problems occur.
Possible Complications of IPL
Risks of side effects from the IPL are minimal as this is a very safe procedure. As with all procedures done there is always the chance that something can go wrong, so keep in mind, that these are possible, but not probable side effect and complications to the IPL procedure.
You may see darker patches of skin that appear a couple weeks after treatment, they may last anywhere from two weeks to a year. People with darker skin types are at a greater risk for this condition and it is treatable with a cream that is used to reduce pigment.
Redness, swelling or mild bruising may occur and can last for up to four days after your IPL; if it goes beyond that you need to contact your doctor. This is more common in patients that are very fair or that have a considerable amount of pink or red tones to their skin.
You may develop white patches on the skin; this can last from 2 weeks to one year, but has the risk to being permanent. This also you are at a higher risk of developing with darker skin types. Blistering is rare, but it can occur, generally within the first two hours of the procedure, if you do get a blister, ice it down and by all means do not pick at it, it will scar.
The patient may be let down due to the fact that it just may not be possible to get the results they were hoping for, some skin issues although they respond well to the initial treatment, return within a few months.
There are no government regulations to guide who can own and operate an IPL machine, so before you have the procedure done, make sure that it is done at a
doctor’s office as opposed to a spa or somewhere along those lines. Having it done by a trained medical professional is the best way to avoid any complication following an IPL.
Who Should and Should Not Consider IPL
IPL, is considered to be a great choice for those with very busy lives, as it does not take a very long time, it is done in the doctor’s office, and can be done in about 10-20 minutes and there is no recovery time, so you are pretty much in and out. So if you have any skin darkening issues, unwanted hair, red splotches, scarring from acne or other concerns, then it may be time to find out if you are a candidate.
The best possible candidate for this procedure are people with very white, un-tanned skin, being as the less amount of sun your skin has been exposed to the more elastic it tends to be naturally. People with tanned or very naturally dark skin tones sometimes will experience changes in the skins pigmentation that will be uneven to the eye. African Americans and people of Italian, Greek , Spanish and Middle Eastern decent should talk to their doctor about the side effects of the procedure before doing hand.
If you have been on the medication such as Accutane you should not have an IPL procedure for at least six months after you stop taking this medication. If you are pregnant, you should wait until after the baby is born to have the IPL treatment.
If you have considered have an abrasive treatment such as a laser treatment, you should speak to your doctor first about having an IPL to see if it may be a better choice for you and your needs. Although the IPL may take more treatments, they are much less invasive and the risk of complications is much less with the IPL than that of a laser treatment.
The only true way to know what is right for you is for you sit down and have a consultation with your doctor, he will be able to advise you on what is best for you situation.
About the Author: Ask for a free
consultation at Advance Beauty Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Sydney, Australia. Dr Andrew Kim is a highly regarded cosmetic surgeon that performs other surgeries such as hair transplant, rhinoplasty, double eyelids and liposuction with great success!