Photo-facials are proven, safe, and effective treatments to address sun damage, sun spots, and rosacea. They are an ideal choice for clients with light to medium skin types wanting clearer, younger-looking skin with no downtime. Photo-facials use IPL, which stands for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL uses light energy to target and remove most brown and red marks. IPL photofacial light is soaked up by the hemoglobin (red blood cells) and melanin (pigmentation) in the skin, intentionally damaging these areas. The damaged melanin or hemoglobin breaks up and is absorbed into the bloodstream, decreasing the appearance of pigmentation on the skin’s surface.
IPL is similar to a laser treatment. However, a laser focuses just one wavelength of light at your skin, while IPL releases light of many different wavelengths, like a photo flash. It is a safer alternative to laser, as IPL penetrates down to the second layer of your skin (dermis) without harming the top layer (epidermis), causing less damage to your skin.
IPL is safe for most people but is not suitable for everyone. The effectiveness of IPL depends on many things. It is safer on white or light brown skin than on darker or tanned skin types, for example. This is because the light energy is absorbed by pigment, known as melanin. If you have dark skin, the IPL will not have a clear target and cannot accurately detect the specific blemishes you want addressed, and will heat the melanin in the surrounding skin tissue, which can lead to burns.
Everyone responds differently to IPL, and most people will need multiple rounds of the treatment before they start to notice results.
Certain factors may make people unsuitable for IPL treatments. These include:
-Cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions in the treatment area
-Client under immunosuppression therapy
-Client with limited movement
-Lack of skin sensation
-Anticoagulants and blood thinner therapy
-Active severe acne
-Active Herpes simplex in the treatment area
-Spray and sunless tans
-Exposure to sun or artificial tanning during the last 4 weeks
-Clients with thrombus or aneurismal section in vein segment
-Clients with peripheral arterial disease
-Active skin diseases in the intended area (e.g. psoriasis, vitiligo)
-Collagen/ scarring/ connective tissue disorders (e.g. scleroderma)
-Untreated heart disease and high blood pressure
-Fragile or thin skin
-Taking of drugs which increases sensitivity to light (e.g. acne medications, antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, St. John’s wort, Gingko biloba)
What to Expect
A licensed, certified professional will use a handheld device to deliver the light therapy to the area desired. During the procedure, you may feel a pinching sensation. Some individuals have described this as a feeling similar to an elastic band being “snapped” on the skin. A cooling handpiece and gel can help overcome this discomfort somewhat. You will be wearing dark glasses to protect your eyes from the bright light.
- To prepare for the procedure, please avoid the following for 4 weeks prior:
sunbathing and tanning beds
chemical peels/ microdermabrasion
- Topical acids in skincare products (e.g. salicylic, glycolic, lactic) and collagen injections/ botox/ fillers should also be discontinued for 1-2 weeks prior to treatment.
- The American Society for Dermatological Surgery also advise people not to take any aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or herbal supplements immediately before the procedure. These medicines can contribute to the risk of pinpoint bleeding.
Most common side effects are similar to that of sunburn. As with any cosmetic procedure, IPL does carry the risk of complications. While rare, these include:
pain (similar to sunburn)
skin discoloration/ bruising
Chances of complications and their severity are minimized if before and after protocols are followed.
You should be able to go right back to your regular activities, excluding anything that heats up the skin, such as exercise, for at least 48 hours. The treated area of skin will be red and sensitive for a few hours, as if you got sunburned. This tends to last for between 4 and 8 hours. A moist cloth or cool pack can help ease the stinging. Swelling is also common, usually lasting for several days after the procedure.
Your skin will continue to be sensitive for a couple of days after the procedure. You may need to avoid using hot water on it until your skin heals. During the recovery period, avoid putting makeup on until all the swelling has gone. Be sure to use recommended post care products to help with healing and maximize results.
How Long Will Results Last?
For best results, 3-6 monthly photofacials are recommended. This will reveal more evenly toned skin, with hyperpigmentation effectively reduced. Results can last up to one year, if a broad spectrum sunscreen, of at least SPF 15, is used daily. However, with so many factors acting on the skin, like sun exposure, age, and genetics, it’s difficult to guarantee any specific amount of time. Maintenance treatments can be done at any time after the series to take care of any spots that appear, and to prolong the younger looking skin.
You can also help lengthen time between treatments by avoiding things that damage your skin. That means limiting direct exposure to the sun, wearing sunscreen daily, and taking optimal care of your skin with quality skin care products.
Photo Rejuvenation Facial – 45 minutes
$125 single treatment (includes home care products)
$300/ series of 3 ($75 savings) – scheduled monthly
Pigment/ Vascular Targeted Treatment
$20/ 1”x2” area