Photorejuvenation [Photo meaning light; Rejuvenation meaning to make young again] is the process of improving the skin color and texture through the use of light energy. Rejuvenation of the skin has been accomplished for many decades through chemical peeling, laser resurfacing, and dermabrasion. Improvement in skin color and texture without damaging or removing the epidermis, is referred to as non-ablative rejuvenation. The IPL (intense pulsed light) is a novel light source used for non-ablative photorejuvenation of the face, neck, chest, forearms, and hands. The light produced by the IPL consists of visible and infrared wavelengths. It does not emit any ultraviolet rays or other harmful rays.
What does IPL improve?
IPL attempts to promote a more even complexion. In particular, it attempts to improve dark patches – known as hyperpigmentation – and dilated or ‘broken’ capillaries as well as persistent redness – known as erythema. Hyperpigmentation may appear as diffuse darkening of the skin or it may be more localized – in patches of various sizes. These patches may include what are commonly referred to as freckles, age spots, sun spots, and liver spots. Both hyperpigmentation and erythema develop as a consequence of sun exposure over a period of several years, and may also appear as a result of some inflammatory skin conditions, such as Rosacea.
Often times, improvement in skin texture may occur months after treatment due to IPL’s potential to stimulate the production of new collagen in the dermis. Such improvements may be seen in fine lines of the skin.
How is treatment performed?
Treatment involves focusing IPL into the skin. The beam of light is relatively large, although multiple pulses must be administered to cover the area that is being treated. There is a stinging sensation with each pulse of light but there is minimal, if any, discomfort once treatment is finished. Treatment takes about 20 minutes for the entire face. A topical numbing agent can be applied 30 minutes prior to treatment to reduce discomfort if you wish.
What can I expect after treatment?
Immediately after treatment your skin may be pink and slightly swollen for a few hours or longer. All usual skin care products can be continued, and you may resume all normal activities after treatment. After the IPL treatment, improvement in skin color – and sometimes texture – occurs in stages. Improvement in skin color can be observed within the following weeks, while changes in texture may not become apparent until months after a series of treatments.
How many treatments are necessary and how often are they performed?
Patients often see improvement after their first treatment, although a series of 3-5 treatments is recommended for the best results.
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