Photofacial otherwise known as “IPL” or Intense Pulsed Light… what is it and who is it good for?

Photofacial is NOT a laser—it is light

IPL is a very bright light that is quickly pulsed to your skin with the mission to attract dead keratinized skim cells, blood and melanin which are the doors that are a knocking of sun damage, age spots, diffuse redness from broken capillaries, rosacea, large pores, aging tissue, and wrinkles that lead to you fine lines.

There are numerous studies showing that photofacial treatments—followed by the right protocol—produces unbelievable results. In fact, the patients actually look more youthful in appearance than the original photo taken up to ten years prior. Treatment suggestions are to start three to five treatments performed about 3-4 weeks apart then treatments can be done approximately two times per year as maintenance.

How does it work?

The action that over time happens is the light stimulates collagen that otherwise would be going dormant. It awakens and reinvigorates the cells that cause your skin to have such luster and elasticity to WAKE UP and be restored. Brown spots from sun damage and redness at this point have dissipated. Your exposure to the environmental elements and how you choose to protect your skin play a key role in how well you respond and sustain the effects that this procedure can have on your cells. Sunscreen and Vitamin C are imperative; you must use daily and possibly reapply two to three times depending on your situation.

Who is not a good candidate for this procedure?

This question is so important to understand. IPL IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.  Due to the light intensity it is very important that your practitioner is trained or you could get burned. Not all IPL/Photofacial machines are the same they all behave differently. Things you have to take into account are how new is the machine? It works kind of like a tanning bed, are you familiar with the statement “be careful those are new bulbs you can get burned”? Lasers/light based therapy machines work the same way—after a lot of use the energy weakens possibly giving you a less effective treatment. It could also be the quality of the machine; has it been serviced properly? Every machine behaves differently so it is very important that your technician is VERY familiar with the piece of equipment they will be using on you. I have heard many technicians say oh, I know how to do IPL. It is interesting to get into the physics behind this and find out how little is really known. IPL/photofacial is not just one type of light; it is made up a varied spectrum of lights. All of which target different things.

A little analogy, light bulbs… 10 watt, 20 watt, 30 watts; halogen—they all reflect and set tones for light differently. They literally can change the way things appear the way colors are interpreted.  The same rule goes for photofacial. 400-600 nanometers is where photofacail lies. So each graduating level with increase of energy between 400-600 nanometers target for different things. So you may have at one time been treated with a IPL/photofacial  at one time and the machines wavelength was in the 500 area you may have received amazing results. Now one year later you are at a different med spa requesting the same procedure, you leave and see nothing…IS it the machine? Was it old? Was the energy at the right setting? Maybe this machine starts at a 600 nanometer for it’s IPL, now you have changed what its target is so your results will vary. Although both machines have a capability of providing a IPL/photofacial treatment, the wavelengths do not target the same things.  It is important that you also understand what your goals are and if the machine that is being used is capable of targeting your needs.

These are the types of questions you should ask your technician. It’s one thing to understand what IPL or photofacial is, isn’t for more important that you always feel 100% confident with your provider.