Photofacial is a non-abrasive and non-invasive rejuvenation of your skin using the remarkable technology of Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL. Damage caused by sun exposure, disease and other conditions can lead the appearance of redness, inflammation, pigmentation or other symptoms within certain areas of the skin. Although not usually of medical concern, these symptoms can affect a person’s self-confidence because of their cosmetic effects. Photofacials can improve the signs of sun damage, rosacea and brown spots on the face, hands and body. It has also been used to reduce the appearance of mild acne scars, dark circles around the eyes and fine lines around the eyes and mouth.
Photofacials use concentrated pulses of light, or IPL, to improve the texture, tone and appearance of the skin in patients with sun damage, sunspots, rosacea, spider veins and other embarrassing or unsightly conditions. The pulses of light used during this treatment target pigmented areas of the skin and dissolve the affected cells to create a smoother and clearer complexion, treating several conditions simultaneously when needed. This treatment can be used effectively on the face, chest, neck, arms, back and legs, depending on the condition of each patient’s skin and their individual goals for treatment.
The Photofacial Procedure
During the photofacial procedure, pulses of light are emitted into the skin. The light is absorbed by the pigment in sunspots and the blood in the visible vessels, and converted to heat. The heat dissolves the cells that create the pigment and shrinks the vessels. The photofacial handpiece is gently pressed into the skin of the targeted area to deliver painless pulses of light.
The patient may experience a sensation similar to a rubber band being snapped on the skin, although most patients report this sensation as being tolerable. A topical anesthetic gel may be applied prior to treatment in order to minimize potential discomfort. After the treatment, the topical anesthetic is removed with a warm cloth, and moisturizer is applied with sunscreen. If there is any mild swelling, a cold pack may be applied for five or ten minutes. Commonly, the doctor will allow a patient to reapply foundation or concealer immediately after treatment.
Each treatment session takes about 20 to 45 minutes to perform, depending on the size and location of the targeted area. Usually four to six treatment sessions are recommended to produce optimal results.
What is the Recovery Process after a Photofacial? What are the Results of Photofacials?
After the photofacial treatment, patients can return to work and other regular activities the same day with little to no side effects. The skin may appear slightly flushed and capillaries may appear more visible, but these changes are often unnoticeable to others. It is important for patients to protect their skin from sun exposure for the first few months after treatment to promote proper healing and long-term results.
Most patients will experience a disappearance or significant reduction in skin irregularities after a series of treatment sessions spaced several weeks apart, although results depend on the type and severity of the condition being treated. Sun spots and other forms of sun damage tend to darken after treatment and then shed from the skin after one to two weeks. Patients with rosacea often notice a decrease in redness and a return to a more normal skin tone within a week after treatment. Those with spider veins may experience a full or partial fading of affected vessels after 10 to 14 days.
The doctor will develop a customized treatment plan in order to achieve the desired results for each patient’s individual condition.
What are the Risks of Photofacials?
Photofacials are considered safe and effective for most patients, with only a minor risk of bruising and redness, which usually fade on their own. When performed by an experienced physician, most patients can achieve their desired results with no complications.
Most patients seeking skin rejuvenation to restore a smoother, more youthful appearance, or to correct certain skin issues will be ideal candidates for photofacials. One possible contraindication for photofacial treatment is taking medication that increases photosensitivity. If the patient is using a topical or oral medicine that makes them more sensitive to light, this may not be the right form of treatment. Be sure to discuss the patient’s medical history and any medications during a consultation with the physician.
The doctor will discuss the details of treatment and address any concerns before scheduling this procedure.