What is Intense Pulse Light (IPL)?
Photorejuvenation (IPL) uses light energy to improve and eradicate brown spots caused by the sun and aging, broken blood vessels and blotchy redness. This “Photofacial” also improves texture by stimulating collagen production in the skin, which makes fine lines less noticeable. It works best in patients with lighter skin color. To achieve the best results, we recommend 4-5 treatments spaced about 3 weeks apart.
How is the procedure performed?
Light of multiple wavelengths pass through a rectangular crystal into the skin. The entire face is treated in one 10 minute session. The neck, chest, arms and back of the hands may also be treated very safely and effectively.
Is photorejuvenation painful?
There is a slight stinging sensation with each pulse of light. In order to make the procedure as comfortable as possible, werecommend an over the counter numbing cream called Topicaine which is available for purchase in our office.
Are there any risks or side effects of treatment?
Slight redness and temporary darkening of freckles and brown spots after each treatment are expected. Occasionally slight swelling occurs under the eyes. More serious side effects are rare, but most can be avoided by proper sun avoidance before and after the procedure. Possible adverse effects include discoloration (lightening or darkening), prolonged redness, bruising, significant swelling or extremely rarely blistering or scarring. During your IPL treatment, shields are worn to protect the eyes.
What do I need to do to maintain my results?
The best way to maintain results is to protect the skin from the sun. Rosacea patients may need to use topical or oral medicines to prevent blood vessels from returning. 1-2 IPL photo facials per year are helpful in some patients to keep brown spots, blood vessels and fine lines at bay. At home products such as Skin Medica Lytera 2.0 and Retinol Complex 0.25 together with a daily sunscreen may also help maintain the beneficial effects of the treatment.
- It is imperative to protect the treated skin from the sun for a full 4 weeks prior to photo rejuvenation as well as 4 weeks after photo rejuvenation. This is best accomplished by the use of SPF 30 sunscreen daily (preferably containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) and a hat worn during times of greater exposure to the sun’s rays. Any tan or “color” from the sun can cause side effects.
- Artificial tanners must be stopped 3 weeks before your treatment.
- We highly recommend an over the counter cream called Topicaine which may be purchased in our office. 30 minutes before your appointment, apply the cream generously to your face and rub in. Repeat the application again 10minutes before your treatment. This medication is extremely safe and effective when used as directed.
- Discontinue aspirin for 10 days prior to an IPL treatment. Discontinue ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Vitamin E capsules 5 days prior to the procedure. Using aspirin or ibuprofen during the week before treatment may lead to increased redness or bruising and failure for redness and capillaries to resolve with treatment.
- Do not use retinol, Retin A (tretinoin), or glycolic acid products 2 days before treatment.
- Sun protection including SPF 30+ sunscreen, and preferably a hat, are mandatory for at least 4 weeks after each treatment. Sun exposure within days or weeks of the procedure can cause significant long-lasting pigmentation in the areas treated with IPL. To maintain your results, sun protective measures should continue indefinitely as well as appropriate at home skincare.
- Make-up may be put on (gently) immediately after the procedure.
- Scrubs and facials should be avoided for 5 days, but can be used gingerly to help remove the dissolving brown spots that appear to be flaking off the skin after 5 days.
- Glycolic acid, retinol, Retin A (tretinoin) and Renova creams may be restarted after 2 days.
Take the First Step – Request A Consultation
Please fill out the form on this page to request a consultation and one of our knowledgeable medical staff members at Krauss Dermatology will reach out to you promptly. You can also call our Wellesley, MA office directly to schedule – (781) 416-3500.
Krauss Dermatology serves the greater Boston area.
*Individual Results May Vary*