Photofacial is the shorthand word for Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) procedures. IPL procedures are a type of skin rejuvenation that focuses on minimizing the effects of sun damage, pigmentation issues, and other skin problems. In a photofacial treatment, intense light bursts are directed deep into the skin. The light pulses cause an immediate reaction in the blood vessels and the collagen that are directly under the top layer of skin. When the blood vessels constrict, problems such as sun damage, redness, and even minor lines will be greatly reduced or may even vanish.
Age spots, or brown spots of discoloration on the skin, are typically caused by overexposure to the sun or the use of tanning beds. The spots are a result of excess melanin and are commonly found on body parts often exposed to the sun including the face, backs of hands, shoulders, upper back, and forearms. These spots develop over time, so they are more common in people over the age of 40. Having fair skin makes the discoloration more noticeable.
For most patients, the photofacial can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Patients are asked to wear a pair of glasses that protect the eyes from the light pulses. Since the pulsed light can be warm, a cooling gel is usually placed on the skin to help keep the patient comfortable during the treatment. Patients generally recline or lie down for the duration of the procedure, during which the photofacial device is moved steadily over the treatment area until the whole area is covered.
No, a photofacial treatment does not require any downtime for recovery. Thanks to the high-tech Lumenis IPL device, treatment is extremely effective with virtually no side effects. The only side effect that some patients experience is minor skin redness, but this typically goes away within a couple of hours. While patients can return to their usual life right away after the photofacial, it is important to avoid excess sun exposure for at least a few days post-treatment and to use sunblock for at least two weeks after treatment when exposed to sunlight.
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