photorejuvenation with Intense Pulsed light
What is Photorejuvenation?
Photorejuvenation is a light-based treatment used to improve the skin. It treats brown and red discoloration, blood vessels and overall tone and texture. Photorejuvenation can be performed using a variety of lasers or light sources. We use an Intense Pulsed Light (or IPL) unit made by Lumenis because we believe it offers the best range of strengths to optimize our treatments. The most commonly treated areas include: face, neck, chest, and hands. The most commonly treated conditions are sun damage, visible blood vessels and rosacea. A series of 3-5 treatments scheduled every 4-6 weeks apart is recommended for optimal results.
How does it work?
The technology behind photorejuvenation with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is based on the principle of selective photothermolysis (photo = light, thermal = heat, lysis = destruction, selective = targeted). Each pulse from the IPL machine delivers a high intensity flash of light that covers a spectrum of wavelengths ranging from visible to near infrared (spectral range 420nm to 1200nm). These intense pulses of light are absorbed very selectively by chromophores in the skin. Chromophores are pigmented substances that include melanin and hemoglobin. Structures that concentrate these substances will be targeted by the energy of each pulse. Thus, blood vessels and unwanted brown spots in the skin are heated and destroyed. This process is “non-ablative”, meaning the surface of the skin is left intact.
Does it Hurt?
The treatment consists of multiple pulses delivered by the IPL device. Each pulse feels like a brief stinging or snapping sensation that is mildly-moderately uncomfortable. We often recommend that patients come 30-45 minutes early to their procedure and sit with numbing medication on the area to be treated. We also recommend 600mg of Ibuprofen be taken 1 hour before the procedure.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
It is very important that you avoid sun exposure for 4 weeks prior to treatment and 4 weeks after treatment. Avoid self tanner for 2 weeks prior to treatment. Adopt a gentle skin care regimen 5-7 days prior to your procedure. Product to avoid include retinoids and many acne and anti aging products. Be sure to ask Dr. Lucas what products you should avoid. If taking a medication that is photosensitizing (i.e. Oracea, MCN, doxycycline, Monodox etc), stop the medication 3 days prior to the treatment to prevent adverse side effects. Such medications can be restarted immediately after the treatment. If you have a history of cold sores, please let us know before the day of the procedure so that a medication can be given to prevent one from being caused by the treatment. Taking up to 600mg of ibuprofen 1 hour prior to treatment can help make the process more comfortable. Topical anesthetic can be applied 30 minutes prior to the procedure.
What should I expect after the procedure?
Mild swelling and redness are typical immediately after the treatment. They usually resolve after 2-3 days. Pigmented lesions darken into a ‘coffee grounds’ appearance on the skin’s surface before sloughing away in about 1-2 weeks on the face and 2-3 weeks for non-facial areas. There is minimal ‘social downtime’ with IPL treatments. Most people feel comfortable returning to work and normal activities immediately after the treatment, but often avoid major social events. It is recommended that gentle skincare products are used for the first 5-7 days following the treatment. A sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and zinc oxide as an active ingredient should be used daily.
What type of results can I expect?
Patients enjoy a decrease in red and brown discoloration and an improvement in skin tone and texture. Pores are less visible and there is an overall smoother, brighter appearance to the skin. Results are best maintained with a good skincare regimen and sun protection. Each treatment will bring improvements but optimal results and better duration of response are seen when patients complete their series. Age spots and blood vessels are often adequately treated by 3 treatments but the redness of rosacea may require up to 5 treatments. We recommend a single maintenance procedure once a year for most patients.
How is the treatment performed?
During treatment, a cool gel is applied to the treated area, and then a pulse of light similar to a rubber band snap is emitted from the handpiece. Sessions last about 20 minutes.
What are the side effects?
Post-treatment pinkness and mild discomfort like a sunburn sensation can last a few hours. This is normal and expected. Treated areas are prone to hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) if not protected from the sun. Avoidance of the sun and wearing sunscreen daily are advised. Superficial burns on the skin are uncommon but possible. Because all individuals are different, we generally will begin your sessions at a more conservative level then progressively increase the treatment levels. This will minimize any unwanted side effects and any potential skin burns, yet develop an ideal treatment protocol for each individual
What is the cost per session?
Each session for the face is $350-$450 . Discounted packages are offered for patients who want to pay in advance and commit to their treatment series.