The selected light waves target chromophores (color pigments) such as melanin in brown spots and freckles; and such as hemoglobin in broken or diffused blood vessels. The light waves can also target specific protein molecules in acne bacteria and in collagen. IPL treats all conditions without disruption to the skin’s surface.
Lasers have been used in surgery for years. The IPL is an adaptation of the laser, more suited to the beauty industry. The biggest difference between laser and IPL, as far as treatment is concerned, is the coverage. The laser beam is very narrow, only covering a small spot at a time, while IPL coverage is several times the area, and therefore treatments are much quicker.
Some treatments have little or no sensation at all, but for other treatments, patients may feel a slight sting, similar to the flick of a rubber band against your skin. It is certainly not unbearable, and we offer topical numbing cream for maximum comfort. Immediately after some treatments you may feel a mild heat for a few minutes, or a couple of hours, but after most treatments you will feel next to nothing at all.
In most cases there is no visible reaction and you would be expected to be able to return to work and resume your normal activities immediately after your appointment. However, IPL causes heat in the target tissues; therefore it is quite acceptable for the area to be slightly reddened immediately after treatment, but this would normally dissipate within half an hour. It is possible for the skin to appear slightly red for a couple of hours and up to 24 hours. If a reaction is visible after 48 hours it is imperative to contact your technician for further advice. For those people concerned about wearing make-up immediately after treatment; we recommend a high quality mineral based powder and sunscreen of at least 25 SPF or higher. It is important to allow the skin to cool completely before applying makeup.
It is difficult to predict the number of sessions required, as it depends on the nature of the lesions to be treated and their size, plus the patient’s skin type, condition and color. Some conditions may require maintenance treatments from time to time. This will be discussed during your consultation, but we generally recommend a series of 3 treatments to begin with.
You can NOT be treated if you have had ultra violet (UV) exposure from the sun or sun beds within the past 2-3 weeks. Spray tans stain the outer skin cells, and this color will intensify the IPL heat at the surface of the skin, therefore we cannot treat with IPL for at least two weeks after a spray tan application. Bleaching products, AHA Creams, Glycolic or Salicylic Peels should not be used for at least one week before IPL treatments.
Redness and swelling of the skin are normal. They are harmless effects which usually disappear within half an hour, but can occasionally be visible for two to thirty hours. Tightening of the skin can sometimes be felt for one or two days. In extreme cases blistering may occur, which heals in a few days. Cooling, healing gel or ice-packs should be applied frequently to alleviate discomfort. Treat this situation as you would for sun burn. Scabbing is possible after blistering. It is extremely important NOT to pick scabs off the skin, as they are protecting the underlying skin while it heals itself. If you pick a scab off, the healing process will stop and you could be left with little pock marks. Blanching or hyper-pigmentation will only occur if strict guidelines regarding settings for the different skin types and colors have not been adhered to; OR if the patient has not disclosed all contra-indications or medications.
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