The photofacial is the beauty craze that has some staying power, as the treatment rapidly gained popularity and is still utilized by many patients today because of the ease and efficacy of the treatment.
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, which is the type of technology a photofacial machine uses. These machines repeatedly deliver an intense blast of broad-spectrum light that targets pigmentation and gradually brings it to the surface.
In addition to helping remove hyperpigmentation, the light helps to stimulate collagen production, which helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles. It also kills P.Acne, bacteria that causes and worsens acne. For patients who struggle with redness and rosacea, routine photofacials can help to diminish the appearance of redness and reduce the look of broken capillaries.
Photofacials are extremely popular because they are very effective in treating a wide range of troublesome skin issues and can be used together with an at-home regimen to deliver long-term skin lightening and brightening.
For patients who have a particular trouble spot or problem they want to treat, it is a good idea to come in for a photofacial every 4 – 6 weeks. For patients who are in a maintenance phase, photofacials are recommended once or twice a year to keep sun damage at bay.
After a photofacial, you skin will feel slightly tight, somewhat like it was sunburned. You may have some dark spotting come to the surface immediately after the treatment, which will look like “peppering” or areas of darker skin pigmentation. In some cases, it takes several days for this dark spotting to appear. For patients with even deeper skin damage, a dark shadow will appear in some areas but will not make it all the way to the surface. This simply indicates that the photofacial worked; it brought discoloration closer to the surface. To get it to come up completely, another photofacial or two may be needed.
For patients who get the dark speckling on the surface of the skin, it will take 7-10 days for the darker pigmented skin to slough off. It is not wise to pick at this skin, as it can increase the time of healing and can even scar if it is pulled off too soon. The best way to deal with the dark spotting is to cover it and wait for it to disappear on its own.
Generally, the second photofacial is more effective than the first, as it does take one sitting for an esthetician to find the ideal machine setting for each patient. Patient settings vary by skin tone so a more intense second treatment can be done if the first treatment does not cause any adverse effects.
As for the treatment itself, photofacials feel similar to the snap of a rubber band and do not generally cause much pain. Some technicians use cooling gel or a cooling tip on the machine to minimize pain, and patients who feel they need to can take an over-the-counter pain killer before the appointment to further reduce the chance of pain.