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Three major skin changes contribute to an aging appearance over time: fine lines and wrinkles, volume loss, and changes in skin tone. An IPL photofacial treatment is a safe and effective way to target the last of these concerns – skin tone.

What exactly is a photofacial, and is it right for you? Keep reading to find out more!

What is an IPL photofacial treatment?

A photofacial uses broadband light to break up signs of aging and sun damage – browns and reds in the skin that cause uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation. Broad band light is different from a true laser – a laser uses one very specific wavelength of light to target one very specific issue in the skin (either redness, brown pigment, or water when performing resurfacing). But broadband light uses filters that allow multiple wavelengths to pass into the skin, thus targeting several different concerns in one session. A photofacial can target pigment in the skin like sun spots, freckles, and melasma, as well as redness like background redness from rosacea, broken capillaries and angiomas. Photofacials improve skin tone and texture, and leave skin more clear and bright. 

The face is the most common area that we treat (hence the name photoFACIAL), but this treatment can also be performed on the chest, upper back, hands, arms – really anywhere that has accumulated sun damage! 

What are the benefits of an IPL photofacial treatment?

A photofacial is a great way to give your skin an overall refresh. Because it can target both redness and unwanted pigment in the skin, we can achieve a clearer skin tone in just one or two treatments. Over time, skin texture improves with a photofacial as well. It is an easy treatment, with minimal downtime – generally skin is mildly red after treatment, but you can return to your regular activities that same day. You may have some mild swelling, and bruising is a possibility if you have a lot of redness. You will notice a few days (usually <7) of “flecking” of the treated areas of skin – this looks like little dirt specks, or like a paintbrush was flicked at your skin. You should wear sunscreen and treat skin gently for a few days while you are healing, but generally using concealer or makeup is safe. Your dermatologist will review all aftercare with you during your visit. About a week after your treatment, you will notice brighter, fresher looking skin! Treatment can be repeated in 2-6 week intervals depending on what we are treating. 

Who should get an IPL Photofacial Treatment? 

A broadband light photofacial is an effective treatment for both men and women, and is safe in most skin types. More melanin-rich skin may require a test spot to ensure treatment will be safe and effective, prior to treating the entire face. Photofacials are best performed in fall and winter, when you are not getting excessive sun exposure on your skin. 

What can you expect from an IPL photofacial treatment session?

During your photofacial, we will apply a cool gel to the treatment area, and then a chilled handpiece to deliver the light energy. You will be wearing protective eye shields, but you will probably still notice a bright flash of light – don’t worry, your eyes are safe! On the skin, the treatment feels like a mild snapping sensation, but it is generally very well tolerated and does not require anesthesia. We will treat the entire area and then repeat a second pass with various adjustments to the filters to get the best results for your skin. Treatments take about 30 minutes. 

If you are bothered by uneven skin tone and signs of sun damage or aging, or if you are looking for an easy way to brighten up dull skin, a photofacial could be just the thing for you! 

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