Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Q: What is IPL?
A. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Photo Facial is a technology where light is converted into heat energy.Treatments are like a very powerful camera flash lamp being held against your skin.The selected light waves target chromophores (colour pigments) such as melanin in brown spots, hair follicals, haemoglobin 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.
Q: What areas can be treated?
A. IPL may be used on the face, neck, décolleté, chest and hands. It is effective in the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, rosacea and reddish discoloration, brown pigmentation disorders, and dull complexions.
Q: How does IPL work?
A. IPL Photofacial is applied via a series of gentle light pulses over the treatment area. As the light penetrates the skin it is absorbed by small surface blood vessels or pigmentation. The heat generated by the absorbed energy causes damage to the vessels or pigmented areas stimulating the body’s own natural healing process. Pigmented lesions will typically darken and harden before they flake off or are absorbed by the body.
Q: What is the difference between Laser and IPL?
A. Treatments with laser and intense pulse light both work in the same way, choosing wavelengths that are absorbed by the target. A laser uses light with one specific wavelength and intense pulsed light uses a band of wavelengths.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. Lasers produce light from one specific wavelength, or colour, for a very specific target. The light emitted from the IPL is composed of a spectrum of colours from different wavelengths, enabling selective photo-absorption (light absorption) to different targets. In other words, using the IPL is like using a group of lasers in a single treatment.
Q: Does IPL hurt?
A. Most clients describe the sensation of the IPL as a slight rubber band snap with a warming sensation as the pulses of therapeutic light are passed over your skin. Topical anesthetics are not required but are an option and sometimes ice are a a slight n option. The sensation is very mild and easily tolerated.
Q: What can I expect after a Photo Facial?
A. Immediately after a treatment you can expect to feel a mild sunburn sensation. For the first 24 hours however if any capillaries or spider veins were treated this redness can last a little longer. Hyperpigmented spot (brown spots) will darken over the next few days and then lighten. Depending on the amount of photo aging it is commonly recommended to have a series of IPL to get the best results.
Q: How do I know if I’m a good candidate for IPL Photo Facials?
A. A photo facial is based on light absorption by melanin and hemoglobin, treatments are most effective in clients with light skin who are not sun tanned. The lighter the skin, the more pronounced the contrast between the age spots or blood vessels and the skin, making the treatment most effective.
Q: Do I need to prepare for an IPL Photo Facial?
A: Generally speaking you don’t need any special preparations to be treated. However, you need to avoid the sun, tanning beds, spray tan products or bronzers. We will recommend that you wear an SPF 30 or higher before and after your treatments.
Q:Do I have to miss work or scheduled social functions?
A: No. This procedure is a “no downtime” procedure meaning that you may return to all scheduled activities immediately.
Q:What will my skin look like after the procedure has been done?
A:Your skin may look slightly flushed temporarily. This mild “glow” will not be noticed by other individuals. If you wish, you may apply powder or make-up right away.
Q:How long do the results last?
A:The results achieved from the treatment series can be expected to last for possibly several years or longer. However, with the passage of time and with environmental exposure, skin ages as we do. IPL Photorejuvenation will provide beneifts and significantly reverse many of the visible signs of sun-damaged skin.
Q:Are maintenance treatments necessary?
A:Maintenance treatments are recommended in order to maintain the positive benefits that have been achieved after completing the first series of five treatments.
Q:When should maintenance treatments be done?
A:The ideal time to schedule a single maintenance treatment is about four months after your last treatment. However treatment maintenance schedules can be individualized depending on specific needs and assessment by the doctor.
Q:Can I have a treatment while my skin is tanned?
A: No. We prefer to treat skin that is not tanned, although a slight “chronic” tan may be acceptable. The doctor will assess your skin at the time of your consultation.
Q: Do I require a consultation before a treatment?
A: Yes. A brief 10 minute consultation is required prior to your first IPL treatment. IPL is a non-invasive medical procedure. Your skin must be assessed by the doctor prior to your first treatment. During your consultation any specific concerns or questions will be addressed.
Q:What should I expect after my Intense Pulsed Light treatment?
A: Since there is no real downtime you may resume your normal activities after a Pulsed Light treatment. However you must protect your treatment area from UV light, be it natural sunlight or tanning beds. You may be slightly pink or red directly after your treatment as well as have mild swelling. This should subside in a few days and if not you should inform your doctor/technician.
Q:What are the risks of Intense Pulsed Light?
A: Although rare, blistering or slight bleeding is possible as is hypo- or hyper- pigmentation (lightened or darkened areas of skin). If pigmentation problems occur, it may be anywhere from 3 to 12 months before normal skin tome returns. This is especially so with hypo-pigmentation (lack of color). Be aware that some patients may experience permanent skin pigmentation changes. Scarring is possible although it too is a rare occurrence.
Q: Are the results permanent?
A: Depending upon your habits (sun exposure, skin care, use of sublock, medication use, etc), hyperpigmentations may be fully eradicated. Collagen replacement due to the thermal wound response is subject to natural aging as the rest of your collagen. The longevity is complaint-specific and only a qualified physician can determine this.
Q: What should I expect right after the treatment?
A: 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 IPL operator for further advice. After hair removal treatments is also common to see a slight swelling at the mouth of each hair follicle, similar to goose bumps. This appearance should disappear within the same frame time as with reddening.
Please note: In darker skinned people, these responses may be delayed for up to 24 hours.
Important Before Care.
Sun exposure and tanning:
You can NOT be treated if you have had ultra violet (UV) exposure from the sun or sun beds within the past 4 to 6 weeks.
PERMANENT HAIR REDUCTION:
How does it work?
Intense Pulsed Light targets the color pigment (melanin) in the hairs. Therefore white hairs can not be treated. Dark hairs on fair skin have the best and quickest results. Fair hairs will require extra treatments with lesser results. Caution is required when treating hairs on darker skins; this is explained below and would be discussed more fully during your consultation.
The hair growth cycle:
Hairs grow in constant cycles: Firstly hairs are actively growing, then they become dormant (resting), and finally they loosen and shed, only to be replaced by more new, actively growing hairs.
Only hair follicles in the active growth stage are disabled by IPL treatments.
Hairs in the dormant stage of the growth cycle normally remain anchored in the follicles for weeks or months, depending on their location, but their follicles and associated hair germination cells are not disabled by IPL treatments. These follicles will be treated in subsequent sessions. This is why you need repeated sessions. Hair growth becomes sparser with each session. All treated hairs should shed within about two weeks.
How often will I need treatments?
A course of 5 to 10 treatments is usually required to treat hairs at all stages of the hair growth cycle, at 3 to 6 week intervals; which varies depending on hair type and color, and the location being treated. Fair hairs will require extra treatments. White hairs can not be treated.
A maintenance session may be necessary from time to time, due to the development of new hair growth appearing, as our hormonal balance continues to change with age, or due to the influence of stress, illness, disease and drugs i.e; steroids or contraceptive pills.
Hair removal treatments:
If your appointment is for hair removal; in areas of course hair growth the treatment area is obvious, but sometimes it is not so obvious, so it is therefore appropriate to allow the hairs to grow just a little, so that the operator may clearly see the area needing treatment. This area will then need to be shaved before your IPL treatment begins, because it is imperative that the light is targeted down the hair shaft to the bulb. We don’t want to treat (and heat) hairs on the skin’s surface. Where the treatment area is obvious, you may shave the hair yourself before you arrive for your appointment.
SKIN REJUVENATION: How does it work?
– Skin Tone and Re-texture
– Vascular Lesions – Acne & Rosacea
Skin Rejuvenation is also known as photo-rejuvenation – the non-invasive, non surgical
The Intense Pulsed Light is absorbed by colour particles which are present in blood and in melanin.
The IPL also treats the propioni-bacterium in acne and protein present in cells which produce collagen.
Pigmentation marks slowly come to the skin’s surface and are shed naturally.
Vascular lesions dissipate into the lymphatic system for excretion, just as bruises do. Enlarged pores, minor pitting and scarring diminish and fade.
Fine lines and wrinkles are softened and may virtually disappear.
Collagen & elastin production increases.
Important After Care:
For 24 hours after each IPL treatment:
No sun exposure or UV exposure of sun beds Wear sun block with both UVA and UVB protection No depilatory, AHA, glycolic or salicylic creams
No very hot baths or showers – tepid water only No heat treatments e.g. sauna
No swimming in chlorinated pools or spa baths No deodorant – if underarms treated
No perfumes, highly perfumed soaps or lotions, etc.
Long term After Care:
Always wear a good sun block with both UVA and UVB protection Avoid excessive sun or UV exposure. Cover up and be sun-safe.
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 and rare cases of overexposure, blistering may occur, which heals in a few days. Cooling, healing gel or cool compresses 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.
If any signs of redness and swelling are still present after 48 hours of treatment, please contact Dr Wiggins at email@example.com for further advice. In the mean time, treat as sun burn.
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 client has not disclosed all contra-indications, medications. or the full extent of their sun or UV exposure during the month prior to treatment. Usually blanching or hyper-pigmented scars will heal and fade over weeks or months, but in extreme cases, especially on darker skins, they could be permanent.
Can Dark Skins Be Treated?
Light produced by laser and by IPL is absorbed by the color pigment, melanin, which is present in our hair and skin. Caution is required when treating people with dark skins, Asian skins and some other skins which tan very easily. Hyper-pigmentation or blanching of the skin is likely to occur if there is too much melanin present in the skin. It is possible to treat medium to medium/dark skins on a low intensity. The consultation process and a test patch, will determine whether each individual can be treated. Strict guidelines must be adhered to, when treating darker skinned people, using only low levels of intensity at each session, and therefore more treatments will be needed to achieve a result. Skins such as Negroid, Melanesian and some darker Indian skins are
not treatable – for both skin rejuvenation and for hair removal. Electrolysis is an option for these people, but it too, must be administered with caution, on a low intensity, due to the possibility of hyper-pigmentation or blanching.