Everything You Need to Know About IPL Photofacials
Is IPL safe for all skin types?
IPL is best for lighter skin types as the Intense Pulse Light is searching for melanin (sun damage, brown spots) in the skin to pull up to the surface and to eventually lift and flake off. If someone with a darker skin type ( more melanin), was to have an IPL treatment it could be dangerous as it would be hard for the laser to separate the darker pigmentation created by the sun and aging from the normal pigmentation of their skin. This could cause and adverse reaction. At Skin Bar , we only treat skin types 1 through 4 on the Fitzpatrick Scale of skin typing with IPL.
How does IPL work?
IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light. The light waves are selected for the clients’ specific condition or concern and target melanin in the skin such as sun damage and brown spots. The light pulls the pigmentation up through the layers of the skin until it reaches the surface layer (stratum corneum) and crusts/flakes off. The light waves can also target hemoglobin in broken blood vessels to help lessen the appearance of rosacea and broken capillaries.
How many sessions do you need?
IPL works best in a series of 4-6 sessions. Every client is different so someone with a lot of hyper-pigmentation/sun damage or someone with rosacea may need more than someone trying to get rid of a couple age spots.
Pre and Post Treatment Care
-No antibiotics for 14 days prior to treatment
-No AHA/BHA acids, chemical peels, retinol or harsh exfoliation 14 days prior to treatment
-No topical vitamin c 7 days prior to treatment.
-No sun exposure for 14 days prior to treatment
-No working out, excessive sweating or overheating the area treated for 72 hours post treatment.
-No sun exposure for 14 days post treatment. A Broad Spectrum SPF of 30 or more must be worn at all times during the day and reapplied every 90 minutes if client is outside for a pro-longed period of time. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses should be worn to help prevent harmful UV rays.
-No AHA/BHA acids, chemical peels, retinol or harsh exfoliation for 10 days post treatment.
-Keep the skin hydrated with a hydrating moisturizer (such as Epidermal Repair from SkinCeuticals or Ormedic Biopeptide Crème from Image Skincare) and only use a gentle cleansers (Gentle Cleanser from SkinCeuticals or Ormedic Cleanser from Image Skincare are good examples ).
Does IPL hurt?
IPL is bearable but can be a little uncomfortable for some people. It feels like a small rubber band snapping on the skin with strong flashes of light. The process of the laser on the skin lasts only about 15 minutes (depending on the area being covered), so it is over fairly quickly.
The Healing Process
It takes the skin anywhere from 7-14 days to heal. Immediately after IPL, the skin can look pink and sometimes splotchy. If the client has rosacea or broken capillaries, usually these areas have a red or deep purple appearance. The client can expect to feel a sunburned feeling on the area that was treated for the next 24-48 hours. Some pigmentation on the skin will look darker immediately after treatment and continue to darken over the next several days. Some pigmentation will even darken so much that it will look like little black coffee grounds on the skin. After about 5-6 days the pigmentation will start to flake off the skin. During this time, clients should not pick or scratch at the pigmentation and let it exfoliate off the skin naturally.
Is IPL Photofacial right for me?
Clients with sun damage and/or other hyper-pigmentation (acne scarring, some melasma), broken capillaries and/or rosacea, or uneven skin tone should consider IPL.