Intense Pulsed Light Therapy – what you should know

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy – what you should know

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy – what you should know

Should you be having IPL treatments?

Medical aesthetic therapist, Tracy Cheketri, explains why almost anyone and everyone can benefit from a series of IPL treatments:

 I love spring cleaning. I generally find any excuse to spring clean my home! I find it completely rejuvenating to get rid of the clutter that has accumulated kick off each new season with a clean home.

As much as I love getting into those hard-to-reach places at home, I also enjoy tackling those stubborn skincare problems that traditional beauty regimes just can’t solve.  I’m sure all of us look at our skin and can quickly spot all the problems we’ve either neglected for years or that we simply feel we can’t fix.  Well, the good news is, you can fix just about any skincare issue with IPL (Intense Pulse Light) therapy. Think of it as springcleaning your skin.

IPL treatments are safe and effective for the treatment of:

  • Aging
  • Environmental damage (Sun damage)
  • Unwanted hair.

What is IPL?

Intense Pulsed Light therapy, is a non-surgical Photofacial Skin Care Treatment. IPL is an effective, safe method for removing stubborn problems, such as:

  • Pigmentation and sun spots
  • Environmental damage
  • Excess or broken blood vessels that are visible on the skin
  • Acne
  • Uneven skin tone

How does it work?

This treatment uses short bursts of visible light emitted from a flash lamp. The light is then filtered by a dual mode filtering system that ensures that only the light of the correct wavelength reaches the skin. Any harmful wavelengths are eliminated, thus preventing burns from occurring during treatment.

Are the machines safe?

Most IPL devices in South African spas and salons are FDA approved and European certified, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. If you’re unsure about the device or system your beauty therapist is using, you’re entitled to ask questions!

Are IPL treatments painful?

Not at all. In fact, anaesthesia or numbing cream isn’t needed. When the IPL flash hits the skin, you might feel a small snap or sting, but this is tolerated by all my patients.

Plus, it’s worth it when you see how rejuvenated and refreshed your skin looks after the very first treatment.

Two top reasons for having IPL treatments:  

To treat sun damage

Dark spots, often called age spots or sun spots are caused by pigment that is produced by the skin to protect itself from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. New blood vessels then grow into the skin in response to skin injury, first to wash out damaged skin debris and later to bring in healing factors.

As our skin ages, the sun spots and broken blood vessels are left behind on the surface of the skin after the inflammation or skin injury has passed.   These pigmented and red vascular spots create an aged appearance to the skin which is called dyschromia.

IPL treatments have become the preferred non-surgical anti-aging skin care solution to treat the above mentioned conditions, and with good reason.
IPL is gentle on the skin, making this type of treatment safer, with less down time than any other form of treatment.

Other forms of treatments that are used to remove these types of imperfections are often very harsh on the skin.  They often cause the skin to heat up too much or peel too much, which in turn can lead to scarring.

To reduce pigmentation marks

IPL uses a bright flash of visible light to target various pigments on the surface of the skin in order to remove that specific imperfection. When this visible light is absorbed by the pigment or blood vessel, the heat from the IPL light destroys the pigment or blood vessel by heating it.  This process is called target specific photothermolysis. A specific target, that is a colour, is heated (thermo) with a light (photo) beam and dissolved or destroyed (lysis).

The pigmentation or sun spot will darken, and the treated blood vessel will also darken. However, the skin will be intact. The treated areas may also be slightly pink or brown for a few hours. The next day, your skin will look ‘dirty’ as the pigmentation darkens even more.

It might sound scary, but this is a good sign as it indicates that the pigmentation/ sun spot has been successfully burnt and will flake off within a few days.  Within a week or so, your skin will return to its normal colour with less pigmentation and sun damage.

Women in your 20s

Women in your 20s

Women in your 20s

Healthy Skin Starts Here

Board-certified dermatologist, Dr Nada Elbuluk, an assistant professor of dermatology in the Ronald O Perelman Department of Dermatology at the NYU school of Medicine, New York shares her top skincare tips for women in their 20s.


“It’s never too early to start taking care of your skin,” says Dr Nada Elbuluk. “Many of my patients in their 20s are asking me what they can do now to maintain healthy skin throughout their lives, and some women are starting to seek cosmetic treatments at an earlier age.”

Dr Elbuluk shares that women in this age group are looking for a simple skincare regimen that they can easily incorporate into their daily lives. “If a routine is too complicated or time-consuming, you may not stick with it,” she says.

She recommends that women in their 20s wash their face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and use a moisturiser with a minimum SPF 30 every morning. She also suggests using an anti-aging treatment, such as a topical retinoid or a product containing antioxidants, as long as it doesn’t cause any irritation.


Always protect against the sun

Dr Elbuluk advises women in their 20s to be vigilant about sun protection every day, all year-round, no matter the weather. “Sun damage is cumulative, so UV exposure in your 20s can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer in your 40s and 50s.” She adds: “Women in this age group may have seen this firsthand if their parents have developed skin cancer.”

Dr Elbuluk also warns women in this age group not to get complacent about sun protection just because they’re applying an SPF product in the morning. “If you’re using a moisturiser or foundation with SPF, make sure it’s at least SPF 30, and remember that SPF is not additive, so using two products that each have SPF 15 is not the same as using an SPF 30 product,” she says. “And don’t forget, applying sun protection in the morning won’t cover you for the whole day. During the work week, remember to reapply if you’re going outside for lunch and before you travel home; if you’re spending the day outside, you should reapply every two hours.”


Yes, that is a spot

“There’s no rule that says acne stops after your teens, so many women are still dealing with acne in their 20s,” warns Dr Elbuluk. “In addition to the type of acne you had when you were younger, you may also may experience hormonal acne on your chin and jawline.” She says women in their 20s may be embarrassed by their acne, thinking it’s something you should have outgrown, and the skin condition may affect your self-esteem.

Fortunately for patients, there are many treatment options for adult acne and a dermatologist can determine the best treatment plan for each patient based on the type and severity of their condition. Mild cases can typically be controlled with topical medications, while moderate cases may warrant a combination of topical and oral medications. For patients with severe acne that is resistant to other treatments, oral isotretinoin may be the best option, suggests Dr Elbuluk.


In addition to a prescription regimen, in-office procedures also may be helpful in treating adult acne, she adds. Chemical peels can supplement and accelerate the results of other treatments and laser procedures also may be an option for patients who don’t respond to traditional therapies.

Getting to the Root of the Matter

Getting to the Root of the Matter

Getting to the root of the matter

Healthy hair starts with the scalp.

Did you know that something as simple as how you wash your hair could be affecting the health of your scalp? The condition of your hair is impacted by the health of your scalp.

If you have a dry, irritated or unhealthy scalp, the hair produced is more likely to be drier, and less manageable as well.

Expert dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology share these great tips so you can have the hair (and scalp) you deserve:


  1. Take care how often you wash your hair. How often you should wash your hair should be based on how much oil your scalp produces. Normal hair can usually go two to three days before needing a wash. Anything more than that, and you may strip your scalp of the natural oils which are needed to condition hair follicles and strands. However, there are exceptions:
  • If your scalp is oily, you may need to wash your hair as often as once a day. Use a gentle shampoo geared towards daily use or for oily hair.
  • Chemically treated and coloured hair tends to be dryer, so you can wash less frequently.
  • As you get older, your scalp tends to produce less oil, so you may find that you will need to shampoo less often.
  1. Focus on your scalp. When washing your hair, concentrate on cleaning your scalp rather than focusing on washing the entire length of hair. Washing just your hair can result in flyaway, dull or coarse hair.
  2. Don’t forget to condition. This helps to increase shine, decreases static electricity, improves strength and the health of your hair. Plus, it can help replace the moisture lost during the cleansing process. If you have fine hair, rinse well to prevent your roots from drying limp.
  3. Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated for your hair type. And use a clarifying shampoo once a month to clear your hair of styling products that may cause product buildup, which can irritate your scalp. A clarifying shampoo will strip any residue left on the scalp. However, these shampoos may damage or strip your hair colour, so keep that in mind.
  4. Brush your hair before jumping into the bath or shower. Gently brushing your hair and scalp helps to remove dead skin cells that may be clogging your hair follicles, and inhibiting hair growth. Brushing also stimulates circulation, and brings any excess oil through your hair and down to your roots.
  5. Lastly, take note if you have an itchy, flaky scalp. This means that your scalp is crying out for help. Hormones, high levels of stress, a poor diet and not cleansing enough can all contribute to dandruff, or even a fungal infection of the scalp. Severe dandruff (which can result in you scratching and inflammation of the scalp), can damage your hair follicles, which in turn result in your hair shedding prematurely. If you notice any signs of dandruff, switched to an anti-dandruff shampoo. If this does not help, consult a dermatologist.

Smoking and Your Skin

Smoking and Your Skin

Smoking and your skin

Did you know your vice might be prematurely aging you?

The good news is that The World Bank’s report on global smoking habits reveals that there are currently fewer smokers in South Africa today than there were in 2000. Stats show that only an average of 19% of the population over the age of 15 are smokers. However, if you are one of that 19% – here are some facts you may not be aware of, but should…

According to the experts at, your skin is affected by tobacco smoke in at least two ways. Firstly, tobacco smoke has a drying effect on your skin (and that includes second-hand smoke); and secondly, smoke tends to restrict blood vessels, which in turn reduces the amount of blood flowing to your skin, depleting your skin of much-needed oxygen and essential nutrients.

Research has found that smoking may also reduce your body’s store of vitamin A, which provides protection against some skin-damaging agents produced by smoking. It has also believed that smokers tend to squint in response to the irritating nature of the smoke, while the puckering of the mouth from the action of smoking, thus causing wrinkles around both your eyes and lips.

Smoking often results in a greyish, dull, drawn appearance, all of which are signs of premature aging. This is believed to be due to an increased production of an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the skin. Collagen is the main structural protein of your skin that helps maintain the elasticity (and therefore, a more youthful appearance). However, the more you smoke, the greater loss of collagen, and the higher the risk of premature wrinkles.

Did you know?  Experts reveal that smokers in their 40s can have as many facial wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60s!

A study, conducted by South Korean scientists, who looked at smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers aged 20 to 69, found that current smokers had a higher degree of facial wrinkling than non-smokers and ex-smokers. The study also found that ex-smokers, who smoked heavily at a younger age then quit, had less facial wrinkling than current smokers. Further studies have found that a smoker’s skin can be prematurely aged by as much as 10 to 20 years.

While the damaging effects on your skin may be, further deterioration can be avoided by stopping smoking.

How to choose the right foundation

How to choose the right foundation

Finding your Foundation Match

How to choose the right foundation for you

By Lerato Tlhame Spa manager and beauty therapist

Have you ever stood at a make-up counter and felt ever so intimidated? With all the latest formulations, from liquid, to mousse to compact powders, the options are endless. What’s even worse is that you have no idea which colour would suit your skin tone or how to even apply it properly!

So, you take matters into your own hands and start testing various colours on your hand. The truth is, there are much better solutions to finding and applying the right foundation for you.

Here’s a few tips to get it right:

  • Clean any make-up on your jawline.
  • Look for the colours that are closest to your skin colour. The purpose of this is to get the colour that matches you neck and face so you don’t look like you’re wearing a mask.
  • Apply the foundation from your jawline towards your neck and place the colours next to each other. The one that looks most natural is the colour for you.
  • Use natural light to see the colour on your skin and avoid harsh store lights if possible.
  • Prep your skin properly before applying foundation. Start with a good cleanse and exfoliation, and make sure to moisturise and apply a good sunscreen every day.

Finding a foundation at your day spa

Most day spas today offer a variety of personalised foundations to suit your specific skincare needs. Get the right colour and advice from your personal skincare expert. Professional foundations don’t just cover and hide, but can treat the skin and help to boost the rest of your skincare regime. Plus, after having a few facials and speaking to your skincare expert, you’ll have a good idea about which formulation will best suit your skin. For instance, tinted moisturisers are ideal for those who don’t like to wear heavy make-up, while BB and CC creams are great all-rounders for busy women on the go who tend to have oilier skins. An added bonus is that most foundations today have a built in SPF.