Intense Pulsed Light Therapy – what you should knowShould 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:
- 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
- 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.