Today, there are an overwhelming number of options available to improve your skin’s appearance. Although the visible signs of aging cannot be fully avoided, one treatment can dramatically minimize them thanks to the science of light. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a method of skin rejuvenation therapy and laser hair removal that stimulates heat-generating capabilities in order to destroy hair follicles and produce positive effects in your skin. Energy from this light is converted into heat by melanin and hemoglobin, heating very small areas to 70 degrees Celsius for a thousandth of a second. IPL is a type of light treatment where light is concentrated in certain wavelengths and preferentially absorbed by particular targets. It is based on the theory of Selective Photothermolysis, which allows the light to focus on your skin imperfections while avoiding the surrounding structures that you do not want damaged.
Neo Surgery Center, located in Beverly Hills, California, combines the extensive surgical experience of Dr. Brent Moelleken M.D., F.A.C.S., with his highly trained staff to perform a full range of individualized aesthetic body and skincare treatments. Whether your goal is to maintain, restore, or enhance your appearance, Neo Surgery Center offers the best possible procedures, such as IPL, to deliver natural results while simultaneously ensuring that you can resume your normal routine as quickly as possible. IPL is a technology similar to laser, however, instead of a single wavelength of light the IPL method uses a bright light in front of which filters are placed that screen out most wavelengths except those taken up by pigment and blood vessels. The IPL machine emits a very small amplitude wavelength light through a crystal sapphire head that penetrates deep into your skin reaching all the way to the inner layer (known as the subcutaneous layer or hypodermis). This method injures either the pigment or blood vessels, allowing your body’s natural skin care mechanisms to remove the damaged tissue and produce a smoother skin appearance. Operating with a broad range of wavelengths of light, with an IPL a single piece of equipment can be used for a variety of different treatments unlike lasers that only operate at a very narrow frequency range of light. Although an IPL treatment may sound uncomfortable, the target area is small and the pulse of light very brief.
As far as your skin is concerned, there are two types of aging: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging involves the inevitable and as you grow older, your skin naturally becomes thinner and drier. Diminished amounts of collagen make your skin less elastic and what used to bounce back begins to sag. Extrinsic aging results from exposure to the environment and is the critical element in determining who looks older or younger than their biological age. Exposure to sunlight is a key contributor to extrinsic aging and photoaging occurs when elastin and collagen breakdown and are not replaced. Photoaging causes lines and wrinkles as well as pigment changes in the form of age spots, sun-induced freckles, spider veins, dilated capillaries, and uneven skin tone. Lifestyle choices also have an impact on extrinsic aging. The simplest way to see the contrast between intrinsic and extrinsic aging is to compare skin commonly exposed to the sun (face, hands, and neck) and skin not exposed to the sun (breasts, inner arms, and buttocks).
As mentioned above, IPL is capable of working on a number of different skin issues including:
- Hair Removal: For hair removal therapy, IPL works by heating melanin contained within your skin cells, where active hair follicles are located, and this destroys the follicle so that it is unable to create new hair growth.
- Blemish Reduction: In blemish reduction, targeting the melanin itself helps to eliminate any dark spots or scars.
- Wrinkle Reduction: For wrinkle reduction, IPL is coupled with a skin spray containing levulinate encapsulated in a liposome to enhance its penetration into the skin. The light therapy then targets this spray to raise laevulinate levels within your own skin and it is a non-invasive procedure with excellent success rates. This procedure can be used even in delicate areas such as the skin around your eyes and during facial treatments; protective eyewear ensures that you are shielded from the bright flashes of light the equipment generates.
The primary goal of IPL is to make your skin tone or color more even. One of the signs of aging is irregular brown and sometimes red discoloration of the skin. These changes (called dyschromias) are the usual reason women have to start wearing foundation type makeup. The light energy in IPL is absorbed by the colors that you do not want; causing the generation of heat that damages or destroys the structure that holds the color. Once that happens, your body will see the structure as damaged and remove it, leaving your skin tone more even and homogeneous. In addition, IPL brightens your skin and gives it a youthful glow. This is a remarkably consistent result of IPL and for many patients; this alone makes an IPL treatment worth the effort. A subtler goal of IPL is to add small amounts of collagen back into your skin near its surface. This will not reduce wrinkles but it does have an effect on the texture of your skin.
IPL is also commonly referred to as a Photofacial (or FotoFacial) and IPL Photorejuvenation is a safe, non-invasive, skin treatment that can reverse the signs of aging especially those due to sun damage. As you age, a variety of vascular abnormalities can accumulate on your face and the IPL light penetrates deep into your skin tissue removing facial skin imperfections such as:
- Sun damage
- Uneven skin tone
- Unwanted hair
- Fine wrinkle lines
- Enlarged pores
- Spider veins
- Pigmented lesions
- Age spots
- General hyperpigmentation
- General redness
- Facial flushing
- Unsightly lesions
- Port wine stains
- Enlarged capillaries aka telangiectasia (purple or blue veins and broken blood vessels on the face)
- Diffuse brown spots
During your initial consultation at Neo Surgery Center, Dr. Moelleken will tailor your IPL treatment to your specific needs for the best cosmetic results possible. IPL offers a safe, non-invasive solution and for an optimal outcome, you will need more than one treatment. Your skin often looks more attractive after your first procedure however, as treatments continue your sun spots will start to fade and your skin will look more youthful overall. On average, patients typically require five to eight treatments with three-week intervals between visits. Providing superior cosmetic results and outstanding satisfaction, the advantage to the IPL system is that downtime is very minimal. Some patients experience a slight darkening of pigment before it re-lightens and during the procedure itself, the feeling has been described as a rubber band being mildly popped onto your skin. In most cases, each IPL treatment takes less than 30 minutes and after your procedure you may look slightly sunburned. You will be able to resume your normal activities immediately and in general; you will not feel any significant discomfort depending on your level of pain tolerance. For more information or to schedule your IPL treatment, please call Neo Surgery Center today.