Millions of Americans are frustrated with their skin. Whether it’s dryness, spots, sun damage varicose veins, or some other condition, there are any number of things people might want to be treated. Luckily, a form of skin therapy called Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, can rectify many of these conditions, and we offer it at Argyle Med Spa in Argyle, TX.
All About IPL
How Does It Work?
IPL is similar to a laser treatment uses intense light to penetrate down to the second layer of skin. What makes it unique is that it releases a pulse of light of many different wavelengths, as opposed to a laser, which only has one wavelength. This means that intense pulsed light is more scattered than a laser, so it can penetrate down to that second layer of skin without harming the top layer.
The skin’s second layer, also called the dermis, is where pigmentation cells, hair follicles, and other skin elements reside. These unwanted cells absorb the light pulses and transform them into heat, killing cells and shutting down follicles. This can clear up freckles, dark spots, and other blemishes and get rid of unwanted, stubborn hairs.
What Does It Treat?
IPL can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Freckles, sun damage, acne, age spots, scars, redness from rosacea, spider veins, and even fine wrinkles can be cleared up with a dose of intense pulsed light. As mentioned above, it can also shut down hair follicles, ridding you of unwanted body hair. Because it releases light in multiple wavelengths, IPL can be used to treat multiple conditions at once. Want to reduce the appearance of freckles and fine wrinkles at the same time? Intense pulsed light can do the trick.
Does It Work for Everybody?
Unfortunately, IPL doesn’t work the same for every person. People with darker complexions won’t see the same results as those with fairer skin, for example. The opposite is true for hair: dark follicles will absorb more heat than light ones, so those with dark hair will see more reduction in unwanted body hair.
In addition, the light does not penetrate thick scar tissue as well as it does undamaged skin, so raised “keloid” scars will not respond the same as smaller scar tissue. Finally, it’s best used on smooth surfaces rather than parts of the body with varying topography. It will still work, but the light will not reach to the same depth evenly in every place.
What Is Treatment Like?
This treatment is non-invasive and is a bit like having someone use flash photography on you while you wear dark glasses. The first thing our professional practitioners will do when you arrive is to apply a cooling gel to the area of treatment. Then they will apply light pulses using the intense pulsed light therapy device. You may feel a mild heat sensation as the therapy is applied, but patients report that they acclimate quickly.
Depending upon the size of the treated area, the therapy will take anywhere from twenty minutes to a half-hour to complete.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Depending on what you hope to accomplish, your intense pulsed light therapy will be spread out over anywhere from one to six treatments. Most people receive at least three. These treatments must be spaced out by at least one month to allow the skin to heal between them.
Do I Need to Prepare?
Intense Pulsed Light works by heating up and destroying unwanted cells in the dermis. While this is safe for the surface skin, it’s best to prepare by avoiding any unnecessary skin damage leading up to your treatment. This includes undergoing certain other skin treatments. Here are some of the things to avoid in the days and weeks prior to beginning intense pulsed light therapy:
- Tanning beds
- Chemical peels
- Collagen injections
- Drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, including aspirin
- Direct sunlight/sun damage
What About After?
It’s likely that any blemishes you were hoping to treat will actually darken in color prior to disappearing; this is a result of the cells that cause the spots dying off. To avoid any damage to your skin, you should use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when venturing outside in the days following a treatment.
How Effective Is It?
Exactly how much does intense pulsed light therapy help the various conditions it can treat? Here are some hard numbers on a few of the conditions that this treatment can rectify.
This therapy can reduce the appearance of redness caused by broken blood vessels by up to 50-70%. Some people see their broken vessels disappear entirely. While these blood vessels are gone for good, new ones may appear over time.
Intense pulsed light can reduce the appearance of redness and brown spots caused by sun damage by up to 70%.
Intense pulsed light can even treat acne, reducing the appearance of new blemishing and even smoothing acne scars. While research is continuing into just how much it helps, most people require a full course of six treatments to achieve their best results.
Call Us Today!
Intense pulsed light therapy is a fast, easy, non-invasive way to even your complexion and take years off of your skin. If you’d like to learn more, call us at Argyle Med Spa in Argyle, TX to schedule your initial consultation today!