While it can feel good to have the warmth of the sun on your face, UV light is one of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation and age spots. Both of these, along with loss of elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, can cause your face to look older, duller, and a little more tired. At ALC Medspa, we know that sometimes the outside doesn’t reflect the youthfulness and energy that you feel on the inside. With intense pulsed light treatments (IPL), you may be able to reverse some of the signs of aging.
What Happens to Your Skin As You Age?
The appearance of aging in your skin can come from three different sources: the shrinking of fat cells in the subcutaneous layer of your skin, the reduction of supportive fibers such as collagen and elastin, and the increase of melanin on the surface of your skin. Here’s how each affects your appearance:
When you are young, fat pads in your face can cause your cheeks, chin, lips, and areas around the eyes to appear full and healthy. Over time, the fat cells can shrink. This can cause these areas to look sunken.
Collagen and Elastin
The second layer, the dermis, is partially made up of collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers hold up the surface of your skin making it smooth and flat. Over time, your body stops producing as much collagen and elastin and the skin can lose its support system. This causes wrinkles to form on the skin, and the skin to have a much more fragile texture.
In the body, melanin is produced faster when the skin is exposed to UV light. This combination can create spots on the skin that are much darker than the surrounding areas. These sun spots or age spots can make the skin on the face appear much older.
How Can Intense Pulsed Light Treatments Help?
Intense pulsed light treatments, also known as photorejuvenation, can be an effective way to help reverse some of the effects of aging on the skin. While it can’t restore fat in the subcutaneous layer of skin, it can tighten the skin, reduce wrinkles, and fade age spots. Patients who undergo laser treatments and IPL treatments can enjoy skin that is smoother, firmer, and more evenly pigmented.
Intense pulsed light used short pulses of light to target certain types of pigmentation in the skin and stimulate collagen production. Unlike laser treatments which use one spectrum of light, IPL uses a broad spectrum of light and several different wavelengths. This allows the treatment to target more than one pigment in the skin. These treatments can also be customized to allow for variability in skin tone. You should always ask your doctor if IPL is safe for your skin type and color since different IPL platforms offer variable options.
How Does IPL Work?
When the intense pulsed light hits the skin, two things happen at the same time. First, the broad spectrum light targets the brown and red coloration in the skin. When this happens, the melanin in the skin is destroyed. Over the next few weeks, the melanin will rise to the surface and flake off of the skin, which can leave it looking much more even.
Second, the heat energy from the treatment penetrates the deeper layer of skin while leaving the surface unharmed. When the skin experiences this heat, your body will think there is an injury and will begin a healing process. With this healing process comes the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis of the skin. During this process, the skin can tighten and the additional support can cause fine lines and wrinkles to become more smooth.
What Do IPL Treatments Feel Like?
At our clinic, we do everything we can to make our skin renewal treatments as comfortable as possible. We use a cooling gel to keep the surface of your skin cool and we offer topical numbing cream as needed. However, most people feel comfortable even without the cream. During an IPL treatment, you may feel warmth on your skin as well as a small snap or sting with each pulse of light. We maintain constant communication with you to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the whole treatment.
The downtime after IPL treatments is another major benefit. While you may have skin that appears red and flushed for a few hours after your appointment, it shouldn’t disrupt your day. Most people return to work or other activities right after their treatments. You should avoid sun exposure, tanning beds, and strong skin care products following treatment.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
As with many cosmetic treatments, everyone responds differently to intense pulsed light treatments. However, most patients find that more than one treatment is necessary to achieve the results they are looking for. The number of treatments that we recommend will be based on your satisfaction with the results. We find that most people need between 3 and 6 treatments spaced around a month apart to receive the full effect.
Skin Renewal Consultations in Gurnee, IL
At ALC Medspa, our highest priority is helping our patients to feel good in their bodies. Because of this, we spend time with each person listening to their concerns and developing a customized treatment plan that is unique to them. When you call us for a consultation, we will go over all of your options and let you know which treatments we think will be most effective for you. If you think that you may benefit from intense pulsed light treatments, call us today to schedule an appointment in Gurnee, IL.