It’s all fun in the sun until you notice what that exposure to UV rays does to your skin. Skin damage caused by the sun includes premature aging, wrinkling, loss of skin elasticity, broken capillaries, uneven skin texture, and dark spots or patches.
This damage is magnified if you’ve suffered a sunburn (or two), but even if you’ve been cautious enough to just tan, there can be long-term consequences of sun exposure. About 90% of skin aging is caused by sun exposure. Summer skin damage, called photoaging, can even lead to skin cancer.
At Dr. Daphne Panagotacos, her skilled medical team offers intense pulse light (IPL) treatment to heal skin that’s showing the signs of summer skin damage. Here’s how IPL works to rejuvenate your skin and how it can help you.
About IPL therapy
Intense pulsed light therapy effectively erases the signs of sun damage, like sun spots, brown spots, increased freckling, and melasma. This therapy uses several wavelengths of pulsating light to penetrate your top layer of skin and target pigmented or damaged skin cells.
The heat from the light destroys the sun-damaged cells and irregular tissue. Your body then removes the damaged cells naturally. Because this treatment uses more than one wavelength, IPL can tackle a wide range of skin concerns in one pass.
IPL is non-ablative, meaning it doesn’t affect the top layers of your skin. This makes it less intense than some ablative laser treatments that require notable downtime following treatment.
And IPL isn’t only for sun-damaged skin. It can also help reduce the appearance of acne scars, birthmarks, rosacea, stretch marks, and melasma. When you come in for a consultation, we can help you determine if IPL is right for your skin.
What it’s like to get IPL
You relax in a treatment chair and wear dark glasses to protect your eyes from the laser light. The team applies a cooling gel and then glides the IPL handheld device over your skin. The device emits varying wavelengths of light, and you notice sensations like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin.
Treatment generally takes about 20-30 minutes but may be up to an hour, depending on the extent of your skin concerns and the area being treated. Expect to need up to six treatments to get optimal results.
Post-IPL therapy skin care
You may have some redness and mild skin sensitivity for 4-6 hours after your session. Slight swelling can also occur. You may feel like you have a light sunburn in treated areas. Despite these side effects, you can return to most daily activities after IPL therapy.
You should refrain from putting on makeup until any redness, swelling, and discomfort fade. Ice packs or a cool washcloth offer relief. We’ll tell you when you can resume your normal skin care regimen.
If you’re concerned about how your time in the sun has affected your skin, make an appointment with Dr. Panagotacos today to find out how we can help. IPL and other services like chemical peels and microneedling can erase skin dullness and signs of aging.