What is a Photofacial / IPL treatment?
Our Alma Harmony system uses gentle light to restore skin to a more youthful state. Brown spots (pigmented imperfections) from sun damage and aging, redness from spider vessels or rosacea, and uneven skin color or tone will improve over a series of treatments. The pulsed light energy is precisely absorbed by the target areas, without damaging healthy skin. Selectively heating and closing off blood vessels, IPL reduces these vascular lesions while sparing nearby tissue from injury. With pigmented lesions, the light energy heats the melanin in the lesion and causes it to fragment. The melanin fragments are then absorbed by the body and eliminated.
How frequently do I need treatments?
Treatments are repeated every month for a total of 3-6 treatments. We cool the skin constantly during the treatment, and monitor the skin temperature to ensure safety. Most patients achieve the desired results after 3 treatments, but more severe or stubborn conditions may require additional sessions. Many patients find an annual maintenance treatment helpful to keep their skin looking its best – especially with severe sun damage or chronic skin conditions like rosacea.
How does IPL feel and what should I expect after?
The sensation is often described as a “hot pinch” or “snapping” feeling. The sensation only lasts for a fraction of a second, and you may feel heat or a tingling sensation for a short time afterward. We use a cooling device to help cool the skin during the treatment by blowing very cold air over the area being treated.
Temporary pinkness of the skin lasts a very short time, and most people return to work or normal activities immediately after treatment. Darkly pigmented lesions will usually become darker after a treatment. Some of the pigment can gradually come to the surface of the skin and flake off. This process takes about a week on the face, and 2 weeks or longer on the body. Lighter pigmented lesions and red or vascular lesions will generally show gradual fading over about 4-6 weeks. If you have a great deal of pigment or sun damage present, you may feel some heat sensation on the treated area (similar to a sunburn) after the treatment for up to a few hours.
Are there any special instructions to follow around the time of my treatments?
Yes, It is absolutely essential to protect yourself from sun exposure prior to and during the time frame of your photofacial treatments. You will be more prone to sunburn, and if you get a suntan, it is not safe to undergo photofacial due to an increased risk of burning your skin. The best time to perform these treatments is during the fall and winter months when your skin is at its lightest baseline color of the year. If you cannot avoid significant sun exposure, you may not be a good candidate for photofacial treatments. Wear an SPF of 30 or higher daily on the treatment area. After IPL treatments it is recommended to use a gentle skin care routine for the 7-10 days after. Makeup can be applied right after treatments.