Acne and hyperpigmentation can be difficult to treat with topical solutions alone. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser treatment can target deeper layers of skin to reduce the appearance of acne and brown spots. IPL is also used to treat vascular conditions such as rosacea, spider veins and skin resurfacing.
What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?
IPL is a laser treatment using 4 broad band filters to target specific skin concerns. The treatment is nonablative, meaning the outer layer of skin is left intact, resulting in minimal side effects and little recovery time. Using laser light energy, IPL therapy targets the skin to heat and destroy visible vessels and lesions, resulting in smoother, clearer skin.
Who is a Candidate for Treatment with IPL?
IPL treatments can be done up to a Fitzpatrick IV. A skin assessment questionnaire is completed to determine if you are a candidate for this treatment. Alternative treatments are available for patients with higher Fitzpatrick scores. Candidates for IPL treatment are those who suffer from acne and cannot find relief with their regular skincare routine. IPL can be used on a variety of acne types, including cystic acne which can be very difficult to treat with topical products. Those who have unwanted brown spots, sun spots, freckles, and other pigmented lesions can also benefit from treatment with IPL. The gentle treatment can be used on the face, chest, back, arms and hands
If you have taken Isotretinoin (Accutane) in the last 12-months or are currently on Minocin or Doxycycline you cannot receive IPL treatment. If you have an active herpes simplex outbreak in the treatment area, you should wait to have a treatment. An anti-viral will be prescribed for your next treatment to minimize the chance of another outbreak. We do not recommend laser IPL treatment for patients that are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
How do I Prepare for Treatment?
You cannot be tanned, use self-tanners or be sunburnt prior to or during the course of treatment. If you are using aggressive skincare products such as retinols, skin exfoliants, or other aggressive skincare products you must discontinue at least 2-week prior to treatment. Your skin must be completely clean and free of any lotions, perfumes or makeup on the day of treatment.
What is the Procedure Like?
Before IPL treatment, a cooling gel will be applied to your skin and you will be given eye protection. The IPL handpiece will then be applied to the skin, delivering heating laser light to the area. There is minor discomfort for most IPL treatments. A cooling head is integrated into the head of the device. Prior to treating the area, it is briefly chilled and immediately followed by a treatment pulse. When treating vascular areas, we do not want to constrict the blood vessels so excessive cooling or numbing agents that can restrict the blood vessels are avoided.
The number of treatments you need will be dependent on what you are being treated for and how responsive you are to the treatments. Acne is usually treated 1-week apart. Pigmented lesions and rosacea are usually treated 4-6 weeks apart and may require several sessions.
What are my Post-Treatment Care Instructions?
You can expect minor swelling and redness that can last a couple of hours. There may be a little discomfort which can be treated using ice packs or over the counter pain medications. Treated areas may appear darker ans scabs may form. Do not pick or scratch the treated areas as this could cause scarring. Avoid submerging the treated area in water such as in hot tubs, pools, lakes etc. Avoid direct sun exposure and use a good sunblock to protect your skin during the healing process and between sessions. Shower with lukewarm water and avoid harsh facial products such as retinols, exfoliants, loofah sponges, and shaving. If you experience itchy skin, a 1% hydrocortisone cream can be applied to the treated area.
What Results can I Expect?
While some patients can see improvements after just one treatment session, several sessions are typically recommended for optimal improvement. Your skin will continue to improve with each treatment as IPL destroys acne-causing bacteria and reduces redness and brown spots.
This procedure must be performed by a registered nurse (RN), Physician’s Assistant (PA), Advanced Practical Registered Nurse (APRN) or a physician. In some cases, Dr. Stanislaw will perform this procedure and in others, our Registered Nurse. Dr. Stanislaw is board-certified in Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and has been practicing medicine since 2000. Our nurse, Patricia Ferguson, R.S. has been with Dr. Stanislaw since 2004 and is trained in this procedure. To start treating your stubborn acne, hyperpigmentation, or other skin blemishes, schedule your consultation by calling our office.
At the time of your consultation, you will be provided a quote which will be honored for 1-year.