The Photofacial is a series of gentle optimized pulsed light treatments using the XPL (xenon pulse laser), or Prolite II IPL (intense pulse light) laser to significantly reducing visible signs of UV/sun damage and aging. This treatment will leave you with clearer, younger and healthier-looking skin from the very first treatment.
Whereas most laser therapies such as skin resurfacing use one or two particular wavelengths of light or only treat the surface of the skin, Photofacial light treatments rely on a spectrum of high-intensity light pulses to target pigmented lesions and vascular irregularities in multiple layers of tissue. The laser’s specially filtered broadband light passes harmlessly through healthy tissue to target darker melanin (brown spots and other pigmented lesions) and oxy-hemoglobin (red blemishes and enlarged veins). When the light reaches these pigments, it is converted to heat energy that fragments the discoloration into particles, which the body either absorbs or sloughs off. As they vanish, the healthy new collagen that is stimulated by the healing process will help smooth out the overall tone and texture of your skin.
The Photofacial procedure is a non-invasive and non-ablative (non-wounding) treatment, so it requires no anesthetic and has little or no downtime. A series of treatments can offer the benefits of laser skin rejuvenation or deeper chemical peels without blistering, peeling or longer recovery time.
The procedure is ideal for treating:
- rosacea and other facial redness
- coarse or roughened skin
- enlarged pores
- sun damage
- sun-induced brown spots
- pigment inconsistencies
- age-induced “liver” spots
- red blemishes and birthmarks
- acne scars
- broken capillaries and spider veins
- fine lines and wrinkles
- What areas can I have treated?
Any part of your body with uneven skin tone, diffuse redness, or pigmented areas can be safely treated. The most common areas for Photofacial treatment are the face, chest, shoulders. arms and hands, because they typically have had the most sun exposure.
- Why is the Photofacial specifically recommended for treating rosacea?
Rosacea is a common chronic condition of the skin characterized by redness, flushing and dilated blood vessels, frequently accompanied by pustules and swelling. Micro-vascular dysfunction, such as the abnormal fusion of capillaries and growth of new inflammatory vessels, is now considered to be the reason for the characteristic bouts of flushing and blushing that do not dissipate for hours – or even days. These damaging alterations become part of a vicious and progressive cycle, allowing for more intensive blood flow and subsequent inflammation that leads to even more micro-vascular damage, which is why rosacea usually worsens over time. Recommended therapy now looks at removing these damaged and dysfunctional micro-vessels so that new, normal ones can grow in their place, breaking the cycle.
This in achieved through the intense multi-wavelength spectrum produced in the Photofacial treatment, which can penetrate the skin at many different depths to target multiple dilated vessels and networks (some of which are packed so densely that they cannot be identified as individual veins).
A recent study demonstrated that Photofacial treatments were instrumental in clearing facial rosacea breakouts by nearly 80%, and these treatment effects were lasting.
- How long does it take?
It depends on the area being treated. It typically takes 20 minutes to treat the entire face.
- Who is not a good candidate for Photofacial treatments?
Because it specifically targets melanin, Photofacial is not a safe option for anyone with darker skin tones, since the darker your skin, the more melanin it contains. If you have a dark complexion and want to treat various pigmentation issues, chemical peels or laser rejuvenation are safer and more effective choices.
- Will it hurt?
The sensation is comparable to a rubber band snapping on the skin and is usually tolerated well. Anesthesia is not required for XPL/IPL treatment, but several cooling methods are available should you need them.
- How many treatments are required?
You will see an improvement in your skin’s tone and texture immediately, but it may take several Photofacial treatments to achieve the result you desire. For example, approximately 5 sessions at 2 to 4 week intervals are needed to remove heavily pigmented lesions. Additional treatments every 6 months will help maintain optimal results; they will continue to improve tone and texture as they stimulate the underlying dermal layers to produce more collagen.
- Is it permanent?
Yes, but remember skin continues to age with time. Our cosmeceutical lines of physician-grade skin-care regimens will prolong the effects of your treatment by retarding aging and sun damage.
- Can I wear make-up afterward?
You can apply make-up 24 hours after the treatment.
- How do I prepare for the treatments?
Four weeks prior to treatment you should avoid sun exposure and artificial tanning (including spray tans). If staying out of the sun is impossible, you should use a sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF or higher.
You should also discontinue the use of Retin-A®, glycolic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid products, benzoyl peroxide, bleaching creams and exfoliants a week before your treatment. If you are taking Accutane®, you should stop using it 6 months prior to treatment.
- What can I expect after treatment?
Beginning with your first treatment, your skin will have a more even tone, with a smoother look and feel. You can resume your normal activities immediately afterward.
Within about the first 20 minutes you may see the area darken in color, and it may look or feel mildly sunburned for a few hours afterward. Vascular and pigmented lesions will be darker in appearance for 5 to 7 days, before they gradually fade. In less than 1% of cases, skin lightening or darkening may occur.
To avoid irritation it is very important to follow all post treatment instructions and stay out the sun for at least 4 weeks afterwards. If you cannot avoid sun exposure you should use a sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF or higher. The discoloration can take up to 3 weeks to slough off.