IPL Treatment in Austin
If you’ve been researching Hyperpigmentation Treatments in Austin, or procedures to reduce the appearance of broken capillaries, age spots, redness and sun damage, then you have likely come across the term IPL. What does IPL stand for exactly? The acronym is short for “intense pulsed light”, and it is a technology commonly used in cosmetic procedures to treat a variety of skin conditions.
You may have also heard IPL treatment referred to as “photo rejuvenation” or “photofacial”. Although the technology is often referred to as “IPL laser”, it is not actually the same as a laser treatment. IPL technology utilizes a broad spectrum of light, whereas a laser emits one specific wavelength of light. The broad spectrum light source emitted by IPL makes treatments like photofacial a more versatile procedure that can treat a variety of skin imperfections at the same time.
What Is IPL Treatment?
If IPL treatment in Austin is not the same as laser treatment, what defines this method? What should prospective patients know about it?
First, IPL can be used to treat a very wide range of cosmetic issues and complaints, providing benefits that range from hair removal to the rejuvenation of skin cells. However, one of its most common uses is for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, as the broad range light produced actually targets darker pigmentation, helping you to achieve a fairer, more even complexion.
Some common skin conditions treated by IPL include:
- Melasma: Melasma is the formation of gray-brown patches of skin, most commonly found on the face, with the most prevalent areas being the bridge of the nose, the cheeks, the forehead, and chin. Melasma may be due to pregnancy-related or birth control-related hormone changes.
- Age Spots: Age spots are usually brown, black or tan, and commonly appear on older adults with fair skin. You may be more familiar with them as “liver spots”, although they are also called “sun spots”, as they are common in areas that see the most sun exposure.
- Brown Spots: Brown spots can be age/sun spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation, or may be caused by other issues. They vary from tan to brown, and generally form on the cheeks, but may also be present in other areas of the face or the body.
- Freckles: Freckles are naturally occurring areas of the skin with much darker pigmentation than other areas. Freckles may be scattered and light, or heavily concentrated.
- Birthmarks: Birthmarks can range in color, shape, and size from minuscule and very light in color to very large, and very dark in color. Port wine birthmarks are among the darkest.
- Rosacea: Rosacea is a common skin disorder in which tiny blood vessels in the cheeks burst, giving the cheeks a permanent red blush. It is also often marked by the appearance of small, pus-filled bumps. Rosacea can also appear on the forehead, nose, and chin.
- Hyperpigmentation: This is a condition in which areas of the face can become darker in color than the rest of the facial skin due to an excess of melanin. It can range from very mild to severe.
- Broken Capillaries: Broken capillaries are common in a number of skin conditions that can affect the face, including rosacea. However, they can also appear without any underlying condition and are commonly seen on the cheeks and the nose.
Note that these are just some of the common skin conditions that IPL can be used to treat. There are many others. If you’re concerned about a facial skin condition, we recommend contacting our office to schedule a full consultation. IPL may be the ideal option for your needs, but you may also benefit from microdermabrasion, from a chemical peel, or any of our other highly effective treatment options.
How Does IPL Treatment Work?
During IPL treatment, light energy is delivered to the skin via a series of short, high-intensity bursts from a handheld device. Using the principle of selective photothermolysis, this light energy penetrates the tissue, selectively targeting chromophores (skin components that absorb light). The irregular pigmentation (melanin) and the red pigment of blood vessels (hemoglobin) absorb this light energy, heating and effectively destroying the discolored pigment without harming the skin or other tissues.
Damaged blood vessels will be absorbed by the body and the destroyed hyperpigmented cells rise to the surface and slough off via the skin’s natural renewal process. This process leaves behind the lighter tissue, giving the complexion a brighter and more even tone. In some cases, a combination of IPL treatment and chemical peel or microdermabrasion might be the most beneficial. IPL treatment can also help improve the skin’s overall texture by reducing pore size, stimulating collagen growth and smoothing fine lines, in addition to delivering a wide range of other benefits, plus a boost to your self-confidence.
To address deeper pigment issues and discoloration, a series of IPL treatments will be needed to see optimal results. Most patients see significant improvement after four to six treatments performed at approximately four-week intervals.
Who Is A Good Fit For IPL Treatment?
In order to be a good fit for IPL treatment, you must have a pigmentation-related skin issue, such as one of those addressed above, or be suffering from a condition like rosacea or broken capillaries. If you are more interested in addressing fine lines and wrinkles, microdermabrasion might be the more effective treatment option, but we will be happy to provide you with a professional assessment and guide you to the ideal treatment or combination of treatments.