Photofacial IPL Treatments

Photofacial is a popular term for a series of treatments to rejuvenate aging or sun-damaged skin. This treatment reduces redness, unwanted blood vessels, brown spots, fine lines, uneven tone, and pore size of the face, neck, chest, and hands (as well as arms, legs and back). Patients can resume normal activities immediately after each treatment. Five treatments are typically suggested spaced one month apart.

More recent technologies for photofacials combine IPL with radiofrequency.  Radiofrequency (RF) technology enables us to monitor the temperature of the skin during treatment, making more consistent results and increasing safety. RF also stimulates the formation of new collagen, a skin protein that helps to tighten your skin. 

Photorejuvenation with the eLight is a “non-ablative” procedure; it does not burn the skin. Other nonablative devices include the pulsed dye (VBeam) and Genesis, which are more focused on vascular lesion (redness and blood vessels) only.  The VBeam is used to treat rosacea and dilated blood vessels while the Genesis is preferred to improve skin tone in dark-skinned patients. The Q switched laser works well on brown spots. 

For enhanced results, add on a DERMALINFUSION® hydrodermabrasion treatment for $95 (single treatment cost $150) to remove the stratem corneum to allow for more light to penetrate into the skin.

How do I know if I need Photorejuvenation?

If your skin is freckled, discolored, red, or blotchy from overexposure to the sun, you will benefit from photorejuvenaton. The procedure also improves skin texture and reduces the size of pores. If you have rosacea, the procedure removes dilated blood vessels and decreases facial flushing.

Women who are pregnant, patients with defibrillators or pacemakers, and people who have taken Accutane in the previous 6 months should not have photorejuvenation. If you have a newly developed tan, you must wait until the tan fades to minimize the risk of side effects. However, you may have photorejuvenation if you have naturally dark skin, although with the very darkest skin we will probably recommend a different technology.

How does Photorejuvenation work?

This treatment reduces redness, unwanted blood vessels, brown spots, fine lines, uneven tone, and pore size of the face, neck, chest, and hands (as well as arms, legs and back).

Anesthesia is not usually necessary, although some people do prefer it. Pulses feel like the snap of a rubber band during treatment. We use a stream of cold air to minimize this sensation. The first step is to thoroughly cleanse the area to be treated. Then the area is covered with gel and treated with the light device. All people in the treatment room wear goggles to protect the eyes from light. For the full face the procedure takes 30 minutes.

What benefits can I expect?

As a general rule you may expect 50% to 75% overall improvement after 5 treatments. For quicker results we add a prescription liquid called Levulan to your skin just before light treatment. This modified procedure, called photodynamic therapy (PDT), requires only 3 rather than 5 treatments to achieve similar results. An added advantage of PDT is its removal of precancerous cells. If you elect to have PDT your skin may peel for a week after each treatment and you must avoid sun exposure for 48 hours after treatment.

What are the risks and side effects?

If your skin is tanned by sun exposure or artificial tanning lotion you should allow at least 4 weeks for the tan to fade before the procedure.  No other preparation is necessary. Let your provider or coordinator know if you have a history of cold sores.  We will pre-treat you to prevent recurrence due to the light.

With Photorejuvenation small areas of the skin may be heated more than other areas, resulting in “stripes” of skin that are more improved than the surrounding skin. This is rare at Advanced Dermatology because our state-of-the-art equipment allows us to monitor the temperature of the skin as we treat it.  This can be improved with further treatments.  Another potential side effect is changes in skin color. This can be corrected with further laser treatment, medication, or chemical peels. Small blisters may occur which usually heal uneventfully using calming ointment.  In rare cases, scarring or infection can occur. 

Prior to treatment all potential risks and side effects will be discussed with you by your medical provider and cosmetic coordinator.

How will I look and feel during and after the treatment?

The treated area usually appears flushed immediately after treatment. Occasionally there is redness and swelling, which usually dissipates within a day.  Brown spots will darken and flake off within 1-2 weeks after treatment. In the meantime you can conceal these spots with makeup which you may apply immediately after treatment, if you desire.

Is there another way to get the same effect?

Yes. Alternative treatments include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, skin resurfacing with a carbon dioxide or erbium laser, and fractional resurfacing with a Fraxel laser.

The advantage of our Photorejuvenation procedure is that it improves sun-damaged skin with little downtime and pain. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are less effective. Laser resurfacing requires 5 to 10 days of downtime while fractional resurfacing is more painful and requires 1 to 5 days of downtime. A consultation visit will determine which treatment or combination of treatments is best for you.

Can this be combined with other treatments?

Yes. Photorejuvenation with the eLight can be combined with skin tightening by the eMatrix and Sublime. This combination is designed to treat sun damage, redness, texture, and sagging skin and we call it the E3 procedure. We also combine Photorejuvenation with Botulinum Toxin, injectable fillers, tissue tightening procedures, the PanG lift, chemical peels, and medical-grade peels.  These procedures complement and enhance one another.

What is the cost of the procedure?

The cost depends on the area being treated and the number of treatments. The range for Photorejuvenation is $350 to 800 per treatment.  A 5 treatment series of the full face is $2250.

To learn more about IPL Photorejuvenation, please call 847-459-6400 or contact us to make an appointment with one of our cosmetic coordinators.