Spending time out in the sun often sounds like a great idea. The sun is warm and inviting, and it creates a gorgeous glow. Sun exposure also produces a lot of damage. We can’t see the damage when it happens; that is unless we get sunburned. The effects of the absorption of ultraviolet light may not show up for years after the initial damage has been done. That is why so many adults who grew up in the decades before sunscreen use became the norm are struggling with dark spots and skin cancer today. In our San Antonio offices, reversing the signs of sun damage is something we may do with IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light.
How IPL Photofacials Work
This treatment is referred to as IPL because pulses of intensely strong light are emitted from a handpiece. These rays of light penetrate the surface layers of the skin and land in the layer where collagen is made. Collagen is a healing protein that is also involved in the firmness and suppleness of the skin. During IPL treatments, light prompts fibroblasts to produce more collagen so that this protein can heal the damage that has made its way to the surface.
What IPL Can Do
One of the most valuable aspects of IPL treatment is that the light that is absorbed into the deep layers of the epidermis promotes overall rejuvenation. That means that a series of IPL treatments can correct sun damage and other forms of discoloration, including rosacea. IPL is also nurturing to skin affected by acne, freckles, broken capillaries, and wrinkles. Dr. Bucay conducts a comprehensive consultation with each patient and only recommends IPL for those who will obtain significant benefits from this form of light therapy.
What IPL Treatment is Like
One of the reasons why so many people express interest in IPL treatment is because the process is convenient and comfortable. During a session, the eyes are shielded with small protective glasses, similar to what one may wear in a tanning bed (side note: don’t use tanning beds). Utilizing a handpiece, the skin care specialist applies pulses of light to the skin.
The absorption of intense pulses of light heats the tissue beneath the skin. This will feel intensely warm but should not hurt. Depending on how much surface area needs to be treated, the process may take up to an hour. Due to the intensity of the light absorbed into tissues, the skin may appear red and slightly swollen for a short time after treatment is completed. However, this is generally so mild that patients can immediately resume their normal activities. After IPL treatments, it is crucial to protect the skin with a quality sunscreen product and limited sun exposure.
Summer isn’t over yet, so stay committed to your skin’s health with the generous use of sunscreen and skincare products. Contact our Sonterra location at (210) 370-9995 or our La Casita office at (210) 692-3000 for further assistance in attending to your dermatologic needs.