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Say Goodbye to Sun Spots and Other Pigmentation Issues With an IPL Photofacial

Millions of people have hyperpigmentation, areas of skin that appear darker, browner, or redder than the surrounding skin. If you’re one of them, you know how frustrating and even embarrassing the problem can be, especially when those dark patches occur on your face.

At Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology Center, Edward Stolar, MD, and Todd Perkins, MD, offer intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments for patients in and around Washington, DC, using technology designed to even out your skin tone and help you feel more attractive and more confident. 

Here’s how IPL photofacials work and what to expect during and after an IPL treatment.

The science behind IPL

As the name implies, IPL uses intense pulses of light to target pigmented areas of your skin, breaking apart excess pigments so your body can remove them naturally over time. 

IPL doesn’t require anesthesia or sutures, and the broad diffusion of the light’s energy means it can target larger areas in less time, all without harming the surrounding tissue.

The way IPL works is fairly straightforward. Darker pigments tend to absorb more light and heat energy (think how it feels when the sun hits a black shirt or jacket). When we administer IPL energy to your skin, the darker areas of pigment absorb more of that energy, too. 

The energy weakens the tiny pigment particles, causing them to break apart into even tinier fragments, which your body’s natural waste system eliminates over time.

IPL can treat a variety of problems that cause your skin to look darker or redder, including:

IPL treatment has been growing in popularity among women and men who want to eliminate highly pigmented areas and enjoy clearer skin without downtime. In fact, IPL is so popular, about 700,000 treatments are performed in the United States each year.

IPL vs. laser treatments

Both IPL and laser treatments use light energy to achieve their goals. The primary differences between these treatments are the type of light they use and its intensity.

While lasers use a very highly focused beam of energy, IPL light uses multiple wavelengths administered in a more scattered fashion, which makes it ideal for treating specific types of skin issues, including pigmentation problems. 

The less focused nature of IPL also means it won’t damage the uppermost layers of your skin. Bottom line: Both laser and IPL treatments can restore and rejuvenate skin, but the light they use and the way they use it makes them suited for different issues and different treatment goals.

IPL treatment and recovery

IPL treatment uses a handheld device that emits those intense bursts of energy. Most IPL treatments take about a half hour or less, depending on the size of the area being treated. 

As the device moves across the treatment area, you might feel a light snapping sensation. While the snapping isn’t intense, we can adjust the energy level to reduce the sensations, if you’re uncomfortable.

After the treatment, your skin may feel a little tender and may appear slightly reddish for a few hours, like after a sunburn. You need to protect the area from the sun while it heals and use a moisturizer to keep your skin comfortable and soft. 

Before you leave our office, we give you complete instructions for how to care for your skin. Most people see the greatest benefit from IPL after a series of two to three treatments spaced a few weeks apart.

Learn how IPL can help you

Summer’s almost here, which means now is an ideal time to schedule your IPL treatments, so you can enjoy clearer, more beautiful skin just in time for warm weather. 

To find out how IPL can help even out your skin tone or to learn about other aesthetic treatments we offer, call our office today or request your appointment through our online tool.

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