Monday, July 27, 2020

IPL & PhotoFacial treatments for hyperpigmentation, capillary issues & scarring

In your book you say there isn’t anything that can be done about broken capillaries, but I had successful laser sessions a year ago that erased most of them from my face.

This email came from a client of mine. She actually had IPL treatments, which are a bit different than laser therapy. Indeed, she had severe couperose (broken capillaries), predominately in her cheek and nose area. She did achieve remarkable results from having her capillaries treated with IPL. It took several sessions, but over 70% of the damage was eliminated.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be an effective treatment for mild or severe couperose, rosacea, or just getting rid of those pesky capillaries that have been hanging around on your face for so long. I have many clients who have had success with this procedure and are now enjoying less redness in their skin. One of the benefits of this treatment versus some of the older laser versions is it can treat tiny broken capillaries as well as redness deep within the skin where abnormal vessels are found, which is especially good for rosacea sufferers. Because IPL helps to alleviate the flushing associated with rosacea, treatments can really have a long-term effect.

IPL is also effective for getting rid of hyperpigmentation, making your skin tone even and free from pigmentation spots. Because sun exposure is what caused this condition in the first place, you will be instructed to be very aggressive with your sun protection program; it will not be just temporary care, but diligent sun protection for the rest of your life.

Although I don’t believe in before and after pictures in most circumstances, in several articles discussing IPL for redness, the before and after pictures speak volumes for this procedure’s efficacy. These photos give a clear view of the patient’s skin prior to IPL, which looks like skin with medium to severe capillary damage. Afterward, there is at least a 60% reduction in redness—the capillaries have disappeared. I have also seen these results in several of my clients.

Usually you will first go through a consultation with your dermatologist or a physician’s assistant in the office. They will go over your needs and wants as well as procedural information. Then you will find out about cost. IPL is not cheap. On average, each treatment is anywhere from $700 to $1,200, and you have at least five treatments in a series. However, if you are suffering from severe hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or just capillary damage, and you are willing to truly commit to aggressively protecting your skin (especially your face) from sun exposure, then IPL may be the miracle you have been searching for.

Your skin may be red for a day or two, but (if you have rosacea) it was red already, so it may not look very different after the treatment. Once the redness subsides, what you should be left with is less redness and an overall improved condition.

Depending on your pain tolerance and the normal procedure at the doctor’s office, you may have a topical anesthetic applied to the skin being treated. This is not a painless procedure, but the effects can last a long time, making it worth the small amount of discomfort you may experience.

I had a wonderful treatment called PhotoFacial that really helped to eliminate acne scars I’ve had for years as well as hyperpigmentation from when I was pregnant. It’s a bit uncomfortable, like a rubberband snap, but tolerable—and worth it! I had a series of 5 treatments, each one was about 2-3 weeks apart.

PhotoFacial (developed by Dr. Patrick Bitter, Sr.) is yet another name for IPL therapy; FotoFacial and EpiLight are a few more. No matter the name, if hyperpigmentation, rosacea, broken capillaries, or perhaps even acne scars are a concern, investigate IPL and see if it works for you.

Laser as well as light therapy are analogous to computers; the technology is advancing and expanding so rapidly that the techniques and machines used today may be obsolete tomorrow. As with all procedures, please get more than one opinion, and do your homework. When it comes to your face, you want someone who has a lot of experience and a great reputation working with IPL.

As with any and all procedures you are seeking, ask around for referrals. Once you have a few names, talk to someone in each doctor’s office. It’s doubtful you will get to speak with the doctor until you pay for a consultation, but sometimes you can get a feel for the office by the people who are working there. You always want to find a professional who has a lot of experience doing these treatments and using the machines, not a doctor who is just beginning to do this procedure.

For an example of someone who had a bad experience with IPL, see the article below. I think it’s smart to read the good and the bad and make your decision from there. As you’ll read, this client was probably not a good candidate for this procedure, but the doctor went ahead and performed it anyway.

For more information, see: