Your Guide to Treating Sun Spots and Sun damage With IPL

All of us will experience the signs of aging over time. Sunspots are one of the most common issues that come up. Sunspots are darkened patches that appear on the skin after prolonged exposure to the sun. Sometimes they are called age spots because it typically takes years of exposure for them to become visible. These spots are the result from an overproduction of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. Unsurprisingly, they typically occur on areas of the skin that are exposed to the most sunlight, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms.

Not only can excessive sun exposure can speed up the aging process, it can contribute to skin damage. UV Radiation from the sun stimulates the production of melanin as a natural defense mechanism to protect the skin from damage. However, over time, this can lead to an uneven distribution of pigment, which may not be aesthetically pleasing.

Many cosmetic treatments claim to remove sunspots or reduce their appearance and improve skin balance and texture. These treatments include chemical peels, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and even topical creams that contain skin-lightening chemicals like retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids. Many of these treatments work by exfoliating the top layers of the skin and stimulating collagen production, and inhibiting melanin production, thereby reducing the visibility of sunspots.

Many patients choose these treatments to achieve a more even skin tone, but the most effective way to treat sunspots and sun damage is to address the root cause, the sun damage. While we can’t build a time machine and prevent the damage from occurring, utilizing treatments like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can actually remove years of sun damage from the skin. However, these treatments might not be right for everyone. It’s always best to work with a professional to find out if this treatment is right for you.

What Is IPL?

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a device that utilizes light to treat sun damage. It’s most commonly used to treat sun damage, small veins, fine lines, uneven texture, or facial redness. IPL is sometimes referred to as a photo facial, and it’s an excellent way to safely and effectively treat sun-damaged skin.

Patients love IPL treatments because, for most, they see improvements after just one treatment. This treatment can effectively treat a variety of skin conditions beyond sun damage, including age spots, freckles, rosacea, and even fine wrinkles. Even though you will notice a difference after just one treatment, most centers recommend several treatments for optimal results. Most patients book three or more treatments to achieve their optimal results.

How Does IPL Work?

Okay, now we’ve covered what it can do; you might wonder how IPL works.

IPL works by sending out intense pulses of light that break up the pigment and break apart broken blood vessels. It’s especially effective at treating irregularities in the skin, like dark spots, broken capillaries, etc. These irregularities tend to absorb the light energy from the IPL devices, effectively killing off damaged cells. Once those damaged cells die off, your body will eliminate them through its natural lymphatic processes. The result for the patient is clear skin with a natural glow.

Patients love that IPL is a gentle treatment. It is a non-ablative laser, and it doesn’t resurface the skin. That being said, because it’s a more gentle treatment, many people require more than one session of IPL to achieve their ideal results. However, because each person’s skin conditions are unique, treatment plans can vary from person to person. When you work with us, we’ll discuss your desired results and create a custom treatment plan. Whether you’re hoping to treat a few relatively new spots or you want to address years of sun damage and build-up, we’re here to help.

What Are Treatments Like?

It’s common for patients to be curious about the treatment before they come in for their session. With IPL, you can expect your treatment session to last 20-30 minutes, but we recommend allowing an hour for your appointment. Your practitioner will likely apply a numbing cream to the treatment area to ensure your comfort during treatment. Once applied, they will apply a clear gel on the treatment area. We’ll provide dark glasses for you to wear during the treatment to protect your eyes from the brightness of the laser during your treatment. Then your practitioner will use a handheld IPL device to administer the treatment.

IPL devices have been around for years and are considered safe and effective treatments. The first IPL device was FDA-approved in 1995, and the technology has only continued to improve since then. It has a long track record of safety and efficacy and can be backed by patient testimonials and clinical studies; if you have any questions about this treatment or if it’s right for you, feel free to ask our knowledgeable staff during your consultation. Your comfort is our priority, and we want you to feel confident in any procedure you might undergo.

How Long Will It Take To See Results?

IPL doesn’t provide immediate results. But you won’t have to wait long to see results. Most patients start to see a change in the treatment area within a week to ten days of their initial treatment, with full results visible within 6-8 weeks.

The effects of an IPL Photofacial are gradual, so don’t expect to see immediate results. You begin to see a change in your face within a week to 10 days and on the other treated areas of your body within 6-8 weeks.

How Many Sessions Will I Need?

As we previously noted, IPL treatments are customized for each patient. So the number of treatments needed will vary from patient to patient. At Wingfield, we will create a customized treatment plan for you to help you reach your optimal results. The majority of our patients meet their treatment goals within 3-5 treatments.

Although this treatment requires minimal downtime, there is still a healing process that must take place. In order to achieve optimal results, you need to support your body both before and after treatment. It’s best to plan on avoiding direct sun for two weeks before and after the treatment to avoid any adverse reactions.

Is IPL Right for Me?

Good candidates for IPL are those patients who have damaged skin as a result of sun prolonged sun exposure. Ideal candidates for this procedure usually wish to address irregular coloring or pigmentation of the skin, permanent stretching of the small blood vessels giving the skin a reddish appearance, they have flat spots of increased pigmentation, or they have shallow acne scars or large pores, or fine lines and wrinkles they’d like to address.

Good candidates are in good overall health, have fair or light skin, and have realistic expectations about what is possible with this treatment. This treatment has been shown to be less effective in patients with dark or tanned skin.

Why Should I Work With Wingfield Aesthetics?

At Wingfield Aesthetics, we offer customized treatments. We understand that cosmetic procedures are a very personal decision, and the treatments are specifically tailored to each patient we see. Our dedicated team works hard to stay up to date with the latest procedures, so you can rest assured that you’ll be receiving the best of what science and technology can offer, along with our excellent patient care. From advanced skincare to transformative procedures, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about this procedure and the difference we can make for you!