How Long Does It Take for an IPL Photofacial to Work?

While many people think that wrinkles are the most common signs of aging, at Satin Med Spa in Charlotte, NC, we often see clients come in who are concerned about the appearance of highly visible facial veins, brown spots, and other aging signs. They know an IPL photofacial can help them enhance their aesthetic, but they don’t know how long they’ll have to wait for results.

An IPL photofacial is a safe, effective, FDA-approved laser treatment designed to improve the health, tone, texture, and quality of the skin. But it’s a little different from any other laser treatment you may have experienced or heard about. Today, we answer your top questions about treatment with this device.

How Long Does it Take for an IPL Photofacial to Work? 

An IPL treatment begins to work immediately. As soon as the pigments in your skin or hair follicles convert the light to energy, your body is working on improving your complexion, from the texture of your skin to the amount of unwanted hair on your face and body to the color.

However, just because your skin is working on improving itself doesn’t mean the results of that work are immediately apparent. It will take about a week before you start to see the results of your first treatment session. The final results of treatment won’t be visible for around four to six weeks.

How Long Does the Treatment Session Take? 

In nearly every case, an IPL treatment session will take under an hour. However, the precise length of your session will depend on several factors, including how far you are from your aesthetic goals and what goals you are trying to achieve.

On average, each treatment area can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. Larger areas take closer to half an hour, and smaller areas take closer to 20 minutes. Therefore, if you are trying to treat two or three small areas, your session will take around 40 to 60 minutes. We’ll give you a better idea of how long your session should be during your evaluation. 

How Many Sessions Will I Need? 

As with the duration of the sessions, the number of sessions will vary based on how far you are from your goals and which goals you are trying to achieve. On average, our clients require between three and six sessions to achieve most of their desired results. Hair removal usually requires between six and 12 treatment sessions.

Where Can Treatment Be Performed? 

The IPL photofacial is performed on the face. However, if you have skin problems on other parts of your body, such as volume loss-related wrinkles on your hands or freckles on your arms, those parts of your body can also be treated with our state-of-the-art IPL device. 

What Goals Can I Achieve? 

The great thing about IPL treatments is they encourage collagen production. Because collagen plays so many critical roles in keeping your skin young and healthy, you can achieve just about any skin goal you can imagine.

For example, one of the most popular types of aesthetic service is dermal fillers. This is because most wrinkles that occur after the age of 24 are caused by volume loss. Specifically, the volume loss is caused by a lack of collagen. An IPL session is perfect for this because the heat triggers collagen production. 

What Other Skin Problems Can I Treat? 

Besides treating volume loss-related wrinkles, IPL treatments can be used to erase freckles, birthmarks, varicose veins, age spots and sunspots, other signs of sun damage, rosacea, unwanted hair, and broken blood vessels on your face.

Can’t I Just Take Collagen Supplements? 

You can absolutely take collagen supplements if you’re not getting enough collagen in your diet. However, unless you are on an inordinately restrictive diet with a very low amount of protein and fruit, it’s virtually impossible to not get enough collagen in your diet.

The most important thing you can do for your skin health regarding collagen is to keep your skin producing it. This means coming in for regular professional skincare treatments, such as dermal filler injections, to keep your body’s production rate of collagen high.

How Frequently Should I Come in for Treatment? 

We strongly encourage our clients to come in once a month for three months. Unlike traditional laser treatments, you don’t need to schedule your sessions a month apart to allow your skin time to heal between sessions.

We recommend our clients wait at least four weeks to schedule a follow-up appointment because it takes about that long to see the final results of each session. Scheduling in such a manner allows you to get a decent feel of how close you are to achieving your aesthetic goals.

How Should I Prepare for Treatment? 

To prepare for treatment, it is very important that you protect your skin from the sun. You should also avoid exposure to other sources of UVA and UVB rays, such as tanning beds. When you go outside during the day, wear at least a broad-spectrum SPF 55 sunscreen. If possible, stay inside between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun’s rays are strongest.

What Else Should I Do to Prepare for Treatment? 

Be as gentle with your skin as possible. This means that you should not apply any topical medications, including retinol, vitamin A, or any photosensitive chemical. You should also avoid waxing, chemical peels, and collagen injections.

During your initial consultation, we will review your medical history and assess your current health to ensure there is nothing else you should do to prepare for treatment. If this seems like a lot of information to remember, don’t worry. We will give you a comprehensive list of everything you need to do before and after your session.

What Can I Expect During the Treatment? 

Another great thing about an IPL treatment is that there is absolutely no pain or discomfort. Very few of our clients opt for a topical anesthetic to numb the treatment site prior to the session beginning. Regardless of whether you choose an anesthetic, we will start your treatment by cleansing the area with a medical-grade, alcohol-based antiseptic.

Then, we will apply a cool gel onto the skin so the upper layers of your skin do not feel the heat. Next, we will give you a set of eye protection designed specifically to protect your eyes from the light emitted from this device. Finally, we will pulse light for roughly 20 to 30 minutes per treatment area to achieve the desired results.

What Can I Expect After Treatment? 

After treatment, you are pretty much free to return to your typical daily routine. For example, you can go back to work or school, making this the perfect lunchtime treatment. However, your skin will feel tighter than usual for a couple of days after treatment. Until your skin feels “normal” again, you should avoid using hot water to wash your face.

How Does Treatment Differ From a Laser Treatment? 

The primary difference between an IPL treatment and a laser treatment is the laser emits only a single wavelength of light. This single-focused beam has its benefits. However, the IPL releases several wavelengths of light. This makes it more effective for treating a wider range of skin conditions.

Another benefit of this scattered en
ergy is it penetrates all the way down to your dermis, which is the second layer of your skin. It does not harm the epidermis, either, which is the top layer of your skin. This means there is no risk of burning or any other type of damage to the top layer of your skin.

How Does an IPL Treatment Work? 

An IPL treatment works by emitting intense pulses of light. When the light reaches the pigments in the deeper layers of your skin, it is absorbed and converted into heat. This heat kills targeted pigment cells, such as brown spots and freckles. Or, it can target your dark hair follicles to prevent hair from ever growing again.

Is Treatment Safe? 

IPL treatments have been approved by the FDA as safe and effective for addressing skin concerns, such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and unwanted hair in most people. During your initial consultation, we will advise you if your medical history leads us to believe this is not the ideal aesthetic treatment for you.

For example, if you have a condition that is triggered by heat, a chemical peel is a better option for you to achieve your aesthetic goals. As another example, if you take aspirin every day to mitigate your risk of a heart attack and you can’t stop taking it for 14 days, an IPL treatment is not ideal for you.

Am I a Good Candidate for This Type of Skin Treatment? 

Whether an IPL treatment is right for you depends significantly on the type of results you’re looking for. For example, if you are looking for unwanted hair removal, you’re an ideal candidate if you have fairer skin and darker, thicker hair. However, the device we use is so customizable that treatment can still be effective if you have fair hair and pale skin or dark hair and skin.

Who Isn’t the Best Candidate for an IPL Facial? 

During your initial consultation, we will review your aesthetic goals to help you determine if a different aesthetic treatment will better help you achieve your goals. Medical conditions that make us consider alternative treatments for clients include clients who have a history of keloid scars, lupus, extreme sensitivity to light, porphyria, and active acne.

If you have an active acne breakout within 14 days of treatment, it is very important that you do not take Accutane. Accutane can make your skin extremely sensitive to light. You should also postpone this treatment if you have an active sunburn or skin infection.

What Aesthetic Treatments Complement IPL Treatments Well? 

The best aesthetic treatment to complement your IPL treatment will depend on your aesthetic goals. Let’s say your goal with an IPL session is to boost collagen production and smooth volume loss-related wrinkles, but you also have wrinkles caused by muscle hyperactivity. In such a case, a neuromodulator treatment, like Botox, is perfect for you.

What Is Botox? 

Botox is a neuromodulator treatment that has been approved by the FDA to relax hyperactive muscles since the 1970s. Originally, it was used for the purpose of treating the medical condition known as blepharospasms (uncontrollable eyelid spasms). In 2002, the FDA approved Botox for creating several cosmetic conditions, such as crow’s feet and frown lines.

What Can I Expect During Botox Treatment? 

During your Botox treatment session, we will cleanse the treatment area just like we do before an IPL session. If you’d like, we can numb the area before your session begins. However, the needle we use to administer the neurotoxin is so fine that you won’t feel any more than a slight pressure as it penetrates your skin.

The dosage you will receive and the number of injections you will need depends on the specific type of condition you are trying to treat and how significant your results need to be. Typically, if you are 25 and only have mild or moderate wrinkles, you will need fewer injections than someone who is 65.

How Long Does Treatment Take? 

As with your IPL treatment, this will depend on the results you’re trying to achieve, how many areas you are treating, and the size of those areas. On average, from start to finish, a Botox session will only take between 15 and 30 minutes. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Botox? 

During your initial consultation, we will determine if you are a good candidate for Botox when we review your medical history, perform your physical examination, and review your aesthetic goals. There are very few medical conditions that would preclude someone from being a good candidate for Botox.

With that being said, just because you are healthy enough for Botox does not mean that it will help you reach your aesthetic goals. The best candidate for this aesthetic treatment is an individual who is at least 18 years of age and wants to erase wrinkles caused by hyperactive muscles. 

How Do I Know What Is Causing My Wrinkles? 

You can tell if muscle hyperactivity is causing your wrinkles and you’re a good candidate for Botox by making facial expressions in a mirror. If your facial muscles are completely relaxed and your wrinkles are as bad as they are when you make facial expressions, they are caused by volume loss.

If your facial wrinkles deepen when you make facial expressions, such as squinting, frowning or smiling, muscle hyperactivity is the cause of your wrinkles. Neither anti-aging creams nor dermal fillers nor any laser or chemical peel treatment will erase these wrinkles. A neuromodulator is your only hope if you want to turn back the hands of time. 

Learn More About Improving the Health of Your Skin Today

You won’t get better skincare in the Triangle than at Satin Med Spa in Charlotte, NC. It only takes a week to see the initial results of an IPL treatment, and it only takes four to six weeks to see the final results of a given session.

Even better, you may only need three 20- to 60-minute sessions to get the results you’re looking for. To learn more about an IPL photofacial, contact us at Satin Med Spa in Charlotte, NC today to schedule your initial consultation. We will work closely with you to create a treatment plan that will help you heal your skin and boost your self-esteem. We hope to see you soon.

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