Treatment of the week: IPL for Sun damage

Our senior dermal therapist Yvonne is obsessed with helping her clients achieve their glowing skin goals.

She believes it is a serious commitment and one that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Just like getting healthy or loosing weight, skincare is about consistency.

It’s important you view skincare as part of your essential daily routine. Skincare is 70% your at home routine and 30% your in clinic treatments. Consider Face Plus your personal trainer.

You might only see your PT once a week, however, it’s expected you maintain your fitness between session…. especially if you hope to see results.

Yvonne is serious about the longevity of skincare mostly because she understands the process by which issues on the skin form. The skin is a living organ therefore when a problem such as acne, or a sun spot occurs it most likely hasn’t happened overnight. It has occurred over a period of time from a series of factors such as negligence, hormonal imbalance and environmental factors.

I asked Yvonne what’s a treatment she is most excited about at the moment. While, this varies based on the seasons, Yvonne is personally excited about IPL. As summer time is over and the warmer weather is finally drawing to a close, now is the perfect time to invest in treating sun damaged skin.  

IPL or Intense Pulsed Light Therapy is a broad spectrum white light that shatters the pigment attracted to the melanin and the blood. While many people associate IPL with laser hair removal, this kind of IPL helps treat the appearance of sun damage, sun spots and pigmentation caused by solar exposure.

In the long term IPL works to improve your skin tone and surface imperfections associated with ageing and sun exposure. The wave length of the IPL is short on the epidermis, so it doesn’t penetrate deep into the dermal layer of the skin. This means IPL isn’t a suitable treatment for melasma. It is suitable for clients that suffer any of the following on their face, neck and décolletage:

  • Skin redness
  • Tiny veins
  • Brown spots
  • Light (low contrast) brown spots

Why does your skin form these spots?
Sun damage. Yvonne is from Ireland so can attest to just how strong and brutal the Australia rays are. Every Australian has some form of sun damage. These marks are an inflammatory response to overexposure of UVA/UVB rays. The signs of sun damage generally start to manifest when women are in their late 20’s to early thirties, so this is the perfect age to begin IPL treatment.

How does IPL work?
Using an IPL hand piece areas of the skin are briefly heated causing the pigmented brown or red cells to have a therapeutic effect. When the pulse of light is delivered it feels like the skin is being flicked with a hot rubber band. A cool gel is applied to the skin before the treatment and aloe vera and ice are used post treatment to help soothe the skin. While there is a bit of pain, the laser therapists move quickly, so the pain is never concentrated.

Treatment time depends upon the area being treated, however most treatments take less than one hour and results are achieved within one to three treatments. Additional treatments may be required for especially damaged skin.

What happens post treatment?
The light triggers the spots to darken and to draw up to the top layer of the skin. Instantly after your treatment your complexion looks quite blotchy / dirty and the spots will continue to darken over the next 72 hours.

Over the course of 5-10 days they will form a scab like wound and dust / flake off on their own. The treatment does require quite a bit of downtime so it is important to factor that in if you have any social events / meetings in your calendar.

What are the do’s and don’ts post treatment?
After IPL you need to observe some strict skincare advice. Your skin may feel sunburnt/windburned so you want to nurture it

  • Do not exercise for 48 hours
  • No heat treatments like sauna’s, steam rooms, hot showers, avoid cooking over steam or hot ovens
  • Do not go in the sun
  • Do not apply any active creams or exfoliators
  • Do not apply heavy makeup. Opt for light mineral makeup and loose powders, as your skin will already feel dry
  • If you have had IPL on your neck/ décolletage, avoid scratchy fabrics like wool. let your skin breathe

Your skin will feel quite dry so it’s important to keep it hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water and apply 30SPF. Wear a hat and sunnies.

To read more about how IPL can help resolve your pigmentation issues read our other blog post here
And… Lift Off!: Lift and Remove Pigmentation
IPL & Pigmentation Treatment

Book in to see Yvonne at our Bondi Junction Clinic or meet some of our other highly trained dermal and laser therapists at our Bondi Beach and Bankstown Boutique.

You will need to book in for a thorough skin consultation & patch test before undergoing IPL treatment. 
Call: 02 8897 0000
Email: [email protected]

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