The Healing Power of Lasers
While some sun damage can be permanent, very often lasers can be used to stimulate the body to renew itself. Depending on the depth of renewal needed, a laser can be used to target a specific level of the skin as well as target a certain structure in the skin, such as a blood vessel, pigment or water within the skin.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) specifically targets the pigment or melanin in the skin to effectively remove the targeted sun damage or pigmentation issues. At Lasting SkinSolutions®, we use a specialized type of laser called BroadBand Light or BBL as a form of supercharged IPL. Once the pigment has been removed it is less likely to be prone to permanent sun damage and thereby reduce the risk of skin cancer. The cosmetic effect is improved color, tone and texture to the skin that can last 1-2 years.
What is it? The Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) procedure is essentially a heat treatment targeting brown spots on the skin to remove them and improve overall color, tone and texture.
It is not a Laser treatment (which is one specific wavelength) but is multiple wavelengths that can target the dark brown pigments of the skin. Pigmented lesions absorb the light energy and dissipate it as heat energy, causing brown pigment on the skin’s surface to flake off while deeper pigmentation is broken up and re-absorbed by the body.
Why? Sun Damage to the skin is primarily a result of sun exposure occurring before the age of 18. Individuals with fair skin can be more genetically susceptible. Prolonged sun exposure, incidence of sunburn, and family history of skin cancer can predispose an individual to skin of skin cancer. Removing visible and invisible sun damage before it turns to pre-cancerous lesions or skin cancer is recommended. The more sun damage incurred the more likely you are to need multiple treatments, while some sun damage may be irreversible. Yearly skin checks by your dermatologist, along with yearly IPL treatments, proper skin care regimens with sun blocks and a protective anti-oxidant is recommended. If a personal history of skin cancer or prevention is desirable, Levulan is added to the treatment protocol to aid in pre-cancerous lesion removal. Levulan can also be used to make the IPL treatment three times more effective.
How is it done? The procedure will last anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the condition of the skin being treated and how many sites are being done. Patients experience mild discomfort during an IPL treatment because of the brief, but intense heat it generates with each pulse. A gel packs or other cooling methods are used during and/or after your procedure to minimize the heat sensation.
Post treatment recovery time usually consists of the appearance of browning/crusting of the pigmentation over the first 3-5 days lasting up to 2 weeks. You should keep sun exposure to a minimum during this period, and always use a sun block that contains Zinc Oxide afterward to protect and soothe the skin. After the treatments your skin will respond to the sun the same way it has in the past. IMPORTANT!! If Levulan is used, you must remain out of indoor or outdoor light for 30 hours after the application of this solution to the skin. A wrap is applied to the skin to protect it from the light. This should remain in place for the 30 hours unless you are in the dark.
Risks/Precautions? Patients should avoid sun exposure and tanning 6 weeks prior to treatment. If the darkness of a patient’s skin is close to the darkness of their pigmentation, the light will be absorbed by the surrounding skin and diminish the treatment’s effectiveness while increasing the chances of unwanted side effects. The treated area may look and feel a little “sunburned,” so expect some redness, which only lasts for 1 – 2 hours, and slight swelling, which can last for 1 – 3 days. Dark spots may darken over the next 3-5 days and complete repair of the skin can take 2-3 weeks. It is strongly recommended that clients who have a history of cold sores should be pretreated with an anti-viral (such as Valtrex) to reduce the risk of herpes breakout. The Valtrex should to be taken the day before, the day of, and the day after treatment.
Results? Your skin will have a more even tone and appear brighter and healthier.
Why LSS? The experienced staff at Lasting SkinSolutions® will customize your treatment to your individual needs and circumstances giving you the safest, most optimal treatment possible. By delivering unsurpassed results in fewer treatments, we’ll save you money in the end.
Contact the Madison skin restoration specialists at Lasting Skin Solutions® for a professional skin care consultation.