Have you ever looked in the mirror and regretted all those years you laid in the sun working on your "tan"? If I could go back in time, that's the one thing I would tell my younger self, "Use sunscreen, wear a hat!". Unfortunately, I can't turn back the clock, but because I've been wearing sunscreen for the last decade my facial skin is in pretty good condition, it's my chest that really shows my age. It literally looks like the above picture, red in the area just below my neck with tiny little bumps that are slightly raised. My skin guru told me it was the result of sun damage from years past, but she also told me there was a way to "remove" the sun damage and have my healthier skin reemerge.
IPL, short for Intense Pulsed Light, is a not-so-new technology that does a number of cosmetic treatments for skin, including photo rejuvenation, which removes wrinkles, spots and texture due to sun damage. The process uses CO2 lasers to make small, controlled wounds on the skin, prompting it to heal itself by creating new, healthy cells. A small hand held device directs short pulses of visible light over the skin's surface. The light targets certain skin imperfections such as age spots and other pigmentation irregularities, small blood vessels and background redness. The damaged skin literally sheds about a week after the treatment and the healthier skin gradually emerges.
Depending on the level of sun damage, more than one treatment is needed, but the rule of thumb for optimal results is 3 treatments 4 weeks apart. Some people need more, some less. My sun damaged chest took three treatments, and it absolutely did the trick! Where it was once red and rough textured, is now smooth and the same color as the rest of my skin. I was told I may have to have some "maintenance" treatments down the road if I want to keep up the new clarity, so I'm already factoring in another treatment in next years annual beauty budget (it gets bigger every year!).
When it comes to skin clarity and even tone, IPL photo facial is the best thing I've ever done. And although it's not technically an anti-aging treatment, the healing process from the light emissions also boosts collagen production.
I have white skin, so I was a very good candidate for IPL photofacial, but people with very dark skin, such as African Americans or people of Italian or Middle Eastern descent may experience changes in skin pigmentation with IPL. As with any treatment you do to your face or body, go to a reputable and experienced aesthetician for a consultation. They will know if you should undergo IPL or go with another treatment.