Patients in Arlington, VA discover what to expect from intense pulsed light therapy

For patients in Arlington, VA and the surrounding areas, intense pulsed light therapy is a popular treatment to reduce the visible signs of aging or sun damage. With less downtime than laser procedures, IPL treatments are a safe, effective alternative to achieve smoother, brighter skin.

Intensed pulsed light therapy, or IPL therapy, uses light energy to treat targeted areas of the skin. It is used to treat signs of sun damage and small veins for more even texture. This treatment reduces discoloration of the skin including irregular brown and red spots caused by sun damage. Sun spots or broken capillaries appear on the skin’s surface making the skin look older. Chronic sun exposure damages and ages the skin.

How it works

Intensed pulsed light treatments reduce the irregular discolorations to produce more even, brighter skin. The light energy heats and breaks up the areas of color. IPL uses a range of wavelengths of light as it targets discoloration. Discolorations appear on the skin over time from sun exposure. Filters block wavelengths that could damage the skin so the possibility of harming normal pigment is greatly reduced.

The treatment is safe for most skin types except the very darkest. Patients with tans should allow the tan to fade before undergoing tanning and should not tan between treatments. IPL therapy is often recommended for patients with brown discolorations, age spots, or freckles. It is also used to treat sun spots, broken capillaries, and rosacea.

This treatment has become popular with many patients. When performed under the guidance of a medical professional, IPL therapy is safe and effective. Benefits of intense pulsed light therapy include the following:

  • Improves the appearance of sun damaged or wrinkled skin
  • Treats brown discolorations such as age or liver spots and freckles
  • Removes broken capillaries on the face, neck, and chest
  • Reduces redness from rosacea
  • Requires little to no downtime
  • Is safe with minimal risks
  • Stimulates new collagen for improved skin tone

What to expect

Intense pulsed light treatments are effective for pigmentation and broken capillaries. IPL targets pigment and blood within your skin without harming the surrounding areas of the skin. It is a safe, effective way to unwanted discolorations and improve skin tone in a comprehensive treatment. Noticeable improvement can often be found with a single treatment. Most patients require 3-4 treatments for optimal results. Little to no downtime is needed following treatments. Treatments are generally less than an hour and can be repeated every 4 weeks.

During an IPL treatment, the energy heats and destroys skin cells that contain the pigment being targeted. Once the cells have been destroyed, they rise to the surface, darken, and flake off. This process can take several weeks. The flaking process needs to be completed before having another treatment. This is part of the healing and improving process.

Treatments are safe and precise. Side effects are rare and generally temporary. The most common side effect is redness or flushing from the treatment. This should fade within a few hours. Patients can return to work and resume their normal activities after treatments.

Although wrinkles and skin texture are not the main focus of IPL treatments, patients may notice a smoother, finer skin texture after the procedure. During the treatments, the IPL light stimulates collagen synthesis in the skin. This added benefit of the treatment helps improve overall skin tone and texture.

After IPL treatments, brown spots may recur because the cells in the area had already been damaged meaning they will have the tendency to turn brown in those areas. Following IPL treatments, it is important to be diligent with your skincare regimen. Use sun protection such as a daily broad spectrum sunscreen and avoid the sun during peak hours. This not only protects the skin to prevent spots in new areas but it helps slow the possibility of recurrence of spots in the treated areas. Remember, sun exposure is possible even while driving in the car so wear sunscreen daily. IPL treatments help smooth and brighten your skin to get you started toward achieving beautiful, healthy skin. You need to keep up with a good skincare routine to maintain it.

Take steps today to improve the health and appearance of your skin. Contact Washington Dermatology Consultants for an appointment. Call 571-431-6175.

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