What does a Photofacial treat?
A series of Photofacial treatments are highly effective for a variety of skin conditions such as sun damage or brown spots, broken capillaries, small spider veins, general skin redness and facial flushing. These treatments consistently and predictably improve the visible appearance of the skin with little or no down time.
How does a Photofacial treatment work?
Photo Facial is performed with a light technology known as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). A hand held device attached to the machine delivers a bright burst of light. That light penetrates through the skin and is absorbed by dilated vessels and excessive pigmentation, without any damage to the skin. By utilizing specific light parameters the color of the skin (skin tone) can be improved with no down time.
What areas can be treated?
Any area of your body can be treated. The most commonly treated areas are those most exposed to the damaging affects of sun light such as face, neck, back of the hands, chest, arms and shoulders. Those who start with treatments on just the face usually are delighted with the results and before long move onto address the damage on the other areas to bring them all into the same decade!
How many treatments will I need and how often?
Generally we recommend 3-5 treatments (3 weeks apart) depending on the amount of damage to the skin. After the initial series, maintenance sessions are often needed. Most of the damage to our skin occurred early on in life. What brings it to the surface is more sun exposure and time. Reports show patients return every 4-6 months for a follow-up treatment because they love the way the treatment improves their appearance.
How much improvement will I see?
Typically 75-95%, on average 90% improvement is seen in most patients.
Are there any conditions that this treatment won’t help?
It won’t treat frown lines, sometimes known as lines of expression on the face, especially the forehead and between the brows. It is not a substitute for a face-lift and will not help sagging skin. It won’t cure the puffiness around the eyes for which blepharoplasty surgery is needed. It is not a treatment for skin cancer. It won’t remove bumpy moles, but can remove their pigment. It will remove, however, acquired freckling. Genetic freckles usually return after treatment. It won’t remove those strands of deep parallel blood vessels occasionally seen on the lower cheeks. It will not remove raised or flat growths such as seborrheic keratosis which are tiny genetic growths on the upper cheeks and around the eyes sometimes called dermatosis papulosa nigra. It also won’t remove sebaceous hyperplasia, a benign growth of some oil glands that is seen more in mid life.
Who should NOT get a Photofacial?
It is not safe for recently sun-tanned skin or for those who may receive excess sun exposure in the immediate weeks following treatment. The treatment is not performed on women who are pregnant or breast feeding and is not advisable for those with connective tissue disease, autoimmune disorders, pacemakers or those prone to keloids. It should not be performed on those taking Accutane or for six months after stopping Accutane. Photofacial is not usually performed on skin with active acne cysts, large pustules, or highly active Rosacea (this depends on the condition of the skin, most rosacea patients benefit greatly from Photofacials). Most photosensitive medications such as antibiotics, anti anxiety, sulfa drugs, birth control pills and anti-hypertensive medications are not a concern. For individuals who get fever blister attacks (herpes simplex) on the face, an anti-herpes medication should be taken prior to treatment.
Are there any side effects?
Because of the inherent safety of the procedure, most side effects are mild and of short duration. There is usually mild redness immediately following treatment, lasting less than 24 hours in most people. On rare occasions the redness may last up to three days. Mild blistering and bruising is possible, but in our experience occur in less than 1% and usually clear very quickly. Mild swelling of the face for several days occasionally occurs in severely sun-damaged skin due to reduced quality of connective tissue around the blood vessels. Post treatment increased pigmentation has been noted on occasion, but is usually highly treatable and fortunately very rare. Even rarer is a loss of pigmentation of the skin, scarring, or infection. These are not probable outcomes but can occur. The risks of the known common and uncommon side effects will be reviewed with you at the time of your consultation.
Will it be uncomfortable?
The procedure is gentle, non-invasive and safe. A warm or “rubber band snap” sensation may be felt as the light is absorbed by the targeted areas but there should be minimal or no discomfort. Of course sensation can vary from person to person but most find that they can easily tolerate it without much complaint.
What can I expect during my treatment?
Each treatment lasts 30-60 minutes. Upon your arrival you will sign your consent form, read over your post care instructions, and then we will direct you to our face washing station to remove all make up, sunblock, and face creams. Men will be asked to shave on the day of treatment, prior to their arrival. If any herpetic lesions (cold sores) or bacterial infections are noted on the day of the procedure, the treatment will be cancelled until the condition has been treated and completely healed. Eye shields will be applied to protect the eyes. A cool soothing gel will be placed on the skin prior to treatment, which will help reduce discomfort. In addition, a cold air is blown on the skin to help with any discomfort and to further cool the surface of the skin. Prior to the first pulse we will count to three to warn you. The machine also has a gentle beep, which can help prepare you for the next pulse. After the procedure you may be asked to ice the area, and will be given any additional post-treatment instructions as necessary.
What can I expect after my treatment?
Redness similar to a mild sunburn following the treatment lasts less than 24 hours for most people (in rare cases, no longer than three days). Avoid anything that creates heat for 2 days after treatment (hot bath, sauna, exercise, etc.). Avoid direct sun exposure (natural and artificial) for 7-10 days following each treatment. Pigment present in the treated area will usually darken; this is referred to as “microcrusting”. Do not pick or scratch these areas, this will naturally flake off in 3-14 days depending on the area of the body treated. We highly recommend a microdermabrasion after your treatment to help remove the remaining crusting (1 week for face, 2 weeks for body parts after Photofacial treatment). We will provide you with complete take home information about the post treatment care and maintenance of your results.
Can I accomplish this result with a laser resurfacing treatment like Pixel?
No. Pixel may very well help with fine lines and some superficial pigmentation, but it does not affect or remove blood vessels or flushing. In fact, in some extreme cases it can worsen this condition. Pixel is a wonderful treatment for addressing the texture of the skin, reducing fine lines/wrinkles, and making pores less visible, but it is not a substitute for PhotoFacial. Since these treatments do different things we highly recommend a combination of Pixel and Photofacial treatments for best results.
Can I accomplish the same results with facials, chemical peels, or microdermabrasions?
No. PhotoFacialtreatments can be used in conjunction with these services but they do not provide the results that Photofacials can. It is highly recommended to receive a microdermabrasion a few days or immediately before a Photofacial to help exfoliate the skin and prepare the surface of the skin for maximum light absorption.