What is an IPL Photofacial?

What is an IPL Photofacial?  Why do I want one?

My complexion has always been my Achilles heel. I spend a lot of time outdoors. And I wear sun block faithfully. But over time, it seems no matter what I do, I get sun damage on my face. I get both brown spots (ugh!) and smaller white spots. Lately, I have noticed more of those unsightly spots on my chest and arms, too. Then I discovered photofacials at Rhoad to Beauty.

A photofacial is designed to pull darker sun damage, or pigmentation, to the surface of the skin, and these “chocolate chips” slough off. IPL stands for intense-pulsed light. It can lessen brown spots, reduce visible capillaries and rosacea. It also helps tighten pores. The light is attracted to pigment and draws it up to the surface. I discovered that, if you have a darker complexion, photofacials will need to done more conservatively and may require more than five treatments. It is always a good idea to consult with an aesthetician first about your goals and choices for best results.

In short, the object of the IPL photofacial is to even out skin tone and improve overall appearance. After a treatment, the dark spots usually take five to seven days to slough off. But by the second day you can wear mineral makeup to cover any temporary discoloration. In other words, there is no real “down time”.

An IPL photofacial should be performed by an aesthetician with the supervision of a physician, or by the doctor herself. Most people choose to apply numbing cream, for at least 20 minutes, to lessen any discomfort. The IPL treatment for the face only takes about 15 minutes. The feeling is similar to a rubber band snap. So, it is not relaxing per se, but it is worth the results. I used to have this dark brown butterfly-shaped spot on my cheek. No more! And I do not need heavy foundation to cover my complexion (which only makes my face break out). I now use only a tinted sunblock and mineral pressed base powder.

A series of five IPL treatments—one every three weeks or so– is recommended to get the optimal effect, but you can always try one or two and see how you like it. A treatment can range from $150 to $300, but special offers, such as a Groupon or nCrowd offer, are frequently available—just be sure of the proper training and good reputation of the provider before making a purchase. A “deal” is not always a good deal, as they say. At Rhoad to Beauty, where I have been a patient since 1996, for both medical and aesthetic purposes, Dr. Deirdre Rhoad is a board certified plastic surgeon and Molly Teeple is a licensed aesthetician with over 20 years’ experience.

General rules of thumb before and after a photofacial include avoiding sun exposure as much as possible and wearing a high SPF sunscreen with physical blockers, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It is all about treatment and prevention– looking the way you want and keeping it that way.  Stay beautiful, inside and out!

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