You may once have had blemish-free skin, but years of being out in the sun can pepper your face and other parts of your body with dark spots, called everything from age spots to sun spots to solar lentigines. A few freckles may look cute, but a faceful of blemishes gets old very quickly. Fortunately, you can banish those spots with a visit to Med Physique Center for Aesthetics in Austin, Texas.
Our expert team of aestheticians understands how self-conscious skin blemishes can make you feel, which is why we offer the IPL (intense pulsed light) photofacial. Here’s what you need to know about your skin and how to banish its detracting elements.
About your skin
As you age, your skin can develop hyperpigmented areas, since the sun triggers melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its overall color. People with light skin start with less melanin than a person with dark skin, but whenever you expose your skin to the sun’s UV rays, it produces additional melanin, spreading out the pigment to protect the deeper layers. We call this a “tan.”
Sometimes, though, the melanin clumps together and forms brown spots which, unlike a tan, don’t fade away. In fact, in some cases, they become larger and darker. And the longer you live, the more you expose your skin to the sun, which is why older people tend to have more "age spots'' than younger ones.
No matter what you call them, these dark blemishes may appear in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors:
- Flat or lightly textured
- Round or oval
- Tan, light brown, brown, or dark brown
- Dot-sized up to half-an-inch wide
- Single or in clusters
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy
Intense pulsed light is similar to a laser treatment, but while a laser focuses a single wavelength of light onto your skin, IPL releases many different wavelengths to target a number of different problems.
IPL penetrates down to the middle skin layer (dermis), which is where age spots reside, without damaging the top layer (epidermis). That means it causes less overall damage to your skin.
Melanin cells absorb the light energy, which is converted into heat, breaking up the age spots and destroying the unwanted pigment.
The IPL photofacial procedure
When you come into Med Physique Center for Aesthetics for an IPL photofacial, the aesthetician cleans the treatment area then rubs a cool gel onto your skin. She also gives you dark glasses to wear to protect your eyes. Finally, she uses the IPL handheld device to direct the light pulses onto your skin.
You might feel a slight stinging sensation as the light penetrates, but most people say it’s no worse than a rubber band snap. Depending on how large the treatment area is, your session should take 20-30 minutes. Most people develop mild redness or swelling following the procedure, but these fade within a day or two.
Your aesthetic goals determine the number of treatment sessions you need. Many people get three to six treatments, spaced about one month apart to let the skin heal as they watch their age spots disappear.
Maintaining your results
If you’ve gone to the trouble to have your age spots removed, you don’t want them reappearing at the next possible opportunity. That’s why we recommend our patients:
- Always use sunscreen (SPF 30 to be safe)
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours
- Wear a hat with a brim to shade your face
- Wear long sleeves and slacks when you go outside
- Stay away from tanning beds
If you’ve got unsightly age spots on your face or any other part of your body, an IPL photofacial might be just what you need to get blemish-free. Give Med Physique Center for Aesthetics a call at 512-361-2650 to schedule a consultation, or book online with us today.