Phototherapy-IPL Broadband Light Treatment

Treatment of Sun Damage, Age Spots and Hyperpigmentation

FAQs – Phototherapy for Brown

What is IPL BroadBand Light?

IPL is an innovative light-based technology that sets new standards for treating skin conditions associated with aging, active life-styles and sun damage. IPL light energy allows your clinician to design treatments that are personalized for your skin and to precisely treat age and sun spots. IPL phototherapy is noninvasive compared to other cosmetic procedures, so you can receive more comfortable and effective treatments which fit your schedule.

How does IPL 515 work?

IPL deposits pulses of light energy that gently heat the upper layers of skin. Within the skin, the light energy is absorbed by targets, such as fine wrinkles, brown spots or pigmented lesions caused by an overproduction of melanin. This scientific and biological process destroys the target, eliminating it from the skin and restoring skin to its naturally beautiful state, blending its natural tones, making it more vibrant and youthful in appearance and feel.


What conditions can be treated with IPL 515?

  • Pigmented Lesions (e.g., freckles, age spots, melasma, hyperpigmentaion)•
  • Uneven Skin Texture will improve from all treatments and filters
  • Collagen stimulation

Can I do multiple treatments at once?

No, not on the same area, as different filters are needed for different treatments. For example, a brown (515 filter) treats brown spots or hyperpigmentation. A red filter (560 filter) treats redness, capillaries and rosacea. There is an Acne filter as well, in addition to others which treat other specific conditions. While some clinics will “stack” these treatments, we don’t. It’s very unsafe and can lead to burns that result in scarring. When you “stack” treatments, you also have to lower the filter settings to try to avoid burning; therefore, you don’t receive the best possible outcome from either (filter) treatment. This can cause a need for additional treatments, due to lower efficacy resulting from the “stacking”. Each area, and each filter used on that area, is considered one treatment.

What areas can be treated?

Any area of your body can be treated. The most popular treatments are on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, back and backs of the hands. Body areas tend to have more down time, redness, heat, brick marks and generally take longer to heal than the face or neck. They can have more discoloration during the healing process that can require a longer period of time to heal and may require a touch up for stripes or a microdermabrasion to smooth the treatment. The more sun damage you have the more likely you will need some aftercare measures to give an even smooth skin tone.

Can tanned or ethnic skin be treated?

An active tan from the sun or tanning beds is not appropriate for treating with IPL. Tanned skin has a lot of pigment or melanin, which may also absorb the IPL light energy. It is recommended that a person not have sun exposure or have used a tanning bed in the area to be treated for a period of 3-4 weeks prior to treatment with IPL. Self-tanners must be faded from the skin for at least 14 days prior to treatment. Discuss with your clinician the possibility of tanning during your series so that a safe regimen can be created. Ethnic skin is NOT a candidate for Photofacial treatments or other IPL therapies generally speaking. Be wary of any place that will perform IPL on dark ethnic skin, because you are always at risk for permanent scarring and increased hyperpigmentation, even if you have had successful treatments in the past. It’s not worth the risk when there are safe and effective ways to lighten and rejuvenate ethnic skin.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed varies from patient to patient, somewhere between 3-10 treatments is required depending on if your goals are cosmetic, therapeutic ot both. Your clinician will personalize a treatment plan based on your skin defects and the level of improvement you desire. Your clinician may also combine your treatment with other popular aesthetic procedures to further enhance the outcome. While you will see some improvements in pigmentation from one treatment generally more are required to get an even smooth look especially on the body areas. Touch ups to remove any residual striping that may occur can be performed at the 30 day mark. Microdermabrasion can also help restore a smooth look if needed.

What will happen during the procedure?

Your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. You may briefly feel a warm or “rubber band snap” sensation as the light is absorbed by the targeted areas. Depending on the amount of skin damage you may feel slight warmth to a significant burning sensation that will require a cold compress. The procedure itself take about 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of the area to be treated and where the procedure is performed.

Will it be uncomfortable?

The procedure is gentle, noninvasive and safe, some individuals are more sensitive than others and with more sun damage you will feel more heat. Sciton IPLS has a built in cooling system so most individuals feel that this procedure is more comfortable than other lasers they have experienced.

What should I expect after the treatment?

You may experience some redness, a “sunburned feeling” or extreme heat depending on where the procedure is on your body and how much sun damage you have.  These  symptoms generally resolve within a few hours-48 hours. Pigmented lesions will darken and gradually flake off and fade over the next 7-10 days on the body it can be up to 30 days. Often your treated skin will feel smoother, fine lines and pores will begin to be less noticeable, and sunspots or uneven pigmentation will fade. Results depend on your skin’s condition, the number of treatments, and the area being treated. Your clinician will provide you with complete information about the post-treatment care and results.How long will it take to recover? This is a noninvasive and gentle procedure with virtually no downtime compared to other cosmetic procedures. Face and neck have moderate downtime and can usually be covered with make-up. Body areas can take 30-45 days or more to resolve pigmentation depending on the severity of the sun damage on top of the skin and beneath the skin. Remember we are delivering a “burn” to the skin to stimulate healing and restoration. We use manufacturer recommended safe settings for your skin type and depending on how many previous treatments you have had. There is no way to tell how much damage is beneath the skin and occasionally you can have a more significant reaction. This is why you must sign a release and consent for treatment.

What aftercare do I need?

It is important to follow your clinician’s instructions. You may purchase skin care products that will enhance the benefits they will come instructions on how to use them. If brown spots are the target, IPL penetrates the skin to reach the melanocytes. The particles of the cells left behind will peel or slough off within 7-14 days.

There is generally little recovery time and a low risk of complications with Phototherapy treatments. Multiple sessions are performed every 2-4 weeks until the desired result has been achieved. The more damage the more potential for “down time” meaning you may choose to cover the area as it heals. And the more treatments are needed.

The treated area must be treated with care. BE GENTLE! Do not scratch or pick at your skin

Until sensitivity has completely subsided, avoid all of the following:

  • Use of scented lotions or soaps, exfoliant creams (Retin-A, glycolic / salicylicandalpha-hydroxyacids), acne creams or gels, loofa sponges and aggressive scrubbing
  • Hot or cold water – wash with tepid water
  • Shaving
  • Swimming pools and spas with multiple chemicals /chlorine
  • Activities that cause excessive perspiration
  • A cold compress or an ice pack can be used to provide comfort if the treated area is especially warm. This is typically only needed within the first 12 hours after the treatment.
  • Skin may be appear red, swollen and blotchy and have a mild sunburn sensation. This is a normal reaction. It can last from a few hours to days after treatment. Applying an ice pack for the first 24 hours will help minimize swelling.
  • Vitamin E or Aloe Vera applied to the treatment area may provide a soothing effect. Post treatment discomfort is typically minimal but if the area is very uncomfortable, oral pain relievers; i.e. Extra Strength Tylenol or Advil, may be used.
  • Freckles and sunspots may turn slightly darker initially and then flake off within 7-14 days. This is a desired and normal reaction.
  • There may be erythema (redness) and slight edema (swelling) and temporary marks from the crystal. Makeup may be applied immediately after the treatment as long as skin isn’t blistered.  In the unusual case of crusting of the skin in the treated area, apply an antibiotic ointment twice a day to the affected areas. Do not pick at these areas, as this may result in infection or scarring.
  • If the skin is broken or a blister appears, apply an antibiotic ointment and contact the office immediately. Keep the affected area moist and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Strictly avoid any sun exposure to the treated area for a minimum of 7 days after the procedure. The treated area is more prone to sunburn and pigmentation change. Keep the area covered and use a sun block with a protection factor of 30+, and reapply every 2 hours. Delayed blistering secondary to sun exposure has been noted up to 72 hours post treatment.
  • If in the middle of a series of PhotoTherapy treatments, sun exposure should be avoided between treatments and a sunblock should be Subsequent treatments are based upon your clinician’s recommendation and are typically 2-4 weeks apart.

Will insurance cover this procedure?

Phototherapy treatments, like other cosmetic procedures, are not usually covered by your insurance company. If you have any questions, it is best to talk with your provider.

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