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What Is a Photofacial? 

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Senior woman examining her face.

The world of skincare is constantly evolving. There are several innovative, non-invasive treatments available that can help individuals achieve their desired skin!

A photofacial uses IPL technology to improve the appearance of skin by brightening skin tone, and evening skin texture, reducing hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, by stimulating collagen production in the skin.  

What is a Photofacial?

A photofacial, also known as a photo rejuvenation treatment, is a gentle, non-invasive skincare procedure that uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology to improve the appearance of the skin. 

Unlike traditional laser treatments, which use a single wavelength of light, IPL delivers multiple wavelengths, allowing it to target various skin issues simultaneously. A photofacial goes beyond a traditional facial and uses heat to penetrate the skin to target unwanted imperfections.

Despite being called a “photofacial” IPL therapy can be used on several areas of the body, such as: 

  • Face 
  • Neck 
  • Chest 
  • Hands
  • Arms 

How does IPL Technology Work?

IPL technology works by emitting broad-spectrum light pulses that penetrate the skin’s surface. These light pulses are absorbed by the melanin in the skin and the blood vessels, converting light into heat. 

This process helps to break down unwanted pigment, constrict blood vessels, and stimulate collagen production, leading to a brighter, even-toned skin

Benefits of IPL Therapy for Improved Skin

There are several benefits to using IPL technology for photofacials. They include: 

  • Reducing Hyperpigmentation: IPL therapy effectively targets dark spots, sun spots, and age spots, helping to reduce hyperpigmentation to create a more even skin tone.
  • Minimizing Redness: For individuals with rosacea or general skin redness, IPL can help to reduce the appearance of dilated blood vessels and redness, 
  • Improving Skin Texture: By stimulating collagen production, IPL treatments can help to improve skin texture, making it tighter, smoother, and brighter, and reducing the look of pores. 
  • Reducing Fine Lines and Wrinkles: The increased collagen production helps in minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promoting a more youthful look.
  • Treatment of Acne and Acne Scars: IPL can target the bacteria responsible for acne and reduce inflammation, making it an effective treatment for active acne and the scars left behind. 

Is IPL Therapy for Everyone?

While photofacials are gentle and safe for most skin types, they may not be suitable for everyone. Consult with your doctor or let our team know if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Recent Sun Exposure: Those with recent sun exposure or use of tanning beds should avoid undergoing an IPL treatment for a few weeks, as it increases the risk of burns and skin damage.  
  • Certain Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as lupus or other photosensitive disorders, should avoid IPL treatments. Additionally, those who are pregnant or taking medications that increase sensitivity to light should consult with their healthcare provider before undergoing a photofacial.
Woman getting IPL at Southwood Aesthetics.

What to Expect During Your Photofacial Procedure

Understanding what to expect during your photofacial session can help you feel more comfortable and prepared for the treatment.

Before your first session, you’ll have a consultation with our team. This will include a review of your medical history, which skin imperfections you would like to target, and a discussion about your expectations regarding treatment.

Avoid tanning beds for a few weeks and direct sun exposure by wearing sun protection for a few days before your session. Be sure to inform your team about any active skincare products you are currently using, like retinoids.

Avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses to your appointment. Try to arrive with fresh, clean skin. 

The photofacial treatment itself takes anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the treatment area and the skin imperfections you’d like to target. During the session, you’ll have to wear protective goggles to shield your eyes against the bright light from the IPL device. 

During your photofacial session, you may feel some pressure, heat, and bright light from the IPL device. Overall, it’s a gentle procedure! If you feel any pain or discomfort during your procedure, please notify your technician right away! 

After-care Following Your Photofacial

Fortunately, the non-invasive nature of IPL means no downtime! Meaning, after your session, you’ll be able to continue with your daily activities.

The results from a photofacial are gradual, however, some individuals may notice an improvement in their skin after a few sessions! Everyone’s treatment plans are personalized to their preferences and unique skin concerns. About 3 to 5 sessions spaced about 3 to 4 weeks apart are recommended for optimal results. This will be further discussed during your consultation! 

After the procedure, you may experience some redness around the skin and some darkening of pigmented spots. In about a week, the pigment will flake off, leaving you with a more even skin tone. Try not to pick these flakes off!  

Keep your skin moisturized, and hydrated, and be proactive in using sun protection for at least 3 days after your treatment. Use gentle skincare products and avoid any harsh exfoliants or actives like retinoids for several days after the treatment. 

During your photofacial sessions, avoid other cosmetic treatments that are performed in the same targeted areas. Undergoing various treatments may irritate your skin. Consult with our team if you have any questions! 

Schedule a Consultation! 

Photofacials, powered by IPL technology, offer a gentle and non-invasive solution for individuals seeking to improve their skin’s appearance. Connect with our team at Southwood Aesthetics to schedule a consultation for your photofacial session!

Written by Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery

Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba and later completed the Doctor of Optometry program at Illinois College of Optometry graduating with Magna Cum Laude honours. Dr. Chaudhery is also a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society and the Tomb and Key Honor Fraternity. She has experience with pediatric eye exams, ocular disease, specialty contact lenses, and vision therapy. During her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton and spending time with her husband and kids.
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