As the name suggests, Photofacials are light-based facial treatments used for pigmentation issues and skin blemishes.
Photofacials are easily done on any body part with an exception of eyelids and area above the eyes. These procedures should be performed by a medical professional.
Types of Photofacials Procedures
The two most common photo facial procedures are:-
- Intense pulsed light (IPL) or Pulsed light therapy
- Light emitting diode (LED).
IPL is done with a handheld device which emits pulses of broad spectrum light. These pulse of light when in direct contact with the skin, acts on the deeper layers. This makes IPL an ideal method to treat broken capillaries, heal sun damage and other impurities.
LED photofacials are done with handheld devices or lamps which emit a range of colors of the LED light. The color of the light influences the effects. For example:
- Red light is the one that stimulates collagen production and treats fine lines and wrinkles.
- The blue light treats acne by killing bacteria that cause acne.
- Greenlight works by breaking up melanin for easier absorption. This thus lightens the skin.
LED photofacials act on the outer layer of skin or epidermis, making it the preferred procedure for treating surface blemishes like acne.
Who does LED facials?
LED facials are done at licensed medical facilities, spas and even at home. However, it is advisable to do this procedure under a qualified medical practitioner.
Mode of action of IPL Photofacial.
The hemoglobin (red blood cells) and melanin (pigmentation) soak up the IPL photofacial light, intentionally damaging these areas. The melanin breaks upon damage and is absorbed by the skin. Thus the level of melanin is decreased on the skin’s surface, leading to a lighter shade skin. The hemoglobin on damage increases blood flow. This increased blood flow removes melanin more efficiently.
Application of photofacials.
Skin blemishes and pigmentation issues are mainly treated by photofacials. Several other specific conditions that are treated with both IPL and certain LED are:
- Large Pores
- Acne scars.
- Broken capillaries (blood vessels)
- Spider veins
- Sunspots / Sun damage
- Age spots / Liver spots
- Fine lines
- Port wine stains
- Removing unwanted hair
- Vascular lesions
LED photofacials are more effective for acne. All the rest of the above mentioned skin conditions are better treated with IPL.
Experiencing a photofacial.
LED photofacials are simple. You wear an eye protective gear and spend a set amount of time facing an LED lamp or holding a handheld device to your face.
IPL laser photofacials are a little complex. A cool gel is applied to your face. Then, the treatment starts as a handpiece with a cold smooth surface runs along your skin as it pulses light. After this procedure is over, you are provided with moisturizer and a cold pack to prevent swelling.
IPL photofacials are performed in a sequence. Each treatment lasts from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the quantum of skin under treatment. Typically, it takes between three and six treatments spaced roughly one month apart to achieve the desired results.
LED photofacials are also performed in a sequence. Five to twelve treatments may be needed for best results. How long the treatment will continue depends on the device and the amount of skin under treatment. LED photofacials are painless.
There are no significant side effects with LED photofacials.
IPL photofacials generally have some mild side effects which remain from a few hours to one week.
- Bruising – This side effect is fairly uncommon and mild.
- Tiny blisters – Again uncommon but if they happen, they fade with time.
- Mild swelling
- Redness – Generally goes away after a few hours.
- Brown spots – Dark spots will be seen for a week but they will then fade away.
- Crusting – The dark spots that you’ve got treated will grow hard and begin to flake. This is temporary. This happens when the intensity is high and when treating a severe or a deeper condition.
It will take several weeks and several treatments before you see significant results.