Photorejuvenation is a noninvasive modern skin treatment that can scientifically improve a person’s appearance by creating changes within the dermis at the cellular level. The handheld device delivers an array of wavelengths based on patient needs, allowing more patients to benefit from this treatment. There are several factors that lead to damaged and dull-looking skin, many of which can be corrected with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) sessions, a form of Photorejuvenation. Additionally, Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery utilizes one of the very best systems for IPL/photofacial treatments, the Sciton BBL (Broadband Light Device). Dr. Buckingham and his team at Buckingham Center of Austin, Texas, are accepting new patients for this innovative laser skin therapy.
Candidates for IPL Facial
Outpatient Intense Pulsed Light therapy, also called BroadBand Light (BBL) when the Sciton brand device is employed, can be performed to restore a youthful appearance to aging, sun-damaged skin that may display fine lines, prominent vessels and age spots. The broad-spectrum technology is so precise that it can also target broken blood vessels and rosacea that may result from the natural process of skin maturity, genetics, or even illness. Freckles and birthmarks can occur in skin of any age, and may also be improved through this technology. These treatments are commonly employed on the face, neck, décolleté, hands, and body and typically require three to six appointments for optimal results. Patients seeking extensive correction, such as lifting of the facial skin, may be better treated with a surgical treatment like Facelift, Neck lift, or Blepharoplasty (upper or lower eyelid surgery).
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
The technology behind the handheld device is a controlled heating of the surface layers of the skin, promoting underlying collagen and elastin formation, while adjusting discoloration and reducing the size of capillaries. It is because of these deeper structural changes that skin laxity can be improved. Intense Pulsed Light treatment is best suited for individuals with light to medium skin tones to prevent the melanin-targeting wavelengths from causing damage in darker complexions. A consultation with Dr. Buckingham will provide patients the platform to voice their aesthetic concerns and learn more about the benefits of IPL technology.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Prior to the procedure, patients will apply a topical anesthetic to the treatment areas. After a thorough cleansing of the skin, these sites will also be prepped with a cooling gel, which helps to ensure patient comfort during treatment. Patients are fitted with eye covers to protect their eyes from the pulsed light. A practitioner will adjust the settings of the handheld equipment and apply it to the skin. The pulsed light is then aimed over problem skin. Often, the full face is treated, while larger area regions of the body may be spot-targeted. The entire session can last between 30-45 minutes. Because patients are not medicated for the procedure, they are free to return home once released from the care of the Buckingham Center medical staff.
The IPL facial can be thought of as a lunchtime treatment for the working professional. There are no reported side effects aside from some temporary discoloration and sensitivity, and makeup can be applied right after an appointment. Sunscreen must be worn after a session, and treated skin should be cleansed and moisturized for the following week with products designed for sensitive skin. Results become visible over the next few weeks as deep cell renewal is accelerated.
Intense Pulsed Light Treatment Expectations
Intense Pulsed Light treatments are very effective due to the practitioner’s ability to adjust the wavelengths from 400-640 nm for a wide-ranging dermatological approach. Shorter light rays aim to combat dark pigmentation issues, the effectiveness of which has been clinically proven. Each sitting for IPL improves the skin, and patients can undergo monthly procedures (more specifically, every three weeks) for up to six months. Though results may not be immediately noticeable, the skin will continue to improve over time and gradually appear healthier.
There is no downtime necessary following the procedure, which is convenient to a patient’s schedule. Ablative treatments and chemical peels create deep injuries to the skin that can take weeks to heal, but Intense Pulsed Light therapy creates minimal discoloration that typically resolves in a few hours, or in the next couple of days with shed skin cells.
Medical Evidence Supporting the Efficacy of Intense Pulsed Light Treatments
Cosmetic medicine is an applied science that integrates new technologies into its practice on a regular basis, so contemporary approaches are commonly studied. Researchers at Stanford University published a study titled “Rejuvenation of Gene Expression Pattern of Aged Human Skin by Broadband Light Treatment: A Pilot Study,” where fifteen participants between the ages of 38 to 69 years with Fitzpatrick skin types I to IV (fair to medium) underwent at least one treatment over the entire face on an annual basis with an Intense Pulsed Light device (specifically, BBL). Participants were subjected to an objective evaluation through clinical photographs that were captured prior to the initial treatment and after the last session. The purpose was to invite viewers to determine the efficacy of treatment over a period of 5-11 years. The findings indicated that patients who received one to two annual Pulsed Light Treatment sessions over this time frame did in fact combat the cumulative effects of aging, such as photodamage, spider veins, fine line, and loose skin with natural results.
Common IPL Questions and Answers
There are a number of names for Intense Pulsed Light technology, including the following:
• BroadBand Light (BBL), which is the name of the trademarked device for the company, Sciton; other brand names include M-Light, E-Light, ELOS
• Photorejuvenation or Photofacial
• IPL facial
• Laser light therapy
Each procedure and device describes the same technique.
Treatments are performed in a private treatment room at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery of Austin, Texas.
There is some minor discomfort associated with the procedure. While every effort is made to ensure a comfortable experience, the sensation created by the light pulses is often compared to that of rubber bands snapped against the skin. The anesthetic cream and cooling gel are sufficient in providing light cooling and numbing relief.
While a laser light therapy can reverse certain imperfections in the skin, the aging process cannot be halted. As the skin matures, cell turnover slows naturally. It is recommended that patients undergo continued treatments or resort to more aggressive methods of skin rejuvenation if they seek extensive corrections that may not be possible through Intense Pulsed Light sessions.
BBL Laser Aftercare/BBL Laser Burns
Burns after BBL Laser are an infrequent but possible complication after therapy. It is important to work with an experienced practitioner when undergoing laser therapy. At the Buckingham Center, we have custom settings that help us minimize this risk as much as possible. It is always important to contact your provider should you be concerned that you have a burn as the depth of the burn will determine need for additional therapy.
Buckingham Center of Austin, Texas
Edward D. Buckingham, M.D. specializes in facial plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments to provide his patients with a variety of both surgical and nonsurgical options. The doctor has undergone rigorous training in facial anatomy and holds dual board certifications through The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and The American Board of Otolaryngology. Learn more about Intense Pulsed Light sessions by contacting the Austin office today at 512.401.2500 – Se Habla Espanol, or by filling out and submitting this Contact Form.