For pigmented/brown lesions, the IPL laser is absorbed by melanin. Many of the pigmented cells are denatured during treatment and rise to the surface of the skin leaving a coffee-ground appearance on your skin. For vascular lesions, the IPL laser is absorbed by hemoglobin in the veins. The heat from the laser produces photocoagulation that ultimately destroys the vessel.
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When treating brown spots or melasma, there can be immediate darkening of some of the areas treated. The response typically resolves in 7-14 days, at which time most people will notice a slight lightening of many superficial brown spots. To improve deeper pigmented areas and brown spots, a series of treatments will be needed. When treating the face, neck and chest area for redness, there can be increased redness that appears patchy and more evident after treatment.
BEFORE: You will need to remove all makeup and moisturizers when you come in for your treatment. Many people find it easier not to wear makeup to their appointment. Don’t use any self-tanners 4 weeks prior to IPL and avoid sun exposure. Avoid treatments that may irritate your skin 1-2 weeks prior to treatment such as waxing or microdermabrasion. If you have a history of herpes or cold sores, you may need an anti-viral prescription prior to treatment.
AFTER: Avoid sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent further sun damage. Bruising, redness and swelling are common and resolve with time. Do not pick at treated areas. Treated pigment will exfoliate off the face in approximately 1 week and off the body in 2-3 weeks. Avoid heat – hot tubs, saunas, etc. for 1-2 days. Avoid skin irritants such as products containing tretinoin, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic/salicylic acids, astringents, etc. Please remember to follow the recommended skin care regimen provided in our office.
* Staying hydrated can help in the healing process.
For optimal results, you will need up to 6 treatments to treat brown spots and 3-4 treatments to treat redness. Treatments are done every 3-4 weeks. Many people get Laser Genesis at the same time as IPL for improved results.