Last week we continued our appreciation for the mighty IPL and how it can be used for hair removal (read about it here!), but it doesn’t end there! That’s because this awesome, light-based treatment is perfect for a whole host of different skin conditions, which is why – this week – we’re here to tell you about the results you can get when using it for pigmentation.
A quick recap on pigmentation: A common condition that occurs when the body produces too much melanin, it can manifest itself in a variety of different non-raised skin patches, such as sun damage, age spots and hormone-related melasma. This is because it occurs beneath the surface of the skin. Some causes of pigmentation include excessive sun exposure, injury and hormones. Read more in our blog here.
What is IPL treatment for pigmentation?
By now you’ll understand how the process works – using quick and powerful flashes of light to pulse through the skin’s surface to target a specific area, notably somewhere dark (think hair, for example). This is because the light is absorbed by pigmented areas, before being converted into heat, thus allowing it to destroy said area. In the case of pigmentation, the part of the skin being obliterated is the unwanted pigment (melanin), which is first broken down into smaller particles before flaking away from the surface as part of a natural healing process – either as temporary scabs or through the body’s lymphatic system.
What to do before IPL
When thinking about IPL pigmentation removal, you’ll first need to ensure that the signs you’re seeing on your skin are actually pigmentation, and not something else. For this reason, we always advise ensuring you get the right diagnosis beforehand.
What to expect after IPL
You should be prepared for the spots to darken the day of treatment and be present for seven to 10 days afterwards until the natural healing process sloughs off the pigmented areas. However, other than this – and one of the best things about having IPL treatment for pigmentation – is that there is very little downtime or any major aftercare required whatsoever. That’s because unlike laser, it doesn’t cause any deep resurfacing so, at worst, you might leave with some minor redness that shouldn’t take long to clear up. You may notice that the targeted marks initially appear browner – this is totally normal and will resolve itself in a matter of days. You should expect a course of up to four consecutive sessions for best results.
Is IPL safe for me?
If you’re fair skinned, then absolutely. If you have naturally dark or tanned skin – real or fake – you may want to avoid this one as the risk of complications, such as burning or permanent pigmentation changes, is much higher. This is because it can mess with the IPL pigmentation machine’s ability to target the unwanted melanin. If you use Retin-A, too (for the treatment of acne), you should also make sure you stop it a week or two before treatment to prevent extra sensitivity. You should also refrain from the treatment two weeks before or after a holiday in the sun. A note for everyone – regardless of skin tone: IPL treatment for pigmentation should always be conducted by a reputable clinic with trained therapists, if you want to avoid permanent scarring and other side effects. If it is, you can expect a textbook recovery post treatment.
We’re always available to advise so feel free to pop into our salon for a consultation!
How many IPL treatments for pigmentation?
Pigmentation will develop again over time – especially if you don’t make any changes to the aggravating factors that caused it in the first place, such as prolonged exposure to sun. (Read all about that here and here!) As well as making necessary lifestyle changes, therefore, be prepared to top-up with a couple of maintenance sessions each year after your initial course of treatment.
IPL treatment for skin pigmentation also works well in conjunction with face peels – something else we’re proud to offer here at Lovoir. Read more about the benefits here.
Teresa, our salon owner and resident IPL Skin Rejuvenation therapist, cannot be booked online, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 358 8410 to schedule an appointment.
Featured image: kckate16/Shutterstock