Photofacial Skin Rejuvenation:
A “photofacial” can mean many different things. Most photofacials or so-called “laser photofacials” are actually IPL treatments.
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. IPL treatments are effective and reasonable treatments for many conditions like sun damage, red areas, skin tightening and others. They are best suited to lighter, generally Caucasian, skin and in this setting they are fairly safe. They also produce some hair removal in addition to skin rejuvenation.
Our IPL machine has ELOS technology, which is combined radiofrequency with IPL light. This makes it safer for darker skin than most IPL machines.
However, when IPL is used on darker skin (such as Asian, Latino, Native American, East Indian and African American) it can produce light spots, hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and these can sometimes last months or years. Occasionally, IPL can produce burns and in rare cases scarring. The IPL light energy used should be decreased when used on darker skin. We do this routinely. Many photofacials use IPL technology. Often false advertising is used with the words “laser photofacial” when in fact an IPL photofacial is being offered. Many spa or medical offices used IPL because the machines are fairly inexpensive.
There is another technology which is vastly superior to IPL. It is just as effective for brown lesions such as sun damage and much more effective for pink or red lesions like spider veins. This is the pulsed dye laser. At Reno Sparks Medspa we carry the best pulsed dye laser from the largest medical laser company in the world, Candela.
The laser light from their top of the line product, the Vbeam® Perfecta, is, much safer than IPL machines, only rarely produces unwanted discoloration, rarely produces burns and is so safe we can even use it on black skin. Because of the effectiveness of this machine combined with its superior safety we generally prefer it to IPL technology. At RenoSparks Medspa we offer true laser photofacials for skin rejuvenation with this state of the art technology.
The Vbeam® is effective in repairing and/or improving a wide variety of facial and nonfacial problems including the following:
- Telengectasias (facial and nasal or other spider veins, typically red or purple in color)
- Pigmentation problems (sun spots, age spots and freckles)
- Actinic keratoses (sun damaged, precancerous skin)
- Moles, including cafe au lait spots (light brown flat skin spots, unrelated to sun)
- Poikiloderma – redness and discoloration on the neck from sun damage.
- Red or Purple Stretch Marks – commonly appearing after pregnancy
- Scarring including postoperative scars, laceration scars and acne scars
- Rosacea and diffuse redness
- Cherry Angiomas (little red spots)
- Port wine stains (wine colored birthmarks, often on the face or neck)
- Fascial fine lines and wrinkles
- Varicose or spider veins less than 1.2 mm in width on the legs or other body areas
Photofacials with the Vbeam® are fast and convenient and a facial treatment is usually less than 25 minutes. The fact that you can return to your everyday activities immediately after a photofacial treatment adds to its convenience and popularity.
Commonly Asked Questions About Photofacial Skin Rejuvenation:
Keep reading below as we answer some of the questions we get about Vbeam® Photofacial Skin Rejuvenation and how it can help you look younger longer with minimum downtime..
- How does the treatment work?
The Vbeam® Perfecta laser delivers light pulses to the treatment area which is absorbed by the abnormally dilated vessels or pigmented areas. The heat causes damage to the vessel or lesion and the body begins its natural healing process. The lesion will often darken before it flakes off or gets absorbed by the body. Skin tightening occurs with each treatment which is progressive, improving with repeated treatments.
- How many treatments will I need
Photofacials with the Vbeam® aren’t generally single treatment procedures as the more treatments that are performed the more effective the results will be. Optimal results and the treatments required depend partly on the condition treated. For example, brown spots from minor sun damage often look quite good with about 2 treatments. More severe sun damage many benefit from more. Rosacea and small spider veins often improve dramatically with 1-3 treatments. Very severe rosacea may require 3 or more treatments for best results. Skin tightening does best with 3 or more treatments. Most of these laser treatments have little downtime with some increased redness which usually lasts about 5 days. Intervals between treatments may be as little as 14 days or up to about 30 when a series of treatments is given.
- How long does laser skin resurfacing treatment take?
Small areas like the hands may take under 10 minutes, a face less than 25 minutes, larger areas like the back longer.
- What areas are commonly treated?
You can have full face, neck, chest, back, arms, and/or hand treatments with the Vbeam®. Legs are common when treating varicose veins.
- What is a treatment like?
Treatment times vary from about 10 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the treatment area, with most under 30 minutes. First, the treated area is cleansed. When the laser pulse is delivered if feels like the snap of a rubber band. After treatment a sunscreen is applied. Pain is minimal. For sensitive skin, a cool compress is applied following treatment.
- Can IPL photofacials be used on Latino, East Indian, Asian or Native American skin?
IPL photofacials may be used in Latino, East Indian, Asian or Native American skin safely, but light energy must be adjusted downward for darker skin. IPL can be used for East Indian skin for pigment reduction, but not for vascular probelms. IPL used on black skin is unsafe. Due to its much greater safety we at Reno Sparks Medspa prefer to use Vbeam pulsed dye laser photofacials for Latino, East Indian, Asian, Native American and even black skin as opposed to IPL.
- Are there any possible side effects?
Reddish discoloration for 4-5 days is common, especially when treating spider veins and rosacea. Darkening or blackish color (temporary) and/or minimal scabbing may occur at times when pigmented areas are treated. Long term side effects are rare. Healing is fast on the face, a bit slower on the body. Temporary swelling and/or bruising can occur. Ask about your situation individually because much depends on the laser energy we use, which tends to be higher for treatment of scars and vascular lesions.
- What improvement will I see?
Patients are usually satisfied with their results. Most see a gradual decrease in redness, broken capillaries, flushing, irregular pigmentation, pore size and fine lines. After each treatment, the skin feels smoother with more even tone. Maximum results occur 6-8 weeks after a treatment.
- What precautions should be taken before treatment?
Avoiding the sun for at least several weeks in the treated area is a good idea. A fresh sunburn or recent tan increases the chance of burns or sensitivity to light. Sun sensitizing medications such as minocycline or doxycycline may increase sensitivity to laser light as well.
- What will I need to do after treatment?
Post-treatment care includes the following:
· Avoid sun exposure or tanning
· Apply ice or cold towels for discomfort
· Apply moisturizer, Bacitracin cream or Vaseline petroleum jelly if needed
· Avoid hot water to the area until healed
· Avoid scrubbing the areas for a few days
· Ask the doctor or team about cosmetic or acne products to be used. When these are irritating it is best to delay use until the skin is less sensitive.
- Are there more aggressive/effective treatments, such as for acne or sun damage?
Definitely. More aggressive treatments using both a Levulan® Kerastick® and laser to activate the chemical in the stick are called photodynamic therapy (PDT). This combo therapy is often appropriate for sun damage and/or acne. These treatments are much more aggressive than standard photofacials and the face will seem to have a severe sunburn for about 7-10 days. You can have full face, neck, chest, back and/or hand treatments with either the standard Vbeam® or the more aggressive PDT. PDT produces long term improvement in both acne and in sun damage. You may experience some temporary discoloration or reddening of the skin around the treatment site. Pigmentary changes in skin color may be experienced by some patients. The skin will typically return to normal pigmentation over time. During your office consultation you will be provided with a detailed plan of the treatments that will benefit you most.
Matrix RF Skin Tightening:
Over time our skin’s youthful appearance and texture is affected by the cumulative effects of environmental pollutants, collagen loss and DNA damage from ultraviolet light. Caucasian and lighter skin is especially susceptible to photodamage. Both Laser skin resurfacing and skin tightening with the Matrix RF helps restore your skin’s natural beauty and tone by wrinkles, red and brown spots, acne and textural irregularities. Matrix RF is not a laser, but an AM radio wave treatment. Lasers are absorbed by skin pigment (melanin) and are more problematic when used on darker skin. Radiofrequency treatments like Matrix RF are color blind and can be safely done even on very dark skin.
This non-surgical treatment offers noticeable improvement in the appearance of acne scars, especially with 3 or more treatments. Fine lines and wrinkles can disappear and scars can fade to the point where they are unnoticeable or can be hidden with light foundation. Make up goes on easier after Matrix treatments.
Skin Tightening without Laser or Surgery…
While there is some improvement in color and tone on the skin, Matrix RF is especially known as a skin tightening procedure, acting like a mild face lift for many people, which gives a more youthful appearance. Upper eyelid sagging is improved by this treatment and may prevent the need for surgery. The interesting thing is that it never looks surgical. Think about it. A facelift pulls from one direction. For example, over the forehead a facelift pulls from the scalp line upward in one direction. However, Matrix RF pulls from each small treatment site, pulling from multiple directions. Therefore, it never looks surgical.
Matrix RF stimulates the growth of new collagen so it helps the skin to remain tighter and appear younger looking. This tightening of the skin can help it to remain firm for an unknown period of time. This machine has been on the market for only a few years, but so far skin tightening has been maintained during those years.
Results will develop over time and with subsequent treatments. Full results can be seen a few months following the last treatment. Maintenance treatments may be necessary. Patients are pleased with the fast, visible results of smoother, brighter and tighter skin, without having to sacrifice time from their busy schedules. Wrinkle reduction is not as dramatic as with Botox®, but is much more lasting. Combining both Botox® and Matrix RF basically makes Botox® last longer. Some patients after Matrix RF treatments still use Botox®, but they don’t need as much, and it seems to last longer.
More dramatic skin tightening and skin tone improvement can be accomplished when both Vbeam® Perfecta laser and Matrix RF are done. These can both be done the same day, the combined treatment taking about an hour. If we do both procedures the same day we offer a discount. One of my favorite things about Matrix RF treatments is their terrific safety. I’ve never seen long term side effects from this treatment.
Matrix RF for the Treatment of Acne…
Matrix RF is useful in treating acne. Most laser or cosmetic treatments either treat active pimples or acne scar, but not both. Matrix RF treats both. One can decrease pimples and reduce scar the same day with the same technology.
Schedule Your FREE Skin Care Consultation Today…
To schedule a Free Skin Care Consultation, with Dr. Van Reken here at the Reno Sparks MedSpa, give us a call or visit the contact us page.