Shining the Light on Photo Rejuvenation: What It Is and How It Can Help You
If you have done any research into laser or light cosmetic treatments, you have probably come across the term “optical light”. This is a broad category that includes all treatments utilising lasers or light energy to improve the condition of skin. These procedures are becoming extremely popular around the world because they deliver the results that were once achieved only through surgical procedures.
Optical procedures allow you to treat skin problems or combat signs of ageing in your skin without surgical incisions. This means you endure less pain during many of these procedures, and the recovery periods are substantially shorter than those required for surgical procedures.
This is why these treatments are commonly referred to as “lunch time” treatments. They are completed in a short period of time, and you can typically return to your daily life immediately. While the results may not be permanent, they are often just as good as the results you would receive from going under the knife.
This guide will introduce you to a smaller subcategory that falls under the umbrella of optical treatments for Skin Rejuvenation. This is a category known as Photo Rejuvenation or Intense Pulsated Light, sometimes described as IPL Photorejuvenation. The treatments that fall within this subcategory all use light energy rather than lasers, and there are substantial differences between these treatments and the many laser treatments currently being offered.
This guide will help you understand what makes Photo Rejuvenation treatment different from laser treatment and how these treatments work in general. You will also learn what types of skin conditions or anti-ageing applications are suitable for this type of treatment and what you may expect when going in for a photo rejuvenation consultation. This will help you make educated decisions when discussing the best treatments for your skin.
This article forms part of a series on Facial Rejuvenation by our medical experts, including: Skin Rejuvenation, IPL Skin Rejuvenation and Facial Rejuvenation. Learn more by visiting these article, voicing your opinions in the comment sections below or contacting us on 1300 788 800.
What Is Photorejuvenation?
Photorejuvenation is a broad category that includes a variety of non-invasive cosmetic procedures that use the natural energy from light to improve the condition of your skin. Intensive light treatments are often lumped together with laser procedures, but photorejuvenation does not use lasers. The differences between laser treatments and light treatments are substantial:
1. Laser and light treatments both deliver pulses of light to the skin, but light treatments deliver multiple wavelengths or colours of light. Laser treatments deliver one wavelength at a time, though the practitioner can determine which wavelength is used at any given time.
2. Photo Rejuvenation light treatments allow practitioners to target specific areas of the skin without damaging surrounding areas. Laser treatments soak the skin in the chosen wavelength of light without allowing for filtration. Since light energy treatments deliver multiple wavelengths, the practitioner can use filters to target specific areas of the skin. For instance, blood vessels may be targeted without damaging layers of skin surrounding those vessels.
These differences make photorejuvenation treatments more precise. There are a variety of ways that practitioners can use this technology to create specific anti-ageing treatments that combat a variety of skin problems.
Just like laser treatments, these procedures are quick and typically only require topical anesthesia, if they require any anesthesia at all. They are used to deliver results that are often seen through surgical cosmetic procedures, but you will not have to suffer the pain and extensive recovery periods that naturally come with surgery.
The results of photorejuvenation procedures are often long lasting, so you will have to repeat the procedures too often. This helps control the cost of healthy ageing over time.
How Does Photo Rejuvenation Work?
Procedures under this category use light energy known as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to target specific chromophores within the skin. Chromophores are sections of the skin that are naturally receptive to light. Handheld devices are used to spray this light into the skin so that the targeted chromophores absorb energy from the light. This light energy naturally turns into heat after absorption, and that heat damages the absorbing cells.
Just like laser treatment, photo rejuvenation works because of the damage created to targeted skin cells.
Why damage the skin cells?
The answer is simple: you want to damage those skin cells to force your body to begin the process of healing and repair. The human body is remarkable in its ability to correct damage to skin cells and generate new ones to take the place of those too badly damaged to repair. Photo Rejuvenation procedures saturate specific components of your skin with damaging light heat in order to stimulate this natural process of rejuvenation.
Laser light also works through heat damage, but remember that only one wavelength of light can be administered with a laser. For this reason, laser treatments expose all components of your skin in the area of treatment to the administered light. Practitioners can filter IPL treatments so that certain components of your skin are targeted, and surrounding components of the skin are not exposed to the light heat.
IPL is Non-Ablative
When researching optical skin treatments, you may see some procedures described as “ablative” or “non-ablative.” An ablative procedure will impact the upper and lower layers of your skin, often stripping it down and requiring surgical downtime and sun avoidance for months. Many laser resurfacing treatments fit into this category, but Photo Rejuvenation treatments are non-ablative, which means that they only affect the lower layers of your skin. The top layers of your skin are not exposed to the heat and are therefore not damaged.
Some laser treatments are ablative, and for this reason, they may have more dramatic results than IPL treatments. You have to weigh the pros and cons of using non-ablative Photo Rejuvenation treatments instead of ablative laser treatments.
The biggest pro is that non-ablative IPL treatments keep the damage to your skin to a minimum. You are not exposing your skin to excessive wavelengths of light, and you can target specific components of the skin. This means that you can typically go right back to your daily life after having this type of treatment. The top layers of skin are not damaged, so there are few to no visible signs that you had a skin treatment.
The biggest con is that non-ablative IPL treatments may not deliver instant visible results. You have to wait for your body to naturally heal the damaged skin cells, and there are no surface corrections to be seen right away.
What to Expect from Photorejuvenation
When you visit a trained, experienced practitioner to see if you are a candidate for photorejuvenation, you can expect them to thoroughly examine your skin and take a complete medical history. They will also ask you to explain the problems with your skin and discuss the changes that you would like to see in your skin. You may discuss the anti-ageing benefits of IPL treatments and the benefits of these treatments for specific skin conditions. If you are a suitable candidate for this type of procedure, your practitioner should discuss the most applicable treatment for the results you would like to see.
Photorejuvenation treatments are delivered through handheld devices that spray the light into your skin, but there are different devices used for different types of treatment. Some of the problems that you can combat with photorejuvenation or IPL include the following:
- Leg red thread veins
- Broken veins in the face
- Spider angiomas
- Age spots
- Fine lines
- Hair removal
- Birthmarks (flat, pigmented or vascular)
- Skin discolouration
Depending on what you want to treat, your practitioner will use light filters to target specific components of your skin.The technology that allows practitioners to target specific components of the skin is known as thermolysis. Thanks to this technology, you can now target your hemoglobin or red pigment to combat issues that affect the pigment of your skin. You can also target melanin if you are suffering from skin discolouration or the follicles that hold your hairs in place for effective, safe hair removal.
Advanced Dermatology utilises the industry’s “Gold Standard” in Photo Rejuvenation in Sydney. We also provide treatments for Laser Skin Resurfacing, Freckle Removal, Fractional Laser, Non-Surgical Facelifts and much more. To learn more about photorejuvenation or discuss specific treatments that may be right for you, consult with a well-trained medical professional at Advanced Dermatology, contact us on 1300 788 800 or request a call back from one of our skin experts.