Photo Rejuvenation

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.

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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:

  • Rosacea
  • Leg red thread veins
  • Broken veins in the face
  • Spider angiomas
  • Age spots
  • Freckles
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • 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.


6 replies
  1. Annie
    Annie says:

    Every once in a while, my skin reaches a stage when it is dry and flaky, and no make-up in the world can cover it up. I need a revival. A true rejuvenation of my skin cells. I really appreciate my skin, and I would do any kind of treatment to keep it fresh and young. So when it started to show signs of age, I got a bit concerned. One day, as I was browsing the Internet for home remedies for wrinkles and age spots, I stumbled on photo rejuvenation before and after photos. I admired all these women who changed their skin from boring to glowing and wonderful.
    Once I really started researching and found out more about this procedure, I was already on the bus going to the nearest skin rejuvenation clinic to find out more about it. I took several treatments, and I was surprised at how pleasant it actually was. And I didn’t really expect the kind of results I got. They came in gradually, but my skin looked so much more radiant. Now people admire me.

  2. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    Damaging the skin cells seemed like a foolish idea to me, to heal my skin and make it rejuvenated. How would that even work? Then I visited a facial rejuvenation clinic. The specialists there were very kind to explain in detail what the optical treatments could do for me. The facial rejuvenation clinic actually explained that the treatments require no downtime at all, as well as the fact that they are not ablative treatments. This word made no sense to me, but it means that your upper layers of the skin stay undamaged, and the light treats only deeper areas of your skin. It is a bit slower process, and the results may arrive slower than with other treatments, but they are still fantastic! And you don’t have to go through any horrible pain or lying down in bed. Simply wonderful! All the doubts I had are now gone, mostly thanks to the wonderful specialists at the clinic who made my mind more open to these kinds of treatments.

  3. Marina W
    Marina W says:

    Well, my experience with skin care treatments were terrible from my youth. I really hated going to the cosmetician every time. I dreaded it. When I gave birth and devoted myself to marriage, I rather escaped from any treatments at all, partially because I was busy and partially because they traumatized me. They were usually painful and expensive, and they didn’t work at all. Since I was born in a different age, I couldn’t believe how technology went far. I was never considering going into surgery, but the IPL treatment my colleague from work suggested seemed like an almost surreal thing. Almost painless and you get the same affects? Yes, it’s possible. When you take the ipl vs laser treatments, they both work really well, but I love the light treatments because they are less invasive. And seemed more natural. What they did for me is iron out my wrinkles, which made me look fabulously five years younger. And I can safely say that my husband agrees. He says I look very natural, and not like one of those plastic women he sees on TV.

  4. Eva
    Eva says:

    I wasn’t even aware that photo rejuvenation existed until a few months back. Must be old-fashioned, but the term seemed so unfamiliar to me. I googled it of course, and couldn’t stop reading about, because it sounded so perfect. No surgery, no lying in bed covering your face with a scarf to hide hideous cosmetic treatments aftermath… I’m kind of scared of the laser when it comes to my sensitive skin, but the IPL photo rejuvenation seemed more safe, since it uses different techniques, not lasers, but lights to make your skin look tighter and more young. I only went for a few treatments for certain areas of my face, like my cheeks. The rest of my face was completely normal. In the end, it created an effect that I believe, you can only get if you go down the road of surgery. And I’m not about to take that road, ever.

  5. Photo Rejuvenation Experience
    Photo Rejuvenation Experience says:

    My practitioner used different filters to treat different skin abnormalities I have, which are not really abnormalities, but little things that bothered me all the time. My freckles and fine lines. I’m in my thirties, and they aren’t really noticeable to others that much, but I would look at myself in the mirror and I knew that I needed to start something to keep my skin looking as fresh as possible. It didn’t really work instantly, but over time when my face started to heal itself I could really see the results of the facial rejuvenation. I could see my skin tightening and my freckles were less visible. I was surprised, and the next time I looked at myself in the mirror, I was shocked that all this could happen with just a few light treatments. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have enough time, but still cares about how their skin looks. This treatment was so easy; I didn’t need any recovery time at all. Easy as pie, really.

  6. Vicky
    Vicky says:

    The only thing that improved the condition of my skin was the optical treatments. I’ve heard of them over and over again, because my friends talk about them all the time. This is my experience with these so-called ‘lunch time ‘treatments. I didn’t really understand and I was wondering what is photo rejuvenation. I do think that this more natural method is less harmful for the skin, and in the long run, it’s the best thing to go with, if you don’t like incisions or long recoveries. I don’t like them, at all. I’m quite young and active, so I just like to pop in and out of the doctor’s appointment and I like to see the results. I didn’t see them immediately, but I started to notice them later on. I had issues with skin discoloration, in certain areas on my face, but that’s been fading away. I love that we treat that area that I am bothered with, and I don’t have to treat the entire face if I don’t want to. Love it, and I am doing it again just next week. This time, I’m going for scar removal on my left cheek and my forehead, in hopes that, finally, I will loosen up on the make-up use.


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