I am not a big fan of Botox though certainly, given my vanity, I may try it one day. However, the idea of injecting some derivation of botulism bacteria into my face makes me sick – not to mention my huge phobia of needles. There is a lot we can do INTERNALLY and EXTERNALLY to fight wrinkles and saggy skin naturally. (Stay tuned for my new ebook: The Ultimate Guide to Anti-Aging which is coming out soon and is divided into two sections: Internal and External.) The sooner we start cleaning up our bodies and our environment and getting into good routines the easier anti-aging will be.
That said, there is one procedure I swear by and spend money about $500 to $600 on 1-2x per year. Intensive pulse laser – IPL.
IPL treatment improves the appearance of photo-aged skin, removes age spots (sun-induced freckles), most benign brown pigments, and redness caused by broken capillaries through a process called photorejuvenation for face and body. IPL also stimulates the production of collagen, which plumps up the skin and gives you a fresher look, and refines or tightens large pores. The process is ideal for patients with active lifestyles because the procedure requires no downtime and has a low risk of side effects.
The gentle, non-ablative treatments use broad spectrum light to treat the face, chest, neck and hands—virtually anywhere that sun damage shows.
- IPL treatments are quick, gentle and non-invasive. There is no interruption of routine activities.
- By helping to remove the age spots (sun-induced freckles) and broken capillaries, the result is overall more even, luminous, younger looking skin.
- Patients can see dramatic results within a very short time.
How Does IPL Work?
- IPL uses short blasts of a polychromatic, high-intensity light to penetrate just below the skin’s surface, damaging either the melanin that makes up brown “age spots” or the blood vessels that create broken capillaries. The skin repairs the damage, leaving you with a more even skin tone. IPL is also touted as a way to boost collagen and elastin.
- It generally takes a series of treatments to see the best results, perhaps three to six treatments, usually a month apart
- IPL is quite useful, but it’s a broad shotgun approach. Lasers use a high-powered, direct beam of intense coherent light on a specific wavelength to target a single condition. Because lasers are targeting one thing with a higher level of intensity, they’re more effective — the rifle approach. If you want to treat age spots and broken capillaries, for instance, that is two different laser treatments, whereas IPL combines it.
- Day spas tend to offer IPL systems because they are less expensive than lasers and one machine can target several different things. By contrast, a medical spa, plastic surgeon with a medical spa, or dermatologist offices might have a whole array of machines, both lasers and IPL, so they can use the best one for your skin. Some types of skin, especially darker skin tones, need special equipment.
- IPL treatments are usually less expensive than laser treatments, so you might want to try that first and see what kind of results you get.
- Both lasers and IPL use intense blasts of light and heat, and both can be uncomfortable to painful, depending on the treatment, your skin type and condition, and your own pain tolerance. The operator will probably put a cooling gel on your skin, and cooling devices are often built into the machine. I choose to FORGO this gel as it is chemical. Instead, I ask for ice. Personally, I find this procedure 100% painless but some people disagree. Operator skill can also minimize pain, but you should expect discomfort at the very least. The traditional explanation of IPL is that it is “a rubber band snapping,” but there is heat involved and it can be more uncomfortable than that metaphor indicates.
Things To Be Aware of With IPL
- IPL can also be used to remove hair, but it is not as effective as laser hair removal.
- IPL CANNOT get rid of tattoos and should be kept away from any tattoos you have and want to keep.
- People with Asian skin or darker skin should be extra careful as IPL can sometimes causes hyper-pigmentation.
- You can still get get burned with IPL if the operator is not knowledgeable and careful during the treatment.
- Your skin will be more vulnerable to sun after the treatment so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen with you. I always do IPL in the winter when I know there will be less sun.
Things to look for in an IPL Treatment
- The operator has an intake form and discuss your concerns before any treatment.
- The operator has some kind of license and specific IPL training by an outside accredited source, beyond just the company that sold them the machine. Preferably the person is an esthetician. As with lasers, it’s an unregulated field and most states don’t require a license. Get references from vain friends or check out the spa or person’s creds online or via your personal network.
- You can burned with an IPL if the operator doesn’t know what they’re doing.
- The operator uses goggles to protect your eyes, though this is not as critical as it is with lasers.
Questions To Ask Before You Get a IPL Treatment
- “Why am I a good candidate for IPL, and how does it work?” This gives you an idea of how knowledgeable they are.
- “What licenses do you have, and what’s your training on IPL?” This tells you whether they’re a skin care specialist or someone who was hired off the street, and what kind of special training they have.
- “How long have you been doing this?” This gives you an idea of their experience level — but people have been known to lie. You can say you only want someone who has been doing it for at least two years.
- “Do you have insurance?” This applies both to the spa that is giving the service and the individual.
FOLLOW me for a regular anti-aging tip. You too can look as luscious as a goddess and as ageless as a vampire!