Photofacials: Everything You Need to Know

Aesthetics Daily – Skin treatments that use light-based technology are called photofacials. This treatment, which is widely offered in aesthetic clinics or medical spas, is useful for increasing collagen and brightening the appearance of the skin.

What is a Photofacial?

Photofacial is a treatment that uses various types of light-emitting devices to treat skin discoloration and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Those who wish to treat a variety of common skin problems including enlarged pores, acne scars, and wrinkles are ideal for using this procedure.

One thing you should know is that those with brown or naturally darker skin tones may not qualify for photofacial treatments. This is because this treatment can cause skin discoloration.

There are two types of photofacial, namely intense pulsed light (IPL) and light emitting diode (LED) therapy. Both types of photofacial have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the type of photofacial, the practitioner’s experience, and the area being treated, this procedure can take between 30 to 90 minutes.

IPL and LED photofacial, which are non-invasive treatments, both use light as their energy source. Both use specific wavelengths of light which have therapeutic benefits. They have been scientifically proven to repair skin cells.

Although swelling and redness may occur after treatment, this will usually subside within a few hours. Photofacial treatments that require little or no downtime produce gradual results in the form of skin improvement that appears in the days and weeks after treatment.

How Do Photofacials Work?

IPL and LED photofacials involve light being absorbed into the skin. The more intense nature of the IPL light pulses allows the light to be absorbed more deeply. IPL light soaked by hemoglobin (red blood cells) and melanin (pigmentation) in the skin intentionally damages the treated area.

The damaged melanin will break off and be absorbed by the skin, reducing its appearance over the surface of the skin. Damaged hemoglobin stimulates blood flow, causing melanin to be absorbed more efficiently.

Types of Photofacials

IPL Photofacials

Intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacial involves a handheld device that emits broad spectrum light waves through direct contact with the skin. IPL works on the deeper layers of the skin to treat sun damage, wrinkles, spider veins, broken capillaries, and brown spots.

During the procedure, the IPL emits intense pulsed light bursts that absorb more deeply than the LED therapy. Although some IPL devices have cooling systems, the heat from the light can be uncomfortable or even painful.

photofacial intense pulsed light led therapy what is benefits advantages pros cons
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IPL treatment takes several visits and takes a while to heal. It is recommended that you get an IPL treatment within a 2 week period. The number of IPL treatments you will need will vary depending on your skin condition and desired results.

Even though a series of treatments are recommended, you can still see improvement after a single treatment. After one treatment, you can expect to see and feel smoother, firmer skin.

IPL therapy can be used to target acne-causing bacteria found in the epidermis and dermis. High-intensity IPL protects the dermis to kill bacteria while reducing inflammation. In addition, IPL can decrease skin pigmentation and rejuvenate the skin, shrinking skin pores.

LED Light Therapy

LED treatment also uses light-emitting handheld devices. Instead of intense light, the device emits multiple colors of LED light. Basically, there are three different colors each of which has different healing properties.

The three LED lights are blue light to treat acne and blemishes, red light to stimulate collagen production, and green light to treat hyperpigmentation and dark spots. In general, LED devices work on the epidermal layer to treat skin problems at the surface level. This is because the light used in LED therapy is no more intense than that of IPL.

According to studies, LED light therapy has an excellent safety profile because it does not contain UV rays. Therefore, LED treatments are suitable for routine use. Unlike chemical peels or laser therapy, LED therapy does not cause burns. This treatment is also safe for all skin types and tones.

LED light therapy can be performed in an aesthetic clinic or at home. During the treatment by a qualified doctor or aesthetician, you will be asked to lie down under an LED light. Each session lasts about 10 – 20 minutes, after which a person will need to return for regular maintenance sessions.

The number of treatments required will depend on your individual goals. Typically, clients receive treatment twice a week for a specified period of time. Many clients feel the results after one treatment.

IPL Photofacials Vs LED Therapy

IPL uses broad spectrum light whereas LED light therapy uses different specific wavelengths depending on skin treatments. As the name suggests, IPL photofacial delivers very high energy to the skin whereas LED light therapy uses a lower energy level.

During an IPL treatment, light is absorbed more deeply while LED is considered a gentler therapy. Thus, IPL provides a more effective treatment outcome in a broad range. Gentle LED light therapy is more suitable for treating superficial skin problems like acne.

IPL photofacial uses a broad spectrum of light so it can treat a wider area of skin than LED light therapy. As a stronger therapy, IPL photofacial has the potential to cause more discomfort and redness. On the other hand, LED therapy is considered more soothing like massage.

Faster results in a shorter period can be achieved with IPL treatment. However, IPL has a risk of causing sunburn, unlike LED therapy which is best for sensitive skin.

Which is Better?

Both can be used to treat a number of skin conditions including spider veins, rosacea, wrinkles, and stretch marks. IPL treatments are better at dealing with deeper problems in the skin. Meanwhile LED treatments can effectively deal with surface damage.

IPL has been known to cause hypergligmentation in patients with darker skin. In contrast, LED treatment is not known to cause this problem. To find out which type of photofacial treatment is most appropriate, you first need to consult a dermatologist or qualified professional.

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