Skin tone, It’s something many of us have become more aware of, especially with images on social media showing perfect, glowing complexions, often using filters I need to add! So we reach for cover up, foundation and CC creams to somehow create a smooth, even complexion and skin that’s all one shade. I personally feel we need to give ourselves a bit more slack in this area, I know if you met your favourite celeb in the flesh without their makeup you would see they are just like to rest of us. HOWEVER… We are lucky that science and technology can help us achieve results, blurring out irregularities and pigmentations, which is exactly the type of treatments your favourite famous faces are doing to keep on top of things.
You may have heard of or even had IPL (Intense pulsed light therapy) for hair removal. Yes, IPL can be used to remove hair, but this requires a totally different machine head and light wavelength to when treating the skin. For decades, IPL has been used as a safe and effective, all-encompassing procedure to whip sun damaged, boost collagen, even skin tone, reduce redness, remove broken capillaries and even reduce acne breakouts.
I’ve been championing IPL for a number of years, and have seen countless new trends come and go, this treatment is really effective for helping create a more even complexion on some skin tones when it comes to pigment, broken veins and acne breakouts all issues that are more tricky to treat with skincare and massage alone. IPL has stood the test of time because it can be performed with minimal downtime. Plus, the speedy treatment time means it can either be combined into different bespoke facials or used as a standalone treatment if we need to get a little more targeted.
What does IPL actually do?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, and uses a machine to generate a broad spectrum of light to heat the dermal tissue, without harming or removing the outer epidermal layers of the skin. It targets things like pigment marks, broken capillaries and blood vessels, acne bacteria, wrinkles and sun damage – essentially the areas of skin that have been damaged – and the body’s natural processes then work to break down and remove these.
This type of light treatment can soften and reduce the appearance of brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, thread veins, freckles, rosacea, acne and age pigmentation spots. It’s easy to see why IPL is a hit within the skincare world – it just works!
I find it can also be used for general all round rejuvenation – even if you don’t have pigmentation or broken veins it boosts collagen and elastine and its safe and effective to start having IPL facials in your twenties and continue throughout your adult life.
How does it do it?
Firstly IPL technology is really quite special because it uses light, which is totally natural!
IPL light is pulse through the skin’s surface, targeting a specific area in the underlying tissue. for example the way that IPL treats pigmentation is pretty fascinating. When the light hits your skin, it pulses through the skin’s surface, targeting areas of pigment in the underlying tissue and surface blood vessels. The laser light then breaks up and shatters the damaged pigment cells into tiny particles, essentially dispersing them. Some pigment cells are deeper than others, for example, if you’ve been a sun worshipper for decades, you might have skin damage that’s deeper than surface level, in which case more treatments might be required over time. These pigmented, damaged skin cells then gradually rise up to the surface of the face, and flake away as part of the body’s natural healing process. These marks usually turn darker in colour, like coffee granules – they go a bit dry and then flake off over the next 2 weeks revealing the new, clearer skin underneath.
With redness, veins and rosacea , it works by using the light energy to target blood vessels underneath the outer layer of skin. This triggers the body’s natural healing response, which breaks down the damaged tissue and forms new cells, resulting in a reduction on redness and generally healthier, calmer looking skin.
We always start in my clinic by taking images of the skin and a patch test. Black out goggles are always worn, then a cooling gel is applied to the area that will be treated and then the light is applied. There is a flash of light and a pinging feeling on the skin. Each treatment varies in time depended on the size of area being treated, but it probably takes around 30 minutes for a full face. Even though there is this sensation on the skin, after the first few shots you get used to it and it’s not really uncomfortable (some patients compare the sensation to that of a rubber band snapping against skin). You might experience a little pinkness for a few hours afterwards, but there is usually little downtime. I tell my clients not to book anything important on the day of treatment just in case, If we have focused on specific veins, these can look swollen and bruised and pigment will look darker over the next 1-2 weeks.
Is it safe?
In the right hands, IPL facials are a safe way to get a really effective skin boost – but they may not be suitable for everyone. If you have a darker skin tone then we have other methods that might be better suited. If you are pregnant, have severe dermatitis or are diabetic, then IPL facials would not be suitable. It’s always best to come in for a consultation and one of our skin specialist can offer you advice and recommend which treatment is best. We have loads of options.
What IPL facials can be found at the clinic?
If we want to target a specific skin concern, then booking on for an IPL treatment as a stand alone or as a course can be really effective. Contact the Clinic here for more information. We also include it into some of our advanced bespoke facials. Email us for more details or to chat to one of our skin specialists.