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What is IPL and Should I Get it?


Working from home the past year has taken its toll on our skin. Being house bound and our intake of Vitamin D limited to an hour a day has left it looking pretty unhappy. Some of you have probably noticed your skin tone has become uneven and wondering why when you’ve spent most of your time indoors. You’re not alone. It’s recently been discovered that blue light from devices can actually cause hyperpigmentation and signs of ageing.

Whilst beauty is skin deep, what if we told you there’s a way to reflect your inner beauty on the outside whilst tackling hyperpigmentation and thread veins? Introducing IPL as your skin’s saviour.

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. It’s a photo-rejuvenation treatment most commonly used for reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and thread veins. Unlike traditional laser treatments with only one wavelength, IPL transmits different wavelengths of different frequencies to target many skin concerns at once. Basically, you get more beauty for your buck.

You’ll also get a boost of collagen at the same time for a radiant, youthful complexion that’ll make you forget all about the stress of last year. Or at least your skin will with a real-life filter, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

How does IPL work?

The light from IPL is less harsh than a laser as the wavelengths are dispersed more evenly on the skin’s surface in a non-ablative way. Ideal for those looking for dramatic results without intensive treatment.

Our skin is made up of 3 core layers: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat. The goal is to reach deep into the dermis without damaging the epidermis, and IPL can help you achieve it. It’s strong enough to destroy unwanted cells, without harming the cells we need in the process.

Depending on your skin concern, each treatment will need a different series of wavelengths which can be adjusted for the following conditions:

Hyperpigmentation

The colour of your skin comes from melanin cells produced by the body. Overexposure to the sun or blue light can trigger an increase in its production resulting in a darker, uneven skin tone. Areas with a high concentration of melanin such as freckles, sun and liver spots will absorb the light energy from IPL and abolish cells rich in melanin.

Following the treatment, they’ll get darker in colour before they are drawn to the surface and flake away. As the body is constantly producing melanin, IPL isn’t a permanent solution if you aren’t mindful of sun exposure and screen time.

Thread veins

Thread veins, also known as spider veins, are small blood vessels that have become dilated. They’re almost always harmless and cause a cosmetic issue more than anything else. While older people are more likely to experience thread veins as the skin gets thinner with age, they’re primarily linked to genetics so you can develop them at any stage in your life. The light energy from IPL is attracted by haemoglobin found in blood vessels. The heat then begins to break down the walls of the blood vessels, releasing the build-up back into the body where it’ll no longer be visible on the skin’s surface. IPL also reduces their ability to fill up again preventing them from resurfacing in the same place. Check out the below before and after image of 1 session of IPL targeting thread veins on the nose.

IPL Treatment for thread veins
Thread Vein treatment using IPL. Before & After 1 session

Collagen

Tight, smooth skin requires collagen in great amounts. Problem is, the rate of collagen produced by your body begins to slow down as early as your late 20’s. But don’t panic. The heat from IPL light causes a slight sting to the skin which activates recovery mode in the body and stimulates collagen in the affected area to start the healing process.

Where can I have IPL?

IPL can be used to treat anywhere above the heart including the face, neck, chest, arms and hands.

As with all of our other premium treatments, before introducing a new treatment we trial many machines to find the best and most effective. With Intense Pulsed Light that’s Lynton’s IPL machine. It has a series of different sized hand pieces so we can treat concerns as tiny as 1-2 broken veins around the nose without affecting the rest of the face. Many other IPL machines available elsewhere only have a set hand piece, making it harder to directly target smaller areas.

What should I expect when getting an IPL treatment?

They say no pain no gain but thanks to IPL, this is no longer true. Beautiful results are now in reach for those with a low pain threshold. At Young LDN, we believe everyone deserves to feel confident in their skin and IPL is just one of the ways we can make this a reality. The treatment is often described as a light flick of an elastic band on the skin, which is even less painful than it sounds. We can vouch for that.

The results aren’t immediate as IPL kickstarts a reaction that happens behind the scenes, but anything worth having takes work, right? By work we mean sit back and relax while we take care of you. All you have to do is show up for a hot (or slightly warm) date with the dermis. Results can vary anywhere between 2-8 weeks with several sessions spaced 2-4 weeks apart depending on the concern you wish to treat.

An IPL session typically lasts 30 minutes. We’ll begin by double cleansing the area to remove any product, dirt and bacteria so the light rays can be effortlessly absorbed. After this a cool gel is applied for protection and a soothing sensation to counteract the warmth. Goggles are then placed over the eyes. Your skin may be redder in colour and feel warm for the first few days but the good news is you can wear makeup. Go for an oxygenating makeup like Oxygenetix, which allows the skin to breath.

How do I prepare?

Avoiding sun exposure is vital when prepping your skin for IPL. This includes any form of self-tanners from bottles, sunbathing or lying on sunbeds 4 weeks before your treatment to minimise the skin’s sensitivity.

Take your skincare seriously so your skin is at its prime when you come in. We’re talking daily cleansing, toning, serums, and moisturiser (with SPF if course). And in that order too. If you don’t already have a routine in place, this is your not-so-subtle hint to start one today. Healthy skin is less likely to have side effects such as redness and dry patches so you can show off your new look quicker.

Topical products, especially containing retinoids and acids, are a major deal-breaker when it comes to IPL. They don’t get along and can react with the light to worsen your concern, as well as make your skin more sensitive and vulnerable to burning. Put anything that contains active ingredients in a draw and leave them there 3-4 days before your first session and throughout your course for maximum results.

What is IPL aftercare like?

Your skin will feel more sensitive than usual, so anything soothing is your new best friend. Stock up on aloe vera. Whilst you can immediately apply makeup afterwards, we recommend Oxygenating Foundation by Oxygenetix for extra TLC. The breathable formula is super lightweight with buildable coverage to create a natural, flawless base for any look. Whether you’ve opted for a light wash of colour or perfection, the amount of product on your face will feel the same. But most importantly, the healing foundation’s hero ingredient is aloe vera to keep your skin cool.

Direct sunlight must be avoided for 2 weeks after your treatment, which is why we advise you to do IPL before the peak of summer. Daily SPF is now essential (don’t fight us on this, you won’t win). But multipurpose products with added SPF just won’t cut it post IPL. Come rain or shine, you need pure, 100% SPF, aka sunscreen with a minimum of SPF30, especially if your treatment was on your face. Adding an extra step into your already elaborate beauty regime may seem a little inconvenient, but sun damage and advance ageing are massively inconvenient. A few extra seconds is a fair price to pay.

Broad Spectrum SPF50 by Zo Skin Health is perfect for post-procedure protection from sunlight for the face and body. Not only does it exceed the minimum amount of SPF30, the goodness is packed in an ultra-mild formula for sensitive skin. It provides multi-defence against UVA, UVB and HEV light from digital screens. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear it won’t feel heavy or sticky on the skin. Our worst nightmare under foundation.

If you’ve had IPL on hyperpigmentation, you’ll begin to see cells gathering on the surface of the skin. If this starts to happen less than 3 days after your treatment, don’t even think about exfoliating. Scrubbing is strictly off-limits for at least 72 hours. Instead, gently wash the area with products specifically for sensitive skin, whether you have it or not, and pat dry. After 3 days have passed, we advise adding exfoliating back into your regular routine to avoid the ashy look.

Am I the right candidate for IPL?

If you have a tanned or darker skin tone, IPL isn’t recommended as it could cause pigment damage and change the colour of the treated area as you have more melanin cells. Fitzpatrick skin type 3 is the highest and safest on the scale suitable for this treatment. Which means before sun exposure, your skin is fair to beige with a golden undertone.

Unfortunately, if your Melasma or Hyperpigmentation developed due to a change in hormones, you also can’t be treated or it will aggravate the skin further. It’s best to let it clear naturally or you could do more harm than good. That being said, we have many other great solutions for treating Melasma and Hyperpigmentation caused by a change in hormones. Chemical Peels for example are a great treatment for this.

Before a course of IPL begins, we offer a consultation and patch test to determine how your skin will react and the most effective treatment course for you.

Book your IPL treatment at Young LDN today

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