October 4th, 2008
By C.A. Vargas
Photo rejuvenation is a term that can be broadly applied to the three basic forms of light therapy. Each treatment, although different can be used for skin care aesthetic procedures. These very specific forms of light can bring about significant positive results in a person’s skin and his appearance. However, it is important to know how these treatments and their various forms work as they could have adverse side effects.
The most aggressive form known is laser resurfacing and don’t kid yourself, it is a surgical procedure and it requires significant down time and recovery. This procedure uses a laser that causes water molecules to vaporize outside and inside of cells, causing thermal damage to the surrounding tissue. The body’s response to this “attack” is to produces more collagen and elastin, two vital proteins needed for youthful skin.
However, laser resurfacing is the most effective skin care procedure in severely damaged and aged skin but it also has the most potential side effects.
Some of the benefits include the removal of deep wrinkles, age spots, sun spots, freckles, superficial blood vessels, tighter and more youthful skin. The overall result is dramatic as the youthful appearance of the person is undeniable.
Side effects include significant swelling, flaking, dry or itchy skin, over or under pigmentation, redness and the recovery time could be up to a couple of months. Normal cases can, after receiving treatments, expect their downtime to be about a week, during which you will appear red and burnt looking.
Intense Pulse Light or IPL is a gentler form of laser resurfacing but not considered ablative, meaning to melt or vaporize the top layer of skin. Although not as aggressive as laser, it is still in my opinion an invasive procedure as it causing thermal damage to the skin. This will force the skin’s healing mechanism to kick in and reverse signs of damage.
IPL is a procedure that resurfaces the skin in a series of treatments over the affected area. A cooling gel is applied before the procedure is begun in order to make the experience as painless as possible. The feeling is similar to a small rubber band snapping on the surface of the skin. In some cases a topical anesthetic is applied for people with a low pain threshold.
A series of sessions, three to six, is recommended for best results. And it is best to treat the entire face rather than a specific area. This will yield a more even and pleasing aesthetic result. Treatment can be given as frequently as every three weeks.
Intense Pulse Light works well on pigment irregularities, like dark spots and redness in lighter complexions, therefore achieving a more uniform color, fresher look, loss of sallowness and even an increase in firmness can be expected. In addition it treats rosacea, sun damage and even acne scars.
People with dark skin should be warned that hyper-pigmentation is a high risk not only with IPL but also laser treatments.
Immediately after treatment the client can expect that the skin may appear flushed, like a mild sunburn, and might persist for 2-3 hours after treatment. Brown pigmented spots may appear darker, and capillaries may be more visible. In rare instances, temporary swelling and/or blistering can occur.
The treated area can take up to 10 days to heal and can turn brown or crust. Therefore do not rub, pick, or use any kind of exfoliation until it heals.
After laser or IPL the client should avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher while you’re healing. Further protect yourself by wearing wide-brimmed hats if you expect to be out in sun.
Light Emitting Diode is an electronic device that generates light when an electrical current is passed through it. The most common uses have been in, flat screen videos displays, digital clocks, flashlights and as a general source of light. Thus not harmful or invasive in the least.
However, in Europe, LED has been used successfully for about 50 years in the treatment of muscular pain, scars and the healing of wounds. It is so efficient that the NAVY SEALS and NASA have adopt it for similar purposes.
The technology works by stimulating the body’s tissues to convert the light energy into cellular energy. It boosts collagen production and scavenger cells that remove excess pigmentation or scar tissue. This advance technology is noninvasive and does not cause thermal damage to the skin. Yet it is powerful enough to bring about a reversal in aged or damaged skin.
The more advanced machines, in my opinion, are not hand held, and have multiple settings depending on the skin care treatment being used for. Research shows that it is the combination of red and infra-red light that work best in the successful treatment of wrinkles or age spots.
Led light therapy not only works well on the face, but can easily be done on other skin areas like the decollete and hands.
Most people can see results right away but it is common for at least three treatments before one can see a major difference. After the initial treatments of at least six, Joanna Vargas recommends treatments once a month for beautiful, radiant skin. The effects are cumulative as many will attest, and although gradual, one can expect the luminous glow of healthy skin in a relative short space of time. The health of your skin will continue to improve with every visit and can be done even weekly with no side effects.
The benefits are many: lymphatic drainage, reduced pore size, diminished lines and wrinkles, the erasure of dark spots or sun damaged skin, increased collagen and elastin production, and it can even possibly improve your mood as endorphins are stimulated.
The many side effects associated with laser and Intense Pulse Light can also be treated with LED light therapy as it will boost the regenerative power of the skin and therefore cut short the recovery time of laser resurfacing or IPL. LED can even help in the recovery time of cosmetic surgery as it has been successfully used for wound and pain management.
The degree of expertise from your skin care professional will determine results but also the instrument being used can significantly help in the recovery efforts or the maintaining of youthful and beautiful skin. As always, life style and other such factors should be discussed carefully so that you can have a proper expectations of results in any of the above skin care treatments.