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IPL Skin Rejuvenation - San Antonio Med Spa

Aug 7

As people age, unsightly blemishes, commonly called age spots or sun spots, can appear on their face, hands, or decollete. The spots are sharply defined, rounded, brown or black, flat patches of skin. These sunspots, along with some cases of melasma (large tan or brown patches of skin on areas including cheeks, chin, nose, forehead, and upper lip), can be treated effectively with IPL Skin Rejuvenation. To get your best results, we almost always recommend a series of 3-6 treatments. The benefit of skin rejuvenation treatments is that the results are great with little discomfort and minimal risk.


Why treat sunspots?

Physical, emotional, and social reasons for sunspots include:

Improved appearance

Enhanced self-esteem

Promotion of better skin health


How do sunspots show up?

Sunspots occur when the top surface layer of skin expands with more pigment and develops what may look like a large freckle. One may appear by itself, or a few may be clustered together.

Some people may have a hereditary predisposition to sunspots. Sunspots may develop at an early age, even in childhood, though they are more common in older people, especially those who have spent too much time in the sun.

Sunspots are not cancerous, nor do they lead to cancer. However, on skin exposed to the sun, they may be accompanied by precancerous scaly, red elevations called actinic keratosis. Dark spots, which may be cancerous, may also appear to be lentigines. All of these blemishes should be evaluated by a dermatologic surgeon.

How does IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) work on sun damage?


The laser/IPL device emits a range of lightwaves that are then tuned and targeted at hemoglobin (the red blood cells in the blood vessels) or melanin (the brown pigment in freckles and age spots). The light beam passes through the skin and is absorbed by either hemoglobin or melanin resulting in damage to the vessel wall or fragmenting of melanin pigment. These tiny vessels and the melanin pigment are then absorbed by the body, rendering them less visible.

Do IPL Skin Rejuvenation treatments hurt and how long will they take?

There may be mild discomfort during the treatment, but most patients tolerate the removal of sunspots/freckles and fine lines very easily. The first treatment is usually the “zingiest.” As your skin begins to clear, the treatments usually become even more comfortable. Treatments usually take 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area.

Is IPL safe?

Yes. IPL and Lasers use non-ionizing radiation and have been approved by the FDA for safe and effective skin rejuvenation treatments. Certain skin conditions, health irregularities, topical creams, and medications can impact whether it is safe for a person to receive a light-based treatment. All medications will be evaluated prior to treatment to determine photosensitivity. Photosensitizing medications, creams with retinol, self-tanners, or damage to the skin are some contraindications to treatment. (Always notify your IPL Professional if you change medication between treatments or have begun taking antibiotics. You must wait 2 weeks after antibiotics before resuming IPL treatments.) Sun exposure is also a contraindication and, for your safety, we will not treat tan or sunburned skin.

What should I do prior to my skin rejuvenation treatment?

  1. For 2-4 weeks before your treatment, avoid self-tanners and excessive sun.

  2. We ask that you discontinue minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline, or Retin-A/Renova two weeks prior to each treatment.

  3. Avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve one week prior to treatment unless medically indicated to help prevent bruising.

  4. Protect your improved skin with sunscreen every morning. Hats and sunglasses are also good protection from the sun.

What are the IPL Skin Rejuvenation treatments like?

When you come to a Bio2 Skin Studio, you will be shown to a treatment room. Your IPL Professional will put special glasses or eye pads over your eyes to protect them. A cool gel is then placed on the skin being treated. The smooth glass surface of the handpiece is gently applied to your skin and pulses of light flash. You may feel a very slight sting although most of our clients feel  little discomfort if any.

At the end of the treatment, your professional will wipe off the gel, cleanse the area, and apply a moisturizer with sunscreen. If there is any mild swelling once you get home, you may apply a cold pack or bag of frozen peas to the area to cool it. If desired, you may reapply foundation or concealer immediately after treatment.

What will I look like right after the IPL treatment, and what is the healing time?

For freckles and sunspots, the spots generally look darker for 3-7 days. Crusting can occur, which may last up to ten days. The lesions will then begin to clear and will generally be resolving at one month. Remember, it takes an average of 3-6 treatments to clear sunspots.

After your first treatment, you can expect to see some redness, darkening of brown spots, and slight swelling. These symptoms will resolve in several hours to one week. After the treatment, your skin will feel smoother and have a more even tone. A gradual decrease in overall redness, flushing, sun spots, and fine lines will be more visible after each treatment.

Does an IPL treatment increase collagen?

Yes! The light bypasses the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) and gently heats the cells in the deeper layer of skin (dermis). These cells, called fibroblasts, start to produce more collagen, which improves texture and fine wrinkles.

Will the  IPL Skin Rejuvenation treatment make me more sensitive to the sun?

No, it does not. You can have the treatments done any time of the year but summer is more difficult if you pick up color easily in the sun. The good effects of the treatments won’t last very long if you are getting much sun exposure. You can wear sunscreen every morning and wear hats to protect your skin and decrease redness, brown spots, wrinkles, and skin cancers.

How long will the results from a skin rejuvenation treatment last?

That depends on how much sun exposure your skin gets after your laser treatments.  If you are in the sun a lot and do not use sunscreen, the underlying issues, whether they are redness or brown spots, will return.  But if you take good care of your skin and keep it protected from the sun, your skin will continue to look good with annual maintenance treatments.

If you want to maintain collagen growth, we currently recommend monthly treatments. Thanks to Bio2  in San Antonio for the great information about IPL!