What is a Photofacial?

A photofacial, also known as a foto facial, is a cosmetic procedure that treats hyperpigmentation or broken capillaries. The procedure is also used to promote the formation of collagen, or the protein that is found in the skin’s connective tissues that contributes to softness and elasticity. Collagen plumps up the skin’s structure so wrinkles and fine lines are smoothed out and are made less noticeable.

Photofacials make use of either intense-pulsed light, also referred to as IPL, or an LED or light-emitting diode type of technology. The LED photofacial is a gentle treatment method and is primarily used to encourage the formation of collagen and create a more youthful facial appearance. LED photofacials are recommended for acne sufferers as well as for treating rosacea and large pores. The procedure is as painless as it is relaxing.

An IPL photofacial is a type of laser treatment and is used to treat more serious skin conditions, such as broken capillaries, spider veins, erythema (redness), and brown spots. However, unlike an LED photofacial, the IPL facial can be rather painful.

Medical research shows that LED photofacials do stimulate the production of collagen. While you won’t receive the same dramatic facial results as opting for plastic surgery, these kinds of broad spectrum facials still make it easy for a woman to look younger or enjoy a flawless complexion at a more affordable price.

How many treatments are required?

Usually the best results can be obtained by undergoing a series of LED facials every other week. Thereafter, maintenance can be performed every other month. Should you require a more intense photofacial, or IPL treatment, you’ll need to schedule a series of six 30-minute treatment sessions, with each procedure scheduled once every three or four weeks.

What does the IPL procedure involve?

If you believe a photofacial may benefit you, you’ll need to set up an appointment for a consultation. Before an IPL treatment, the facial area is cleansed and prepared with a gel solution. The gel is replaced with a sunblock after the session. Photofacials—LED and IPL—typically take no longer than a half hour.

What to expect after the treatment

After the first scheduled treatment and following recovery, you’ll notice that your skin is remarkably smoother. Expect to experience some redness or swelling immediately after the procedure. Some patients may bruise and blister, too. Cold compresses or ice packs are used, if needed, for redness and swelling. However, photofacials usually don’t cause the recipient to experience any downtime as patients can usually return to work on the same day they receive the treatment. Any discomfort can be easily resolved by taking pain medication and using a topical anesthetic cream.