Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a type of laser treatment that specializes in treating hemoglobin or melanin buildups. More specifically, IPL treatment is ideal for resolving spider veins or unwanted pigment spots. Sometimes known as a “photofacial,” an IPL face or skin treatment can be an effective way to improve the look and tone of your skin with minimal side effects or risk.
Spider Veins and IPL Treatments
Spider veins (official term: telangiectasia) are what happen when smaller veins in the body become enlarged (dilated). This makes them easily visible through the skin and can give off a sort of twisted appearance. Spider veins can technically appear anywhere but are most common around the nose, chin, and cheek areas, and on the upper thigh or near the ankles (due to pressure from standing). Hormone fluctuations, obesity, jobs that involve lots of prolonged standing, anything that increases abdominal pressure (constipation, girdles, etc.), and a history of blood clots can affect your chances of developing spider veins.
Regardless of why you have spider veins, however, IPL treatment behaves largely the same way. The laser’s wavelength and position is targeted to get primarily absorbed by the excess hemoglobin running through the enlarged vein. This causes a rapid heating and breakup, destroying the surrounding structure of the vein. While it sounds like this would make things worse, the body is able to adapt quite easily to the damaged vein and it will return to a normal size whilst being healed.
IPL Treatments for Pigment Reduction
Red and brown pigmentation spots can arise for any number of different reasons. Some, like the red blemishes of rosacea, have unknown causes but are suspected of having a genetic component. Others, like age spots, are the result of hormone shifts and dysfunctions that develop in old age. Environmental influences, like sun damage or exposure, can also play a role.
In each case, the use of an IPL skin treatment uses the same underlying principle. The redness or brownness is caused by either buildups of hemoglobin or melanin, and the IPL laser will get absorbed more readily by these substances than the surrounding tissue. Once heated, the substances will break up and disperse, easing the impact on your skin.
The IPL Procedure
An IPL treatment, whether for spider veins or pigment spots, follows the same general steps:
1.A cool gel is applied to the skin
2.The photo emitter (picture a barcode scanner) is applied
3.The light will pulse and start affecting the skin—this can feel like a rubber band is being snapped
4.The gel is wiped away and a moisturizer or cooling cream is applied
Is There Downtime?
There will be about three to six weeks of downtime in between each session needed for a full course of treatments (approximately three to five sessions). The procedure itself does not produce side effects that are capable of impairing you in the short term, either. Common after-effects are swelling, redness, or flushing in the treated area, as well as possibility for crusting. These effects can last from a few hours to a few days.
Who Is the Right Candidate for IPL Treatment?
An IPL skin or face treatment can be given to anyone who does not have an underlying vascular disorder or history of skin cancer. Due to extra melanin in the skin, dark-skinned individuals may require more treatments in order to avoid a higher risk of damage.
Get IPL Spider Vein and Pigment Treatments at the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic
At the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic, we pride ourselves on using the latest clinical methods to give clients the beauty they deserve. We support our clients being able to make the right, informed decisions about how to pursue IPL therapy, and we strive to provide the best laser treatments in Toronto. Feel free to contact us by phone at 416.546.4664 or by email at info@AntiAgingToronto.ca to ask any questions. Our skincare specialists can also offer you a tour of our Toronto facilities.