By Camille E. Introcaso, M.D. and Glen Crawford, M.D.
Fall is here! Like many of you, we at PCD are shaking the sand out of our shoes, getting our kids back to school, and looking forward to some cooler weather. We are also preparing to help our patients address summer sun damage. The fall is a great time to check in with your dermatologist for a full skin exam to make sure your skin is healthy, to discuss and maximize your skin care regimen with your doctor or one of our licensed aestheticians, and to learn about options for enhancing your skin’s appearance through intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments.
Even with careful sun protection, sometimes the end of summer can bring brown spots on the face, chest, backs of hands, and other sun-exposed places. These brown spots, known as “sun spots” or “age spots,” are a part of photoaging, along with visible blood vessels, fine lines, and wrinkles. IPL is a light-based treatment that uses various wave lengths of light to target and destroy brown spots and freckles as well as redness and small blood vessels. For most people, IPL treatment is a safe, effective, and rapid treatment for brown spots and redness, and it also has mild benefits of skin tightening and textural improvements. You can expect to need 3 to 5 treatments, 3 to 6 weeks apart, for best results, and sun protection is important for maintaining those results. A typical treatment lasts about 15 minutes, and causes mild redness that lasts a few days. Brown spots initially become darker and then flake off in about 7 to 10 days. Most patients experience only mild discomfort during the procedure and do not need to take time off from work. For more information and to schedule a free IPL consultation, please contact the office through our patient portal or at (267) 519-0154.
To maximize and preserve the benefits of IPL treatments, we also recommend use of topical retinoids and topical antioxidants for many of our patients. Use of these products prior to IPL can allow for stronger and more effective light penetration, and continuing use afterwards can help maintain the skin’s brighter appearance. For most patients, we will ask you to stop use of topical retinoids, along with discontinuing some types of other medications that can make you sun-sensitive, in the week before a treatment. For more details on how your skin care regimen can enhance your skin’s health and appearance, contact us today.