Fotofacials: LED and IPL Facials Explained

“Fotofacials” or “Photo Facials” is a broad term used to describe treatments that use light technology. These in office skin treatments are typically used to treat hyperpigmentation problems, broken capillaries, age spots, discoloration, reds and browns in the skin, as well as an aid to boost collagen production. They have also been shown to be effective in treating acne and acne scarring. “While not technically, ‘lasers’, most fotofacials are categorized into two types,” explains Dr. Miriam Hanson, dermatologist and cosmetic expert at Sanova Dermatology in Austin. “These are IPL, or intense pulsed light, and LED, or light emitting diode.” To understand what is a photo facial, you would need to understand the difference between an IPL and a LED treatment.

Benefits Of Fotofacials

  • fotofacials can help problems associated with dyschromia or discoloration in the skin.
  • It can help fix rosacea, freckles, poikiloderma, and liver spots.
  • It can help lighten certain hyperpigmented or dark spots.
  • It can help stimulate collagen growth, while reinforcing existing collagen.
  • Photo facials are non-ablative. This means that it doesn’t exfoliate, burn or injure skin cells like other types of exfoliating treatments like microdermabrasion, or lasers such as Fraxel or CO2 resurfacing. It works by targeting the inner layers of the skin, requiring very little downtime for the patient.

LED treatments utilize special light bulbs illuminated by the movement of electrons. These treatments will emit visible yellow light as well as infrared energy. “In a study published in The Journal Of Cosmetic Laser Therapy, 81% of patients reported a sharp reduction in facial wrinkles, especially crows feet,” notes Dr. Hanson, “and more than 50% saw an overall improvement in the appearance of their skin.”

IPL fotofacials utilizes a small wand that delivers flashes of light also in the visible red and infrared range. There are a number of IPL devices on the market, such as the Syneron elosPlus and others. IPL fotofacials can be utilized on the whole face, or on isolated body areas including the neck, upper chest, backs of the hands and others. Consecutive treatments are usually required, with most patients experiencing 5 to 6 IPL treatments in regular intervals. IPL fotofacials are extremely well tolerated. “While some patients experience redness to the skin or some slight swelling immediately after the treatment, this subsides quickly. Overall these treatment produce great results with minimal downtime,” explains Dr. Hanson.

Contact Us

For help selecting the right fotofacial treatment for your skin type, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hanson or one of the other board-certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology, please contact us today.

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