If the visible signs of sun damage, time, and lifestyle choices are appearing on your complexion, Photorejuvenation (Also known as photofacials or photo facial rejuvenation) at the Maas Clinic in San Francisco can help you achieve younger and healthier looking skin with little to no downtime and minimal discomfort. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and BBL™ (BroadBand Light) treatments can significantly reduce the appearance of freckles, wrinkles, birthmarks, broken or dilated capillaries, dark spots, blotchy skin color, enlarged pore size, and uneven pigmentation, targeting multiple issues in one easy treatment. For those suffering from rosacea, a chronic inflammatory disorder of the facial skin, Photorejuvenation is also a highly effective treatment that can address vascular redness in the face and neck.

How Photorejuvenation Works

In a photorejuvenation treatment, targeted high intensity light energy is delivered via a crystal in the handpiece to the skin. IPL devices filters enable us to specify the exact range of light waves to use to target unwanted brown spots and redness in the skin caused by sun damage. The heat from the light energy is absorbed by the unwanted red or brown pigment, raising the temperature of the targeted areas high enough to damage the lesion cells while doing no harm to the epidermis and surrounding tissue. The process is gradual, non-invasive and non-ablative, and therefore more gentle than traditional laser therapies.

As skin cells undergo their natural turnover, the damaged cells will be eliminated by the body, resulting in a more even skin tone. The treatment also triggers a controlled response, stimulating the generation of new collagen in the skin for a more even and vibrant complexion. The procedure can be reliably performed on various areas of the body, including the face, neck, decollete, and hands.

Does Photorejuvenation Treatments Hurt?

To us, the treatment experience is just as important as the outcome. We want patients to be able to tolerate the treatment in order to see optimal results and see long-term improvements to the evenness of your skin. To minimize any discomfort you may feel, we recommend patients arrive 30 minutes prior to treatment for the application of a topical numbing cream.

Our devices are equipped with advanced cooling technology for greater comfort and safety, and our experienced laser technicians are also well-versed in the latest techniques, both of which serve to reduce the painful ‘rubber band’ snapping or stinging feeling from the treatment.

What Happens During and After an IPL or BBL Treatment?

After eye protection is provided, the hand-piece is applied to the skin surface to be treated. There will be a bright flash of light each time the energy is delivered into the skin, and multiple passes will be performed. The crystal tip of the device will be oriented in a specific way on each pass, to ensure the energy covers every treatable square millimeter of the treated areas. The treatment itself can take just a few minutes to half an hour, depending on your specific skin concerns, to the number of areas being treated.

You will see some redness in the skin for an hour or so after treatment, but this can easily be covered by makeup, which we can provide for you. Sometimes, fine vessels in the face may shrink upon themselves immediately or even burst during the treatment.

But any bruising is only temporary and will resolve within a day. You may notice brown spots getting a little darker in the week after treatment, but they will fade and disappear in time.

What is the difference between IPL and BBL?

Simply put, BBL can be considered the next generation of IPL treatments. FDA-cleared for the treatment of sun-damaged skin, BBL spans a wider visible spectrum of light than IPL, with both producing light from the visible to the infrared spectrum.

Both technologies have provided well-documented results for skin rejuvenation. To discover which is more suitable for your needs, we invite you to schedule an in-person consultation with us today.

How Can IPL Be Used to Treat Dry Eyes?

Although most people are familiar with IPL as a skin rejuvenation treatment, it is becoming increasingly well known as a solution for dry eye symptoms. The treatment works by improving the health of the meibomian glands, which produce an oil that helps prevent tears from evaporating too quickly. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of dry eye disease and its associated symptoms, including itching, watering, burning, light sensitivity, red eyes, gritty sensation and blurred vision. IPL has multiple mechanisms of action as a treatment for dry eye.

The light energy:

  • Warms the meibomian glands to improve their form and function
  • Targets underlying causes of inflammation that contribute to dry eye
  • Reduces Demodex mites that stimulate infection
  • Facilitates critical cellular functions, such as collagen synthesis
  • Disrupts the inflammatory cycle that triggers and perpetuates dry eye

Each session of IPL for dry eyes usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. Patients can expect to experience relief within a few minutes of the first session. To receive the full benefits of this treatment, Dr. Maas recommends a treatment protocol of four sessions spaced six months apart. Following a full course of treatment, patients can anticipate improved vision and more eye comfort, as well as a reduced or eliminated need for eye drops. If dry eye symptoms reappear at any time, another IPL treatment can be scheduled.

Schedule an IPL or BBL Consultation in San Francisco Today

Even with disciplined use of sun protection, it is very difficult to completely protect your skin from UV damage. IPL and BBL are excellent treatments that can be done a few times a year to achieve and maintain uniformly clear and bright skin. Whether you’re treating your face or other parts of the body, photorejuvenation can help get rid of unwanted skin changes.

Dr. Maas is a big believer in IPL technology and the advances it represents in the field of aesthetic medicine. By successfully smoothing and evening out complexion tone and texture with extremely minimal risk, transformative photorejuvenating treatments can be safely enjoyed by the vast majority of patients.

To experience how IPL or BBL can make a difference to your skin, or to find out more about these treatments, including how these systems work to treat specific skin concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (415) 567-7000, or fill out our online form here.

The information about photorejuvenation (IPL and BBL) was reviewed by Corey S. Maas MD. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form on the sidebar.

Frequently Asked Questions

For males patients, can an IPL or BBL treatment result in beard or mustache loss?

While IPL and BBL are not very effective for hair removal, especially compared to specific laser hair removal devices, there is some potential for this to happen. We will discuss this with our male patients in detail. For men wishing to grow a full beard, we will typically avoid the area, as generally speaking bearded men have some protection from the sun anyway and won’t have as much sun damage in the bearded area. For other male patients, many feel the trade of for treating sun damage is important enough to have potentially thinner hair around the chin and jaw.

What is the best energy technology to treat skin - lasers or photorejuvenation?

IPL is great for treating an entire zone of the body, whether we address the face, neck, hands, or decollete. The light crystal transmits energy across the treatment area, allowing it to debulk unwanted pigments or chromophores en masse. In contrast, lasers are more of a targeted treatment for specifically indicated vessels or lesions that we might see in the skin. It is all a matter of what’s the most suitable for your particular skin concerns.

Is IPL suitable for use on Asian skin?

At the Maas ClinicTM we aim to offer the highest quality devices that can be readily adjusted to a vast majority of skin types. As expert providers of IPL and other energy-based treatments, we can tune our devices to target unwanted brown or blood vessels that overlay different skin tones, including olive complexions, in a very safe and effective way. For patients with skin tones that cannot be treated as successfully with this technology, we will suggest other more suitable methods.

Can IPL help with acne?

IPL is great for treating inflammatory skin conditions and removing redness in the skin, but on its own may not be the best procedure. Combining IPL with other treatments in the form of Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) would be more effective at combating acne, by reducing both the redness, as well as shrinking the glands where acne-causing bacteria thrive, and killing the bacteria itself.

Can I use topical agents before IPL?

For patients using Retin-A and other Tretinoin-based skin care products, this is not a contraindication for a photo rejuvenation treatment. For patients with easily irritated skin, we will have them stop applying these products within a week or so before treatment, but it really is not absolutely necessary for everyone to do so.

Is IPL Treatment for Dry Eyes Dangerous?

The light therapy is not applied directly to the eyes. During the procedure, a protective eye shield covers the eyes and a cool gel is placed onto the skin surface. Patients may feel a tingling and warming sensation while the light is utilized. Our providers choose appropriate light settings based on each patient’s skin type to minimize discomfort and risk.

Who Is a Candidate for IPL Therapy for Dry Eyes?

IPL may be recommended for patients with dry eye or meibomian gland dysfunction who have not achieved relief with other modalities, such as artificial tears, warm compresses, lifestyle changes, prescription eye drops and oral medications. IPL may not be suitable for those who are pregnant, have very dark skin or tanned skin, have certain medical conditions, or are taking certain medications or supplements.

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