Using Light to Prevent Signs of Aging

I’ll be straight with you.

In my teens and early 20s, I didn’t really use sunscreen. It was trendy to be tan, so I’d forgo the protection and allow myself to burn slightly, so after it faded I was left with a subtle, yet sun-kissed glow. In my mid 20s, I typically put it on at the start of an outing at the beach or fishing excursion, but neglected to reapply it. I didn’t use it every day, until I found a tinted moisturizer with SPF in my late 20s.

Now I wish I had been wiser. After some small freckles appeared on my face and larger ones developed on my shoulder after the most severe sunburn of my life a few years ago, I worried more damage had been done underneath the superficial layer of my skin, and would appear later in life in the form of ugly age spots or sun spots.

Little did I know you could correct this problem!

It happens with a skin treatment called IPL, or Intense Pulse Light, and the procedure uses a spectrum of light that targets brown and red spots to give you a more even and brighter skin tone. The light brings those spots to the surface to the skin, (called peppering) where they eventually slough off throughout the new few days.

Individuals typically receive five treatments in total, one every five months, and they take about 30-45 minutes to complete.

Before I made the choice to undergo IPL, I had my skin analyzed using a VISIA Complexion Analysis. This machine, which is available in the office which I worked, takes a deeper look at your skin on different levels. It’ll show you pigmentation, texture, pore size, wrinkles, oily areas, and more. It’s an incredible device! In my case, it showed me I indeed had high percentages of brown and red pigmentation lying under my skin.

That’s a look at my results from the VISIA! The left side was taken in May of 2017, before I started using any type of professional skin care products or underwent any sort of micropeel, and the right side is from November 2017, right before my first IPL treatment. The higher the number, the better. Obviously you can see there was some difference from just the products and monthly micropeels, so I’m excited how much better my numbers will be for brown and red spots after my five IPL treatments are complete!

So I decided to get my face and shoulder treated, and I wanted to share my experience!

After cleansing my face, my aesthetician protected my eyes with special goggles or covers that gently adhere to my eyelids. This is VERY important! Then she applied a clear gel to my face to act as a cooling agent, tested different strengths of the light, and then chose what level worked best based on my skin’s reaction.

During the treatment she went over each area of my face and shoulder twice. While I cannot say this treatment is completely pain free, it’s very tolerable, and feels like a slight pinch whenever the light is activated. Some spots on my face were more sensitive than others, like around my eyebrows and upper lip, but on a pain scale of 1-10 I’d give this a 1 or 2, with the more sensitive areas maybe reaching a 3.

Popular areas to treat are the face, neck, chest, and hands. I obviously am focusing on my face, but I’m also treating that spot on my shoulder I mentioned earlier. Since most of the pigment is deeper on my face, I’m not seeing a big difference with my naked eye, but I can tell it’s working because of the tiny spots coming to the surface. The VISIA will confirm the difference after my final treatment. When it comes to the spot on my shoulder, I can already see a huge change. I don’t have any before and after pictures, but I can say the spots are definitely disappearing!

Is IPL something you’re interested in? Before you schedule an appointment, make sure the person performing IPL or any type of skin treatment is certified. You definitely don’t want someone messing with your skin — especially the skin on your face — who doesn’t know the proper techniques and equipment settings.

Want to learn more about skin care treatments? In April, I told you about my experience with dermaplaning, so if you haven’t read that post, go check it out!


About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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