Intense Pulsed Light in Washington D.C.

What is it?

Commonly called IPL or photo facial is used to address many skin concerns such as redness and hyperpigmentation with virtually no downtime. IPL uses light energy to reverse the visible signs of aging from general environmental wear and tear. It can also help stimulate collagen production reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

What are the Benefits of IPL Treatments?

At West End Plastic Surgery, all of our non-surgical treatments seek to improve your skin. IPL photofacials benefit your skin in two ways. First, these light treatments target your pigmentation problems such as age spots. The darker cells absorb the IPL energy and the melanin pigment fragments. The body then absorbs the pigment cells and the spots become less and less visible. With facial surface veins, the energy is absorbed by the dark blood, heating the vein. This heating causes the vein wall to collapse and close off the vein. The body then scavenges the vein and it completely disappears.

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Second, the IPL energy penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin (the outer layer) and gently heats the dermis, the skin’s second layer. When the body senses this heating in the dermis it responds as if it has been wounded by producing new amounts of collagen and sending it to the “wounded” area. Since collagen provides the skin’s underlying support structure, this firms your skin and reduces lines and wrinkles.

Who is a Good Candidate for an IPL Photofacial at West End?

IPL photofacials are primarily used for addressing pigmentation issues. So, if you have blotchy, sun-damaged skin with lots of freckles, IPL photofacials are an effective treatment. They also shrink large pores, remove broken capillaries, and lessen fine lines and wrinkles. Rosacea responds to IPL treatments.

IPL photofacials are not effective for darker skin tones or deeply tanned skin, as the IPL wavelengths cannot differentiate between the age spots/pigmentation problems and the rest of the darkened skin. If you’re using Retin-A, doxycycline, or other medications, they will have to be stopped for one week prior to your photofacial at West End.

How is an IPL Treatment Performed?

To start your IPL photofacial, we rub gel on your clean skin, and we give you a pair dark glasses to protect your eyes from the light rays. If you desire, we also can apply topical numbing cream to reduce the sensations of the treatment.

We then place the IPL handpiece on the skin of the treatment area. The handpiece slides across the skin delivering light pulses. When the IPL device delivers the light pulse, you’ll feel a slight sting. Patients equate this with a small rubber band being plucked lightly against your skin. This process is repeated until the entire face or other targeted area is completely covered. This typically takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

IPL For Acne Treatment

The Stellar M22™ IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Acne treatment enables your physician to greatly improve your skin appearance, reduce your acne, while at the same time treat the redness and pigmentation of your skin. The unique Stellar M22™ IPL technology utilizes light flashes over the treated area, triggering biochemical response that will eventually eliminate the bacteria within the pores. IPL is a non-invasive solution on inflammatory acne with less collateral effects than oral medication.

How does IPL work for acne?

IPL is one of the most commonly administered form of light therapy in dermatological applications. IPL systems are designed to deliver many rapid, highly intense and controlled pulses of light – the controlled pulsing prevents thermal damage to your skin and minimizes discomfort. IPL technology treats your acne with specific wavelengths of light targeting bacteria in the skin, as well as inflamed sebaceous glands that contribute to break-outs. IPL energy (at various wavelengths) is also used to selectively destroy pigment clusters, blood-filled capillary veins, or hair, depending on the intended nature of the treatment. 

To ensure utmost comfort, your physician should apply cold coupling gel on the treatment area. Depending on your specific concern, you can expect the session to last 15-20 minutes. You may experience a warm sensation as the light is applied to the skin, but the treatment is gentle and should not feel uncomfortable.

When will I see results?

During the Stellar M22™ IPL acne treatment, short pulses of intense light are emitted from an applicator onto your skin. The light penetrates through various skin layers and helps eliminate acne bacteria and reduce the inflammation or sebum excess (skin oil) production that characterizes acne. Depending on the acne severity, it may take typically 4-6 sessions with a recess of 4 weeks in between treatments to see improvement on your skin.

What can I expect after treatment?

Immediately following treatment, you may experience some redness, depending on your customized treatment settings. The redness will usually disappear within a few hours. In most cases, makeup may be applied immediately, and daily activities can be resumed the very same day. Your physician may advise you to stay out of direct sun for a few weeks following the treatment and to apply sun screen regularly.

IPL for Rosacea treatment

Your physician can now treat your Rosacea symptoms and ensure great looking skin, while treating not only the redness and flush, but also removing skin imperfections and stimulate collagen and elastin fiber production. Stellar M22™ Rosacea treatment uses Lumenis’ IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) technology with OPT™ to gently target the vascular condition.

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How does Stellar M22™ IPL work for Rosacea?

The IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) technology allows treatment of Rosacea symptoms like flushing, redness and visible blood vessels, as well as improving the overall appearance of your skin. Stellar M22™ IPL with Optimal Pulse Technology (OPT™) enables your clinician to customize the treatment according to your skin type, condition severity, and desired results, with maximum safety. Light pulses penetrate the tissue and create heat inside the blood vessels, which closes the vessels’ walls, eventually causes them to disappear.

Just before treatment, your physician will apply a thin layer of clear gel onto the treatment area. Depending on your specific concern, you can expect the session to last 15-30 minutes. You may experience a warm sensation as the light is applied to the skin, but the treatment is gentle and should not feel uncomfortable.

When will I see results?

The Stellar M22™ IPL Rosacea treatment tones down redness, flushing, and visible small blood vessels, over a series of treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart.

Vein & Vascular Treatment with IPL

The Stellar M22™ treatments enable your physician to effectively treat spider veins, reticular veins (blue veins), broken capillaries and rosacea. Our unique technology enables optimal tailoring of the light source and energy to effectively target the vascular condition and cause it to fade away.

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Vascular Technology

The laser or IPL create heat inside the blood vessels, which closes the vein’s walls, eventually causing the vein to disappear. The laser is very precise and only impacts the selected blood vessel and none of the surrounding skin. The IPL filter also targets the blood only and none of the surrounding skin. Both Lumenis technologies enable cooling of your skin between pulses, which reduces the chance of skin damage, producing great results.

Just before treatment, your physician will apply a thin layer of clear gel onto the treatment area. During treatment, your physician will treat the targeted veins by applying a few pulses on each blood vessel source. The treatment will take between 10-20 minutes, depending on the number of blood vessels being treated. During the treatment you may experience a stinging or burning sensation, but it is tolerable.

When will I see results?

In many cases, improvement is seen immediately after treatment – full clearance of the veins might take several weeks as they slowly fade away. In the case of multiple veins, 2-3 sessions in 6-8 weeks intervals may be needed.

What can I expect after treatment?

Immediately following treatment, darkening of the vessels will be apparent, with slight redness and swelling along the vessel. You should avoid hot baths and excessive physical exercise for 1-2 weeks following your treatment. However, you should be able to continue with your normal activities immediately.

Post Treatment Instructions

  • Your skin may be irritated or red and feel as though you have mild sunburn. This is a normal occurrence and you may apply cool, not cold compresses to the treatment site. Do not apply ice or anything frozen directly to the skin. Apply cool compresses for no longer than 20-minute intervals.
  • Avoid the use of alpha or beta hydroxyl products, retinols, or Retin A products for 24 hrs after your treatment as they could create additional irritation. After 24 hrs you may resume your prescribed skin care regimen.
  • Flaking and crusting may occur. Do not attempt to exfoliate or remove any crusting. Areas with heavy sun damage and brown spots will darken over the first 24 hrs after treatment. Some of the red areas may intensify as well. Do not pick or abrade the area. This is part of the normal response to treatment and will clear on its own in 3-7 days. If you experience any open wounds contact our office immediately.
  • Maintain hydration. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free and sodium-free beverages and keep skin well hydrated as directed.
  • Cleanse and treat your skin as prescribed. Follow the directions you are given for your skin condition and goals. Proper skin care is essential to support the effects of your IPL treatment.
  • Do not expose your skin to direct sunlight for a minimum of 3 days. Good sun protection is essential following treatment. If you are outdoors apply a minimum SPF 30 and wear sun protective clothing and headwear. Following IPL therapy your skin is highly susceptible to sunburn or the formation of irregular, darkened pigmentation. Therefore, Sun protection is required for life to maintain the results you have achieved.
  • Follow-up as directed. Your treatment may require several treatments of many weeks to achieve optimal results. Results may not be visible after each treatment but may develop gradually in the weeks that follow. It is essential that your progress is monitored throughout your treatment cycle. Keep your appointments as directed.

How Much Does an IPL Cost?

The cost of your IPL photofacial at West End Plastic Surgery will depend upon the size of the areas you’ve elected to treat. Your cost is based upon the length of time it takes to adequately cover your target areas. This can vary widely between patients. During your consultation we’ll learn exactly the issues or areas you’re seeking to address. At that point, we can give you the exact cost of your IPL photofacial.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Treatment Video:

Does Insurance Cover IPL?

No. These treatments are considered to be elective, cosmetic treatments. As such, insurance does not cover them. You can use money from a health savings account to pay for your photofacial, however.

Your skin will be unprotected against sun exposure, however, so you need to be cognizant of that. You’ll have to avoid sun exposure for several days. From there you’ll need to really protect yourself for at least two weeks. It’s always a good idea to protect your skin from the sun anyway. After all, the pigmentation spots you’re having treated developed due to too much sun exposure.

How Long Will My Results from IPL Last?

The changes in your pigmentation problems and blood vessels are permanent. After the IPL energy breaks down the melanin in your sun spots and closes off those small surface blood vessels, your body removes them as waste products. Whether you develop more sun spots and broken surface blood vessels is dependent upon your sun exposure moving forward. More sun exposure will create more sun spots and areas of blotchy pigmentation. But if you take good care of your skin and protect it from the sun, your skin will continue to look good for the long term.

Is IPL Safe? Are There Risks or Side Effects?

These are very low-risk procedures, as they are completely non-ablative and non-invasive. Unlike laser resurfacing, the light energy is not removing any skin. It is simply penetrating the outer layer and targeting the darker colors of the sun damaged skin and blood vessels beneath the surface. There isn’t any recovery after our IPL photofacials at West End Plastic Surgery. Your skin may be somewhat red after your session, but that passes in a few hours.

"I received IPL for dark spots on my face at West End Plastic Surgery from Renee Tucker, and it was a fantastic experience! I'm mixed-race with naturally tanned skin, and it's very hard to find any provider who will even consider giving me IPL. I went to a different provider for a few years and had great results, but when that provider left the area, I couldn't find anyone who was willing to do IPL on my skin tone. Renee Tucker was not only willing to do it, but she did an exceptional job! I appreciated her openness to working with me, as well as her confidence in doing the procedure. She was wonderful, and I plan to go back to her every year. I can't recommend Renee and West End Plastic Surgery enough." - Heidi

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Interested in learning more about our IPL Treatments? Call 202-785-4187 to schedule your consultation with West End Plastic Surgery today!


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