Damage caused by sun exposure, disease and other conditions can lead the appearance of redness, inflammation, pigmentation or other symptoms within certain areas of the skin. Although not usually of medical concern, these symptoms can affect a person’s self-confidence because of their cosmetic effects. Fortunately, there are many noninvasive treatments available to relieve symptoms and restore a normal appearance to the skin.
Photofacials use concentrated pulses of light to improve the texture, tone and appearance of the skin in patients with sun damage, sunspots, rosacea, spider veins and other embarrassing or unsightly conditions. The pulses of light used during this treatment target pigmented areas of the skin and dissolve the affected cells to create a smoother and clearer complexion, treating several conditions simultaneously when needed. This treatment can be used effectively on the face, chest, neck, arms, back and legs, depending on the condition of each patient’s skin and their individual goals for treatment.
During the photofacial procedure, pulses of light are emitted into the skin. The light is absorbed by the pigment in sunspots and the blood in the visible vessels, and converted to heat. The heat dissolves the cells that create the pigment and shrinks the vessels. The photofacial handpiece is gently pressed to the skin of the targeted area to deliver painless pulses of light.
You may experience a sensation similar to a rubber band being snapped on the skin, although most patients report this treatment as being tolerable. A topical anesthetic may be applied prior to treatment in order to minimize potential discomfort. Each treatment session takes about 20 to 45 minutes to perform, depending on the size and location of the targeted area.
Recovery and Results of Photofacials
After the photofacial treatment, patients can return to work and other regular activities the same day with little to no side effects. The skin may appear slightly flushed and capillaries may appear more visible, but these changes are often unnoticeable to others. It is important for patients to protect their skin from sun exposure for the first few months after treatment to promote proper healing and long-term results.
Most patients will experience a disappearance or significant reduction in skin irregularities after a series of treatment sessions spaced several weeks apart, although results depend on the type and severity of the condition being treated. Sun spots and other forms of sun damage tend to darken after treatment and then shed from the skin after one to two weeks. Patients with rosacea often notice a decrease in redness and a return to a more normal skin tone within a week after treatment. Those with spider veins may experience a full or partial fading of affected vessels after 10 to 14 days.
Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan for you in order to achieve the desired results for each patient’s individual condition.
Safety of Photofacials
Photofacials are considered safe and effective for most patients, with only a minor risk of bruising and redness, which usually fade on their own. When performed by an experienced physician, most patients can achieve their desired results with no complications. Your doctor will discuss the details of treatment and address any concerns you may have before performing this procedure.