Photo facials are skin treatments that use light as the active technology to create changes and improvements in the skin. Technically, laser and intense pulsed light, or IPL, are the true photo facial methods, but sometimes radiofrequency (RF) devices are included in this category. While RF machines work in a similar fashion, they use radio waves rather than light. Similarly, IPL isn’t technically a laser, though some may refer to the technology as laser. RF, IPL and various types of lasers essentially work the same way to create improvements in the skin of the face. Differences between types of energy and devices within each type suggest treatment for certain areas on the face or patient skin types.
There are three general treatment areas that photo facials improve. These include:
Photo facials use light to penetrate the outer layers of skin, targeting the collagen layer of the dermis, the deeper support layer of the outer skin. The light energy is absorbed by the support tissue layer and warms up. At a temperature called the coagulation point, the body senses that the existing collagen and elastin is damaged, and natural repair mechanisms kick into action to flush away the damaged tissue and replace it with new production. The new collagen has a rejuvenating effect on the surface skin. Minor lines, wrinkles, and scars may be pushed out with the renewed support tissue. Clumps of melanin responsible for age spots break up and fade, while visible veins and skin redness also tones down. New dermal tissue also attracts and stores moisture at the treatment site, improving complexion and skin health.
Side effects depend on several factors including the patient’s skin type and color. The photo facial device also has a marked influence on the after-treatment effects. This variation is similar to different strengths of chemical peels. The redness, swelling, and skin sensitivity after a photo facial is expected and a sign that the rejuvenating process is underway.
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