Laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments are widely used as effective ways to remove unwanted hair. However, unlike the highly focused energy produced by lasers, IPL uses a broad spectrum of light energy, making it useful for many non-invasive cosmetic purposes.
IPL is an effective way to remove spider veins and is also widely used to rejuvenate the complexion and improve the overall tone and appearance of the skin.
The degree to which light energy produced by IPL is absorbed by skin cells largely depends on the pigmentation of each cell. Since excess skin pigmentation is pretty much the definition of “freckles,” IPL can be very useful as a way to treat unwanted freckles.
Of course, we’re not saying that freckles are necessarily unwanted – they’re often regarded as highly desirable by many, but not by everyone.
Different Types of Freckles
Freckles are small areas of skin with a distinctly darker color than surrounding skin. They’re more likely to be present, or at least more visible, on the face, arms, and shoulders of people with lighter skin color and light blonde or red hair. Yet, they’re also quite common in people with other skin tones, including those with very dark complexions. They’re more likely to appear when the skin is exposed to the sun and often have a genetic component, particularly amongst those of Celtic origin.
They’re not an indication of any health problems, but merely indicate that the skin’s melatonin, which is responsible for skin color, is not distributed uniformly. Freckles can be varied colors, ranging from yellow, orange, and red, to brown, and even black.
There are actually two main categories of freckles:
Ephelides freckles are flat, lighter-colored spots that appear in the summer months and fade during the winter.
Lentigines are darker spots that remain present regardless of exposure to the sun. Lentigines can develop after sunburn or sun damage.
How Does IPL Remove Freckles?
IPL is the most effective way to treat freckles. Light energy is more efficiently absorbed by darker areas of pigmentation in the skin and breaks down the excess melanin that forms the basis of each freckle. Adjacent areas of skin that do not contain excess melanin remain unaffected.
The larger the contrast between skin and freckle color, the easier it is to correct pigmentation imbalance using IPL. It’s still effective when used on people with darker complexions, but may be less effective on patients with very dark skin color, or who have deep suntans.
During IPL treatment, a cooling gel or light anesthetic is applied to the skin to reduce discomfort. Each IPL treatment takes around 30 minutes.
You may need three to five IPL treatments before the results are complete. The number of treatments depends on the size of the treatment area, or whether you’re hoping just to fade freckles or want them removed entirely. Multiple treatments are typically spaced out and performed after three to six weeks have passed.
What Happens After an IPL Treatment?
Individual pigmented spots may appear to darken immediately following an IPL treatment, but they will fade away over time. Your skin may appear red or slightly swollen immediately after treatment, but these symptoms usually disappear the same or next day. You’ll be able to resume normal activities right away.
Other Health Considerations
Although freckles are harmless, there are other types of skin problems that appear similar to freckles. Although typically not causes for alarm, skin pigmentation changes are not necessarily benign – you should immediately consult your doctor or dermatologist if you suspect that skin spots have recently appeared or grown.
In some cases, they might be caused by melanoma or other skin cancers; rapid diagnosis and treatment are very important in these cases.
Remove Freckles With IPL in Los Angeles
As such, for other non-invasive treatments, seeing an experienced and qualified practitioner is essential for freckle removal. Not only to choose the most effective treatment but also to ensure that any other skin problems are correctly diagnosed.
Your Laser Skin Care is delighted to evaluate your freckles and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. To learn more about the IPL Photofacial, contact our office at 323-525-1516 to schedule a free consultation.