Q&A Topic: Revitalizing Your Skin With a Photofacial
David A. Palaia, MD, FACS
Q. What is a photofacial?
A. Even if you’ve followed a meticulous skincare regimen since the age of 15 – face scrub, wash, toner, mask and moisturizer – there’s no escaping the skin changes that come with age. However, while the Fountain of Youth may be the stuff of fairy tales, looking and feeling your best doesn’t have to be. A photofacial is a safe, noninvasive treatment that uses intense pulses of light (IPL) to refresh your skin. It can be used to treat a wide variety of skin imperfections, including brown and sun-damaged spots, freckles, uneven skin tone, melasma, tiny spider veins, rosacea, fine wrinkles and lines, and even certain types of acne and acne scarring.
Q. How does it work?
A. Wavelengths of light target and destroy areas in the deep epidermis that cause flaws on the skin’s surface. After only a few treatments, you’ll be impressed with your skin tone. And there’s a bonus you’ll love: The procedure also stimulates collagen production, which reduces wrinkles and increases the thickness and elasticity of the skin, giving you a glowing texture and a youthful look.
Q. What can I expect?
A. A photofacial isn’t a relaxing day at the spa. During an in-office procedure, you’ll wear dark goggles to protect your eyes from the light source. A wand, placed against your skin, zaps light into its deep layer. You will feel heat and the sensation of a rubber-band snap. It’s not terribly painful, but it is uncomfortable. The whole process takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Though you’ll likely see some blemishes clear up immediately, you’ll probably require more than one treatment. You might need four or five treatments, spaced three weeks apart, to get the result you desire. The treatment costs between $1,500 and $1,800 for four sessions; however, you might also want to come back for yearly touchups, to maintain your glowing complexion.
Q. Are there any special instructions to follow after a photo facial?
A. Following the procedure, there’s really no downtime. You might have a little redness that day, but you shouldn’t have blisters, scabbing, bruising or even too much swelling. You can wear makeup and resume your usual skincare regimen the very next day. But don’t forget your sunblock! After your photofacial treatment, it’s important to avoid direct sun exposure. Apply sunblock daily. Results will last longer and it’s better for your skin.
Q. What advice can you give to someone considering a photofacial?
A. If you’re excited about the benefits of a photofacial, I recommend that you seek treatment with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist experienced with all skin types. People with fair to medium skin tones tend to achieve the best results, because there is less chance of discoloration. But, anyone is a candidate. If you have a darker skin tone, we just have to be very careful about treating without causing pigment changes. However, you can’t receive a photofacial if you have a suntan. Your tan needs to be completed faded before receiving treatment.
Dr. Palaia is Board Certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He was the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital Center from 2000 to 2005 and specializes in facial cosmetic surgery. He has authored numerous articles in prestigious journals and has lectured internationally on a variety of topics, including breast reconstruction, cosmetic breast surgery, and facial plastic surgery.
Northern Westchester Surgical Services, P.C.
Center for Plastic Surgery
Learn More About Dr. Palaia
Read more about non-surgical facial procedures
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