Just what is a “photofacial”?
Todd Minars, M.D. Dermatology
The term “photo-facial” can be confusing, because it is often misused. To understand what a photofacial does, you must simply remember the colors red and brown. But lets back up a minute. The term “Photofacial” was originally coined by a dermatologist in California named Patrick Bitters. His version of the “photofacial” uses a type of laser called “intense pulsed light” or IPL to rejuvenate photodamaged skin.
Today many people call many different laser treatments photofacials. What they all have in common is that they rejuvenate without peeling the skin. But the term “rejuvenate” itself is ambiguous. If we are going to “RE-juvenate” we first must ask ourselves what happens to our skin as we “DE-juvenate” or in other words, as we age. Most people will immediately think of wrinkles. But don’t forget the colors red and brown. As we age and spend time in the sun, the skin on our faces change from one even tone, to several colors,or more specifically, several shades of red and brown.
Red – in the form of broken capillaries, spider veins, and blemishes. Brown – in the form of age spots (or “liver spots” when on the hands).
A photofacial is a great way to address this form of aging. The brown “age spots” can be erased or at least dramatically lightened in just one treatment, while the red often takes two or more. “Photofacial” results can be accomplished with several different lasers. The original IPL has the advantage of using one laser for both colors, but this machine often takes 4 or 5 treatments to do what a laser today can accomplish in 2 or 3 treatments. Perhaps the most amazing thing about a Photofacial is that there is no “downtime”. Your brown spots may look darker before they fall off, and you may look a little pink for a few days, but that is it. No missed work and no real wound care. This is possible because the lasers are so selective for the color of their targets that they leave the normal skin intact, and simply erase the red and brown.
For more information, call Dr. Todd Minars at 954-987-7512.