The Basics Of Photofacials

Facial masks and such have been part and parcel of beauty regimes since before modern times (China’s Ming Dynasty and ancient Rome are two examples). Clay-based and charcoal masks are probably the best known. One that may be new to you is called the “photofacial.”

So, What Is A Photofacial?

Simply put, a photofacial is a cosmetic treatment that uses intense pulses of light to penetrate deeply into the skin. This causes the blood vessels and collagen below the epidermis to constrict, which leads to a reduction in age lines and redness. There’s little discomfort involved, and any redness or swelling which may occur after treatment goes away on its own shortly. You’ll usually see the benefits of a photofacial occur gradually in the weeks following treatment.

Am I A Good Candidate For A Photofacial?

People with pale skin that is still somewhat elastic tend to be the best candidates for treatment. Those with darker skin sometimes experience complications following a photofacial. Whether your skin is pale or not, however, it’s important to understand the effects the treatment will have on your skin. Remember to discuss any concerns you have with a trained dermatologist before pursuing treatment.

People with conditions such as rosacea may benefit from photofacials, since this will reduce the blotchiness caused by their condition. Pregnant women should not get treatment until after they have given birth. Anyone who uses the medication Accutane® should not get consider this cosmetic treatment until at least six months after they stop using the drug.

Even people who have none of these concerns should use caution. As mentioned above, consultation with a trained dermatologist is key. Your primary care provider should be made aware of your plans as well.

What Are The Side Effects And Risks Associated With This Treatment?

One reason why these treatments have become so popular is that, compared to other treatments, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, there are still a few risks involved.

People will sometimes experience swelling, redness, and increased visibility of capillaries post-treatment. These side effects are minor and will disappear in a few hours. In rare cases, blistering and bleeding has been reported. People have reported that they experienced scarring, but again this is rare. Hypo-pigmentation and hyper-pigmentation (lightening and darkening of the skin) may occur. These were more commonly reported among those who have dark skin or whose skin burns easily.

If you have open lesions, skin cancer, or keloid formation (excessive raised scarring), treatment may not be for you. Due to the risk of bleeding and blistering, and thus the formation of open wounds, insulin-dependent diabetics should not pursue photofacial treatment.