Putting Lasers to the Test: I Tried A PhotoFacial

Now that I'm 29 (yes, 29 and freaking out about my skin since I grew up a sun worshiper) I've been picking my dermatologist, Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz's, brain about what I should do to make sure it looks the best it possibly can.  As I creep near the big 3-0 I want to make sure my skin ages as gracefully as possible.  Yesterday, she convinced me to try a PhotoFacial, otherwise known as Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) to help rid my brown spots (thanks tanning), which dull my complexion and make me look older than I am.  Since I trust her tremendously, I happily surrendered to the PhotoFacial and let me tell you, it's no "facial." This was my first laser treatment.  More anxious than nervous I sat in the chair, put on a pair of goggles and listened as Dr. Lefkowicz told me I was going to be uncomfortable as she targeted brown spots with the laser on my cheeks, chin, nose and forehead.  When it comes to beauty, I'll take discomfort.  As a matter of fact, there's not much I wouldn't do for flawless skin.

The laser felt like a hot rubber band snapping for a second on each brown spot.  After one pass around my face, Dr. Lefkowicz waited a minute and checked in with me and went back for a second and then a third.  The forehead was by far the most sensitive, but the overall experience wasn't that bad, just slight discomfort.  The pulsed light hits the melanin in the skin, which causes the dark pigment to disappear.  When I looked in the mirror I noticed the brown spots were all darker and I had little red marks all over my face where she hit me with the laser.  It took about a half hour for my skin to calm down as it was a little inflamed.

For the next two days my brown spots will be darker and then naturally fall off.  I won't be able to go out without concealor and foundation on to hide them (and I don't normally wear face makeup).  Therefore, I would recommend doing this facial when you don't have any big meetings or events that week.  I'm instructed not to scrub or try to peel them off.  The care is simply to keep my face moisturized and wear SPF.  As you can imagine, I'm completely anxious to see results and will post a round two next week.

The IPL is great for people with brown spots, age spots and even rosacea and can be used on your face, chest.  Of course, treatment is different depending on the patient.  I may be happy after this one treatment, but sometimes several treatments are needed (up to four) spaced two to four weeks apart.