IPL Photofacial

At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Atlanta

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) skin treatments represent a breakthrough photo-rejuvenation treatment for the skin. But an even newer technology has emerged called ELOS, which combines intense pulsed light with bipolar radiofrequency energy that greatly improves upon the photo rejuvenation process from intense pulse light therapy alone.

This new treatment is called Photo Facial RF™, ELOS™ technology or Photo Facial RF™ and it represents the new standard for age-defying photo rejuvenation of the skin. This new technology treats skin damage non-invasively — there is no disruption of the skin's epidermal surface. Photo Facial RF™ treatments address the effects of photoaging and sun damage with low risk of complications and no recovery time.

This FDA-approved, patented technology provides dramatic results for a variety of benign conditions, including age spots, sun-induced freckles, symptoms of rosacea, birthmarks, unsightly veins, acne scarring and other blemishes — even unwanted hair.

Deciding if Photo Facial RF™ is Right For You

Laser resurfacing and deep chemical peels often send patients into hiding, as they wait for redness and swelling to subside. Microdermabrasion addresses skin irregularities, but is not effective against all complexion problems including redness, flushing and broken capillaries.

Face lifts and other surgical procedures are far too invasive for younger patients and "baby boomers" who simply want to revitalize their appearance without recovery downtime. Photo Facial RF™ is an outstanding additional treatment for patients who have undergone facelifts and other surgical procedures.

The visible signs of aging cannot be fully avoided but can be dramatically minimized. The key is to do it as gently as possible. As far as the skin is concerned there are two types of aging — intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging involves the inevitable: as we grow older, our skin naturally becomes thinner and drier. Diminished amounts of collagen make the skin less elastic.

What used to bounce back begins to sag. Static deep wrinkles may begin appearing. The rate of these events is genetically determined for each person; the process first becomes noticeable between the ages of 30 and 35.

Extrinsic aging results from exposure to the environment. Extrinsic aging is the critical element in determining who looks older or younger than their biological age. Exposure to sunlight is a key contributor to extrinsic aging. Photoaging occurs when elastin and collagen break down and are not replaced, causing fine lines and wrinkles to intensify. Photoaging also causes pigment changes with development of age spots (sun-induced freckles) and uneven skin tone. Spider veins and dilated capillaries are another sign of photoaged skin.

Lifestyle choices also have an impact on extrinsic aging. Cigarette smoking contributes to the breakdown of elastin and collagen and impairs the body's healing capacity.

The simplest way to see the contrast between intrinsic and extrinsic aging is to compare skin commonly exposed to the sun (face, hands, and neck) with skin not exposed to the sun (usually the breasts, inner arms or buttocks).

The Science of Light: Photo Facial RF™ Helps Restore the Skin's Youthful Glow

There are an overwhelming number of options available to improve the skin's appearance, from creams and peels to microdermabrasion and laser treatments. Can any of these procedures provide significant improvement without interrupting daily routines?

Skin Treatments using Photo Facial RF™ offer a solution that:

  • Addresses skin conditions that are most visible
  • Treats the entire face, not only small spots
  • Causes little discomfort
  • Offers an immediate return to routine activities
  • Provides gradual, natural-looking improvement
  • Produces long-lasting results

Photo Facial RF™ is the most versatile of all treatment options. Photo Facial RF™ can treat numerous skin conditions at once. It is effective on red blemishes that originate from blood vessels, as well as brown pigment blemishes in the form of freckles, age spots and other sun damage. Photo Facial RF™ also treats the neck, chest, and hands where sun damage is often most visible.

Getting Started

Dr. Alan N. Larsen or his medical aesthetician will determine a Photo Facial RF™ treatment plan for each new patient, accounting for the number and severity of skin conditions being treated, as well as skin type. On average, four to six treatments are recommended, scheduled at three-week intervals. Each session usually lasts about 20 minutes, with patients returning to normal activity immediately afterwards. In fact, patients can often schedule their Photo Facial RF™ treatments over their lunch hour. Photo Facial RF™ treatments provide gradual natural improvement with excellent long-term results.

What to Expect

Before treatment, patients are provided with protective eyewear and a cold gel is usually applied to the areas to be treated. During treatment, Dr. Larsen or his medical aesthetician will gently apply the smooth, crystalline surface of the ELOS™ handpiece to the skin. The combined radio frequency and light energy are delivered to the skin surface in precise pulses that are typically pain-free.

Occasionally some signs of treatment such as redness can last for one or two hours. In most cases, the entire face is treated, but the therapy can also work well on the neck, chest, and hands. Results from a full series of treatments usually last for a year or more.

Photo Facial RF™ treats the damaged superficial layer of the skin while delivering thermal energy to deeper tissue. Clinical studies support a positive effect on collagen production, which helps firm and tighten the skin. Some providers may refer to Photorejuvenation with IPL under other commercial names such as Lumenis™, EpiFacial or others. Prospective patients should verify that they will be treated with Photo Facial RF™ from Syneron.

Frequently Asked Questions About IPL

How do Photo Facial RF™ and BOTOX® work together?

BOTOX® has long been used for medical procedures, such as reducing muscle spasms. The cosmetic use of botox skyrocketed following FDA clearance in 2002 for its use in treating glabellar lines (the wrinkles between the eyebrows).  Dr. Larsen describes the use of Botox with Photo Facial RF™ as "complementary" because:

  • Botox gives outstanding results for lines and wrinkles.
  • Photo Facial RF™ clears the "canvas of the face," smoothing away various brown and red conditions while improving general texture and skin tone.
  • While Botox's effects take time to appear, Photo Facial RF™ effects begin quickly, giving patients near-term, tangible results.
  • Botox and Photo Facial RF™ treatments can be performed during the same office visit to produce dramatic effects with minimal time investment.

How does Photo Facial RF™ treat benign vascular lesions?

Aging, sun exposure and other factors can cause the appearance of broken capillaries and blood vessels on the face known as telangiectasias, which appears as spider veins. Sometimes broken capillaries can cause a diffused redness in the skin, called erythema, a source of social embarrassment for many people. Rosacea is a common skin condition that is characterized by diffused erythema (redness). All of these conditions respond well to IPL.

Both laser and radio frequency technologies together are capable of addressing unsightly veins on the legs. During treatment, Elos energy is absorbed by the blood in these small veins, heating and destroying the vessels. Over time the destroyed veins are reabsorbed and disappear.

What is Photorejuvenation?

The term "Photorejuvenation" refers to the non-ablative (does not injure the skin), non-invasive treatment of red and brown pigment that leaves a smooth skin texture and even complexion, yielding a more youthful appearance.

What are the advantages of Photo Facial RF™ Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation?

Photo Facial RF™ Skin Treatments are the safest, most effective and popular way to improve the signs of aging from the face, neck, chest, arms and hands. This in-office procedure is performed by a physician or trained medical staff member and typically requires four to six sessions of about 20 minutes each, performed at approximately three-week intervals.

In addition to effectively treating multiple symptoms and locations in each session, the Photo Facial RF™ procedure is gentle, non-invasive and safe, requiring no downtime. In fact, many people even schedule their sessions during their lunch breaks. Additionally, Photo Facial RF™ treatments are customized to each individual's specific skin type and condition, providing the best possible results.

Who is a candidate for this procedure?

Any man or woman who shows the signs of aged and sun-damaged skin is a candidate for Photo Facial RF™ Skin Treatments using ELOS technology. A brief consultation with Dr. Larsen or his medical aesthetician should provide all the information needed.

How are Photo Facial RF™ Skin Treatments using ELOS technology performed?

Before treatment, patients are given protective eyewear and a cold gel is usually applied to the area to be treated. During treatment, the smooth, crystalline surface of the handpiece is gently applied to the skin, delivering precise pulses of light to the area being treated.

IPL treatments are usually pain-free, but an anesthetic cream can be used if the light pulses are uncomfortable. Some patients compare the sensation to a light pinch or the snap of a rubber band. Treatment sessions usually last about 20 minutes, and a complete program usually includes four to six sessions.

After treatment, patients can immediately return to normal routines and activities. Occasionally evidence of treatment such as redness or blotchiness may last for an hour or two.

Why are multiple treatments necessary?

Several Photo Facial RF™ treatments are required to provide gradual, natural-looking improvement with very low risk. Results usually last a year or more.

How much do Photo Facial RF™ Skin Treatments using ELOS technology cost?

Costs vary depending on the portion of the body where the procedure is performed, the severity of the skin condition and other factors. Compared to other aesthetic procedures, IPL Skin Treatments are quite affordable. Photo Facial RF™ is usually priced above microdermabrasion and some chemical peels, but less than laser resurfacing and cosmetic surgeries. Photo Facial RF™ procedures are not usually covered by health insurance.

Are these treatments FDA-approved? Are they safe?

ELOS's technology is FDA approved. Because of the combined energies of light and radio frequency they are the safest treatments available today.

Learn More About IPL Treatments

If you're ready to learn more about Photofacial RF™ or to schedule an appointment, we encourage you to contact the office of double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Larsen. Our office is located in the Buckhead area of North Atlanta. Call (404) 367‐9005 to inquire about a consultation.