My IPL Experience

By: Nicole Angione APRN, Ocoee

By: Nicole Angione APRN, Couture Med Spa Ocoee

As a red-haired, fair-skinned Irish girl, you can clearly see the sun damage that my skin has received over the years. As a teenager, I sunbathed to get a nice tan complexion. However, little did I know back then, that sunbathing was not something my skin was made to do. Instead of getting that nice summer glow, I ended up getting sun damage in the form of light brown pigmented lesions on my skin or what many call freckles. My mother used to call my freckles “angel kisses,” but, in reality, they were sun damage that I would be dealing with as I got older. 

Sun damage over the years can age a client to make them appear older. As I started to approach my 30s, I did not want to look anything but my age or younger. Therefore, when I started as a nurse practitioner at Couture Med Spa, I was eager to try the Intense Pulse Light (IPL) laser treatment in hopes of removing my sun damage from the years of neglecting to protect my skin.

How Does IPL work?

An IPL treatment at Couture Med Spa uses a process called photorejuvenation to improve the appearance of skin by removing age spots (sun-induced pigmentation), most benign brown pigments, and redness caused by broken capillaries on the face and body. IPL uses an optimized light device to deliver energy into your skin, targeting vascular & pigmented lesions, which slowly disappear as your body’s natural healing process progresses. Clients can expect to see a more even skin tone and a decrease in the appearance of blood vessels, brown spots, and redness. Since I am fair skinned with brown sunspots and rosacea to my face, I was very excited to see how this treatment would benefit me. 

Before My IPL treatment

Before scheduling my IPL, I made sure that I did not have any recent sun exposure two weeks prior to my IPL treatment.  Sun exposure before or after an IPL treatment can cause adverse side effects such as burning of the skin. I also stopped using my retinol at night as well as any other harsh products (hydroquinone) or exfoliants at least 5 days prior to IPL treatment to avoid any skin irritation. After ensuring I followed the IPL pretreatment guidelines, I was ready to go!

During the IPL treatment

During the IPL treatment, I was provided with safety goggles by Couture Med Spa to protect my eyes from the laser light source. Sara, another nurse practitioner here at  Couture, discussed what I should expect to feel during the treatment as well as all of the aftercare prior to starting so that I felt very comfortable with the process. When the IPL treatment started on my shoulders, I felt a cool touch of the laser and then a little hot zap when the laser was fired. It was very tolerable, and I had no discomfort at all.  The treatment was quick — it averages about 5-10 minutes with no downtime.  

Post-IPL Treatment 

Sara gave me the Couture Antioxidant Sunscreen to protect my skin after the treatment from the sun while going to run errands that day. I also purchased the sunscreen to use daily for my skin’s protection. Couture’s Antioxidant sunscreen has a 14.5 % zinc oxide which will prevent any adverse effects from the sun on the skin after a laser treatment. 

Some people may experience a mild sunburn-like sensation for up to 24 hours accompanied by minor swelling after an IPL treatment. However, I did not experience that. After the treatment, I waited 7 to 21 days for my pigmentation to darken and develop into “coffee ground” looking scabs that would naturally shed off. I did not get the scabbing after my first round, but by my second treatment, they started to appear. I made sure when I did see that darkening of the pigmentation to not pick or scratch but rather let the lesion fade or flake off.  Post-treatment, I followed the aftercare instructions that Sara provided such as to avoid hot tubs, swimming pools, and activities that cause excessive sweating for 24 hours. I also stopped exfoliating as well as using any retinol or glycolic and salicylic acid products. 

Overall, I was very happy with the IPL treatment results. Just like losing weight it is a slow steady process for the cellular turnover and took a few treatments, but the results did deliver which I was very happy about! If you are someone who has sun damage or pigmentation that you would like to get removed then feel free to contact any of Couture Med Spa’s three locations to schedule a complimentary consultation to see if IPL is for you. We look forward to seeing you!