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Does IPL Help With Wrinkles?

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A woman receiving IPL treatment for her skin

The primary cause of early wrinkles is overexposure to UV light, which presents as fine lines or creases appearing around the eyes, face, and neck. One way to limit the amount of exposure and sun damage to the eyes is to wear sunglasses

Another way to reduce wrinkles or improve the tone and texture of your skin is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy, also known as photofacial. Yes, IPL targets various skin problems like sun damage, broken blood vessels, and wrinkles. 

What is IPL?

IPL is a non-invasive laser light that can safely treat and undo visible signs of wrinkles from photoaging and scars such as age spots. The light emitted by IPL is of many different wavelengths. The light scatters rather than focusing on one point and penetrates below the skin, with less damage to the top layer of the skin. 

The short-wavelength light is absorbed by specific tissues, causing them to heat up. In the case of freckles and dark spots, the pigmented cells absorb the light, convert it into heat, and the heat destroys the pigment. In hair removal, the heat destroys the hair follicle and prevents it from regrowing. 

How Does IPL Work to Remove Wrinkles?

Aging is the most common reason for wrinkles. Other causes of wrinkles are environmental factors, genetics, and hormonal changes. 

The collagen in our skin degrades with age, resulting in fewer collagen and elastin fibers to support the skin. This causes the skin to sag and loses volume, causing wrinkles.

Light from IPL targets the loose collagen and destroys it. This, in turn, stimulates the body’s natural collagen production. As a result of new collagen formation, the skin tone improves, and the appearance of wrinkles diminishes.  

How to Prepare and What To Expect with IPL Treatment

Before receiving IPL treatment, it’s imperative to discuss how to prepare and what to expect from your doctor. The recommendation to protect your skin and ensure results include avoiding the following activities before treatment:

  • Direct sunlight from sunbathing
  • Tanning beds
  • Waxing
  • Chemical peels
  • Collagen injections
  • Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen increase your bleeding risk
  • Creams and products that contain vitamin A

IPL Procedure

A medical professional will clean the area for treatment and apply a gel. With a handheld IPL device, light impulses emit onto the skin. 

IPL treatments are not generally painful, although some people have reported minor discomfort due to stimulation of nerve endings during light exposure. Using a local anesthetic or numbing gel can help with this. Most people tolerate IPL with minimal discomfort. 

Treatments can take between 20 and 30 minutes, with larger areas taking an hour or more. Treatments are 2 to 4 weeks apart to allow for healing, and more than one treatment is usually required depending on individual treatment plans. 

After treatment, the skin may appear pink with some swelling and a mild sunburn-like feeling lasting for a few hours. Recovery time after IPL therapy is usually quick. 

An older woman looking at herself in the mirror

Benefits of IPL Therapy

The three most beneficial benefits of using IPL are a non-invasive procedure, no downtime after treatments, and the ability to treat wrinkles without causing damage to the skin’s surface (dermis). Other benefits include:

  • Lighten the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improve skin’s overall texture, tone, and color
  • Reduce the appearance of dark spots and sun damage
  • Smooth out the skin for a more even complexion

Preventing Wrinkles and Slowing Their Development

IPL is an effective way to treat wrinkles and minimize the signs of aging. There are, however, some things you can do to prevent them if not visible or slow their progress:

  • Protect your skin: Use sun protection such as sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen to reduce UV exposure.
  • Moisturize well: Prevent dry skin and ultimately wrinkles by applying daily moisturizer.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking can speed up aging and cause wrinkles. 
  • Consume less alcohol: Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the skin. 

Keep Wrinkles at Bay

While some people are okay with the presence of wrinkles, others wish to erase them from the skin. When used consistently, IPL can be an excellent way to maintain a youthful appearance while keeping your skin healthy. Book an appointment with Daniel Island Eye Care to discuss more on this non-invasive treatment.

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Dr. Turner

Written by Dr. Charles J. Turner, OD

Dr. Turner is extremely proud to be Daniel Island’s first optometrist, a distinction that has brought him great respect throughout the community. As a therapeutically licensed optometrist, Dr. Turner provides his patients with multifaceted care.

His practice has a unique approach thanks to his diverse blend of experience. He completed internships at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS, Montrose Veterans Hospital in Montrose, NY, and Huntington Veterans Hospital in Huntington, WV. These experiences have given Dr. Turner the confidence and ability to treat eyes of all ages and stages. Dr. Turner graduated with a BS in biology from Virginia Tech and received his Doctor of Optometry degree from Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington, IN.

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