As we move into the cooler weather, it’s a great time to start thinking about treating any skin conditions such as rosacea, veins, pigmentation, sun damage and a range of other skin issues with laser and IPL, as your exposure to the sun is minimised and you will get the best results. Dr Graham Sellars, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon from The San Clinic in Wahroonga, Sydney, says winter is the most popular time of the year for laser and IPL treatments and we chatted with Nurse Michelle from his clinic about the skin issues they can treat with laser and IPL.

Nurse Michelle and Nurse Julie at The San Clinic

Both laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments are able to treat similar skin issues including:

  • Sun damage
  • Acne
  • Pigmentation
  • Rosacea
  • Ageing spots
  • Benign lesions eg moles
  • Blemishes
  • Freckles
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Broken capillaries

The difference between IPL and laser

IPL uses specific wavelengths of light that penetrate the skin at varying depths to target different skin issues. The IPL is attracted to the chromophores which are the pigments eg brown in pigmentation and red from the haemoglobin in the capillaries of the skin. The light targets and breaks down the skin imperfections allowing the body to remove the melanin,, trigger the skin’s renewal with new skin cells leaving new, smoother and clearer skin in its place. The broken capillaries are shut down through the heat generated from the IPL.

Lasers also have a range of strengths and types depending on what conditions you wish to treat. A more intensive laser can break down skin lesions and stimulates the body’s natural function of producing collagen to repair and produce healthier skin. Other lasers work by removing the top layer of your skin to reveal newer, less damaged skin underneath.

Michelle explains, “IPL is ideal for freckles, pigmentation caused by sun damage and broken capillaries such as those around the nose, cheeks and chin. Decolletage and backs of hands are also very popular areas to have treated with IPL. When treated with IPL the skin looks a little sunburned for approx 24 hours. The brown pigmentation will go darker, and over 14 days will come to the surface, go slightly crusty and then flake away, leaving a much clearer complexion. Sometimes one treatment may be enough, or you may need to retreat or spot treat areas.

Laser is great for resurfacing the skin to freshen up the tone and texture, however there is more downtime with laser as the skin is superficially burned and the skin needs to heal (approx 7-10 days). Areas that can be treated are full face, lower eyelids, perioral smokers lines and chin creases. The treated area needs to be covered with a post laser balm until the new pink skin has appeared.

Removing benign moles and other lesions with laser is a fantastic alternative to surgical removal, as the skin heals like a graze rather than a scar.

“IPL and Laser treatments are available in our practice with the ICON platform. The cooler months are the ideal time to consider IPL treatments particularly to the face and décolletage as sun exposure is minimised – therefore maximising the greatest results.” We always recommend that patients avoid sun exposure 2 weeks prior to having an IPL treatment, and also avoid fake tans as the IPL can be affected by the colour in the skin, and potential for a more severe treatment. You must also be very careful in the weeks after a treatment. Pigmentation will return if sun exposure is allowed, so to keep your results looking as good as possible for as long as possible, we recommend sun-screens and hats.

If you would like to arrange a skin consultation with The San Clinic to see how they can help you with any skin issues, give them a call on (02) 9473 8577.

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