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The ins and outs of IPL – the perfect winter rejuvenation
Louise Highet
May 31, 2016

Louise Highet is an experienced registered Appearance Medicine nurse, based at Skin Institute Takapuna.

Louise talks us through the in’s and out’s of IPL – arguably the most popular facial rejuvenation treatment in New Zealand – why now is the perfect time to have it, and the best ways to care for your skin post-treatment.

What is IPL?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and is a light based procedure using a medical grade laser to target the pigment in your problem areas to break down, reducing its appearance, giving your skin a healthy and youthful appearance.

It reduces the appearance of:
• pigmentation (discoloured skin appearing generally as brown spots)
• dilated capillaries (those thin little blood vessels)
• and rosacea (red and inflamed skin)
• large pores

It also stimulates collagen production – that’s the substance beneath our skin that provides strength and structure – which helps to combat the sagging that is an inevitable part of ageing.

The areas that are commonly treated are the face, neck, chest and hands; and the number of treatments you may need will depend on your skin concerns.

IPL is suitable for most individuals, though it has the best effect on fair-medium skin. Our Appearance Medicine Nurses can assess your suitability in one of our Appearance Medicine consultations – 45 minutes with a registered nurse trained in appearance medicine, dedicated to you, to discuss and advise you on your skin and skin concerns.

It’s important to avoid the sun after having IPL so the cooler seasons are ideal to begin have IPL treatments due to the low risk of sun exposure post treatment.

How do I care for my skin after an IPL treatment?
The treatment feels to most like a rubber band flicking at your skin. After this, immediately post treatment, your skin will feel warm. You may have some redness, which should dissipate within half an hour or so. It is normal for your pigmented areas (those brown spots and freckles) to darken. This darkened skin will shed naturally over 5-10 days.

It’s important to keep your skin care simple for the first week while your skin heals. You will be given this advice when you have your treatment, but many people interested in the treatment have asked us “what happens afterwards” so we thought we’d share this with you here. We understand it’s important to know what to expect!

Here are our recommendations:
• No exfoliation
• No active skin care for 3-5 days post treatment. Active skin care is any skin care product that has a specific function on the skin, especially ones including Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s), Vitamins A, B or C.
• You can continue to use a gentle, basic cleanser and moisturizer until your skin has settled. Our Appearance Medicine nurses are trained and expert in this treatment and they will advise you which products within your regime are okay to use, and which ones to take a wee break from while your skin heals
• Avoid any heat inducing activity for 24 hours (saunas, spas, strenuous activity)
• Apply sunscreen every morning and ensure you are vigilant with reapplying if you are exposed to the elements.

Why do I need to wear a sunscreen everyday – even in winter?
It’s important to get into the habit of wearing a good quality sunscreen every day (one with UVA and UVB protection). Even on an overcast day, a large proportion of harmful UV rays penetrate through cloud, and even your car or bus window when you’re out and about. If you are exposed without protection, it can lead to an increased risk of developing skin cancer, premature aging and sun damage. Read more about this here.

Should I look for specific ingredients in my sunscreen?
• A minimum SPF 30+ is recommended. SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB damage.
• SPF 15 blocks out about 93% of the UVB rays, an SPF 30 blocks out 97% and an SPF 50 approximately 98%.
• It’s important to use a sunscreen with Zinc and Titanium Dioxide. These minerals help to prevent skin damage and premature ageing by blocking out both UVA and UVB rays.
• Look for a sunscreen with added antioxidants, like Niacinimide (which has a soothing and calming effect and can assist in reducing pigmentation and brightens the skin) or Vitamin E (which assists in skin healing and preventing free radical damage)
• Ensure you use a sunscreen formula that suits your skin type e.g. if you have oil prone skin, look for a lightweight or oil free sunscreen.

We’ve got you covered this winter with a great deal on IPL, and a range of Zinc-based sunscreens and skincare products to ensure your skin gets the full benefit of the wonders of IPL.