The use of intense pulsed light for therapeutic purposes

What is phototherapy?

In the case of Aesthetic Medicine for dermo-aesthetic purposes. Phototherapy encompasses both lasers and intense pulsed light. It is the use of light for therapeutic purposes.

What is intense pulsed light?

Intense pulsed light provides a broadband light that we, through cutting filters, can fractionate into beams of light with specific wavelengths. This allows us to treat different types of lesions and different depths. From a superficial lentigo or sunspot to photoepilation.

This light is distributed in very focused pulses that upon reaching the target we are aiming at is transformed into heat, producing damage exclusively to that lesion and leaving the surrounding tissue without side effects.

What can we treat with pulsed light?

The objective is photorejuvenation. It allows repairing tissue damaged by chronic exposure to light. The most affected areas are the face, neck, neckline and back of the hands. It also effectively treats pigmented lesions, called solar or actinic lentigines, and broken capillaries or tenacetasias. In addition, the light stimulates the generation of collagen in the middle layers, helping to restore volume and elasticity to the skin’s support system.

On the other hand, it helps to diminish fine lines to reduce pore size and skin that, as we become more and more photoexposed, becomes dull with age. Pulsed light helps the skin to become brighter and more luminous, thus improving the appearance, tone and texture of photoexposed skin.

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The treatments we can do are the treatment of broken capillaries or tenacetasias that appear in the area of the nose and cheeks, in people with very white skin or low phototypes, with very thin skin, or by environmental exposure to the sun, wind, etc.. These broken capillaries, along with chronic redness and flushing are also very characteristic of people with facial rosacea. Intense pulsed light is the ideal solution to treat both problems by eliminating broken capillaries and inflammation without affecting healthy tissue.

To photoepilate unwanted hair on the face or other body areas, we can use light beams that adjust to the type of skin and hair type. These will then be absorbed by the hair follicle, leaving or destroying its potential to regrow without affecting the surrounding skin.

In addition, it allows to treat pigmented lesions very effectively with intense pulsed light. These lesions have different natures, since they can be due to sun exposure, age, genetic factors, etc. These lesions progressively lighten and eventually disappear.

Before starting any treatment, what we have to do is to take a detailed clinical history of the patient and know what we are going to treat. When we start with intense pulsed light it is very important not to be tanned to avoid side effects.

The treatment lasts approximately 60 minutes and consists of cleaning the skin very well, apply a cold gel and give as many passes as necessary to achieve the desired effects. Subsequently, the skin will be slightly reddened and, if we treat specific lesions, such as capillaries or pigmented lesions caused by photoepilation, there will be a small perifollicular inflammation. For this reason, the hair follicle or spots will be a little darker and the lesions and broken capillaries a little more marked. However, these will gradually disappear and we can use therapeutic makeup to camouflage them.

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Generally, several sessions are necessary. This assessment must be personalized and individualized, depending on the age of the patient, the damage that exists and accompanying factors.

How often is a session done?

In my case, I do not do sessions before 45 to two months of treatment. Pulsed light allows us to have healthy, beautiful and youthful skin.