The past two weeks, I’ve shared my experiences in trying to turn back the clock a few years with the help of a few minor non-surgical cosmetic procedures. So far, so good, and I am pleased with the results. The first step was Botox injected into lines and wrinkles on my forehead while step two involved microneedling, which promotes collagen growth for smoother, firmer skin.
Last but not least was something called Lumecca. This is a type of photofacial treatment that helps remove sun damage and discolorations. While injections such as Botox target lines and wrinkles and the Morpheus8 microneedling tackles skin firmness and promotes collagen growth, the Lumecca IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy targets uneven skin tone, such as sun damage, dark spots and rosacea.
What is IPL?
IPL therapy, better known as a “photofacial,” is used to improve texture and color of skin without surgery. IPL targets brown spots, freckles and age spots along with sun damage on your face, neck and chest from too much time outdoors or summer vacations at the beach (also called photoaging).
The Lumecca treatment uses IPL light energy to target a certain color in your skin, so it can be used for hair removal or to treat redness, dark spots and uneven skin tone. Unlike lasers, an IPL device sends out more than one wavelength of pulsating light. It can treat a range of skin conditions at the same time. Unlike laser resurfacing, which uses an ablative laser to remove the thin outer layer of skin and heats the underlying skin to stimulate collagen growth, there is virtually no recovery time for an IPL photofacial such as Lumecca.
“The light waves are absorbed by dark pigments,” explains Dr. Ted Steliotes, who performs Lumecca treatments at his practice at Steliotes Dental Spa in McMurray. “Here, the dark spots are sun damage. They’re pulling all the energy and they’re vaporizing and will flake off, but it doesn’t hurt the rest of your skin.”
Unlike the microneedling with Morpheus8 that I had a few weeks earlier, I didn’t need to apply any numbing cream before the Lumecca treatment. A technician smoothed a clear gel all over my face and under my chin and gave me dark glasses to protect my eyes from the light pulses. The handheld IPL device makes little beeps with each pass, and you’ll feel a tiny twinge like a rubber band snapping. Most treatments take only about a half-hour.
“After your treatment, your dark spots, sunspots and liver spots will darken and over the next three or four days they’ll just start to flake off,” Steliotes says. “In two or three days, you can start using a gentle exfoliant and you want a good moisturizer.”
After my treatment, I noticed a few red spots and my face was flushed for about an hour. A few hours later, I looked in the mirror and the redness had all disappeared. Sunscreen and a good moisturizer are very important in the days following an IPL photofacial, but downtime is minimal.
The Lumecca procedure can be used to treat acne scarring, birthmarks, broken blood vessels, dark spots, fine wrinkles and rosacea.
“A lot of patients come in with dark spots, liver spots, sun damage all over the decolletage,” says Steliotes. “For small spots, it’ll be sort of like coffee grinds flaking off all over.” For treating my fair skin, he kept the energy level fairly low. “I kept it at a lower energy… I wanted to see how you’re doing. If it’s working, that’s a good energy to use and if I feel it’s not deep enough then we’ll increase a little bit. I always want to be more conservative.”
The IPL photofacial was a simple, quick, fairly painless procedure, and I have noticed some of my sun damage and discolorations have either faded or are less noticeable. “This great for people who have vascular issues like spider veins, rosacea or any sort of redness because it can remove redness, but it’s also there to remove dark spots,” says Steliotes. “And it makes the skin brighter and even tighter with a glow.”
After three different treatments, my anti-aging journey is complete for now and – overall – I am very pleased with the results. These types of cosmetic treatments are generally not covered by insurance, so you’ll want to inquire about cost when deciding whether they’re right for you. Do you homework and be sure to choose a qualified medical professional for any of these procedures. My goal in seeking these treatments was to soften some lines and look a few years younger, and I believe they accomplished just that.
“I don’t want to make anyone look frozen or freeze your face,” Steliotes told me. “I just want to soften everything.”
Will I ever go back for more treatments? Possibly. They’re not something I will seek out regularly, but the good results and minimal pain and recovery definitely make them worthwhile if you are seeking something to help you turn back the clock a couple of years and give your skin a healthy, youthful glow.