I know Four Minutes To Look Eight Years Younger sounds like an infomercial ad, but its true and has been tested by Skin and Allergy News!
The magic is Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL for short. In my office this treatment is met with a wide variety of emotions ranging from unbridled fear, to trepidation, to optimism, to exhilaration. The technology behind this treatment arose from Israel in the mid ’90s, and has been modified and duplicated by company after company due to its predictable and near-immediate improvement in the appearance of its target. Recently, Skin & Allergy News reported a retrospective analysis of patients who received this treatment at least once per year over 8 years. These patients appeared to have only aged 6 months over the previous 8 years, so they looked eight years younger! Let me say that again: the aging that took place in these patients over 8 years really looked like they had only aged 6 months!
You may ask “who decided that?” In this case, 490 (51 were dermatologists) individuals were asked to rate 11 women who underwent this treatment at least once per year over an 8 year period. At year one, the mean age appeared to be 45. At year eight, the mean age appeared to be 45.5. This was a mean of 9 years less than the actual ages.
So what is this mysterious yet completely feared treatment? It is IPL, short for Intense Pulsed Light. Various frequencies of light are emitted through a crystal and are captured by various targets in the skin. These targets may be dilated blood vessels (what most patients refer to as “broken vessels”), sunspots, age spots, large pores, and acne. There is some science to suggest that these light emissions also help with the growth and functioning of cells, making the cells healthier and younger-looking.
Why the fear? The treatments are not comfortable and can be, well, downright creepy. The patient wears metal goggles to prevent any eye damage yet the light is transmitted through bone and tissue. It appears as though there are little explosions going on inside your head. The light also accompanies heat, so each little blast is hot, and then the crystal immediately cools to prevent damage of the top layer of skin. This is not a treatment to undergo on a very stressful day. Often my patients will take our “squeeze-balls”, courtesy of Allergan®, and my assistant also offers to hold their hand, which most of them take. I talk them through it, tell them where it is the creepiest and the most uncomfortable (from personal experience) and help them make it through the entire 4 minutes worth of treatment. That’s it. Four minutes. But what a four minutes!
The exhilaration comes from the result achieved after about a week. But you must have caution: Be sure the provider you use has done hundreds of these treatments as burning or scarring is possible in the wrong hands. In the right hands, you too can enjoy your Fountain of Youth!
There are many machines on the market now, and the trick is to be treated with the “latest and greatest” version. Some of the early ones are not only more painful, but can take a lot longer to see improvement. If you have a question about the machine in your practitioners office, just drop me a line and we can talk about it.