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Treating Darker Skin Types with IPL

The Forever Young BBL IPL photofacial is one of our most popular treatments for facial rejuvenation at A E Skin. With the Sciton Forever Young BBL we are able to treat just about any skin type. There are specific risks of laser treatments in people with darker skin types. But when appropriate settings are used the treatment is very safe.

What are the risks of IPL for people with dark skin?

People with dark skin have a tendency to get dark easily after any type of insult to the skin such as sun exposure, acne breakouts, cuts, burns, and laser treatments. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which means darkening of the skin after inflammation.

How can I prevent PIH?

In order to prevent PIH Dr. Alex recommends using a good skin care regimensuch as the A E Skin line of productsBrightening Cream, Exfoliating Serum, Triple Antioxidant Serum, and Hydrating Serum. These products contain a number of ingredients which prevent PIH including hydroquinone, kojic acid, tretinoin, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Using these products for one to two months prior to a laser treatment significantly decreases the likelihood of PIH.

What does IPL do?

IPL uses bright light to rejuvenate the skin. The two primary targets of IPL are melanin (which gives skin the pigment) and hemoglobin (which is in the blood). This allows for treatment of dark spots, age spots, uneven tone, redness, and broken capillaries. The same melanin that is in discolorations is also in the skin, so the laser targets both of these. We do not want to target the natural pigment in the skin, only the darker spots. And since those with darker skin types have more melanin in the skin, adjustments need to be made.

How is IPL safe in darker skin types?

The Forever Young BBL IPL photofacial device by Sciton is very versatile and allows Dr. Alex to adjust a number of settings and parameters in order to treat darker skin types safely and effectively. The first setting that Dr. Alex adjusts is the wavelength (or color) of light. Lower wavelengths (blue and green) target pigment more strongly than higher wavelengths (orange and red). For people with darker skin types Dr. Alex uses higher wavelengths for safety. This is easily adjusted with a variety of filters available. The next setting that is adjusted is the fluence (or energy per unit area). Lower fluences are used for darker skin types. The pulse width is the length of time the laser is on. The shorter the pulse width the more aggressive the treatment. Longer pulse widths are used for darker skin types. The temperature of the laser tip can also be adjusted. Lower temperatures allow for safer treatments in darker skin types.

So the next time someone tells you that darker skin types cannot be treated with laser, contact usDr. Alex uses the Forever Young BBL IPL photofacial device by Sciton and has performed over 8,000 laser treatments. With this device Dr. Alexhas improved the skin of many satisfied patients. Contact us for a free consultation with Dr. Alex.

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