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Sun Damage & Brown Spots


Frederick Dermatology is happy to bring the latest technology in cosmetic laser dermatology to Frederick, Maryland: the M22 IPL (Intense Pulse Light) system by Lumenis. This state-of-the-art revolutionary technology rejuvenates sun damaged skin anywhere on body giving your skin that healthy, younger appearance.

ipl_lumenis_oneWhat is IPL Technology?

IPL technology improves the appearance of photo-aged skin, removes age spots (sun-induced freckles), most benign brown pigments, and redness caused by broken capillaries through a process called photorejuvenation for face and body. The process is ideal for patients with active lifestyles because the procedure requires minimal downtime and has a low risk of side effects.

How does Intense Pulsed Light work?

A broad spectrum of light is transmitted through a small, smooth, transparent handpiece which is gently placed over the skin. Cut-off filters in the handpiece change the wavelength range allowing it to be optimized for different applications and skin types. The light penetrates the tissue and is absorbed by either the blood when treating vascular lesions or the melanin when treating pigmented lesions and damages them. The body’s natural processes then removes the injured tissue giving the skin a more even and youthful appearance.

What conditions will IPL treat?

Intense pulsed light rejuvenates skin reducing, and in some cases eliminating, damage to skin. Some of the skin conditions our dermatologists treat using IPL are:

  • Spider veins (broken capillaries around the nose)
  • Age spots
  • Brown spots
  • Sun spots
  • Freckles
  • Rosacea
  • Birthmarks
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Port wine stains
  • Blood vessels
  • Skin texture
  • Seborrheic keratoses

 Before and After IPL

Intense pulsed light really works! Here are a few photos of real IPL patients before and after they received the treatment:

ipl3

What does an IPL entail?

At Frederick Dermatology Associates, your comfort level during treatments is important to us, so we will prescribe EMLA numbing cream for you to apply at home 30 minutes prior to your procedure or you may come into the office before your appointment so we may do the numbing for you.  Please make sure to apply the numbing cream to clean, make-up free skin.  If you have a history of cold sores, you provider will give you a prescription for Valtrex.  You will take Valtrex 1 gram the day before, the day of, and the day after the procedure.

The appointment itself will last around 30 minutes unless your provider is combining treatments with injectables or other laser modalities to reverse sun damage and broken blood vessels.  After the procedure, we will apply a cooling gel or a cortisone cream for quicker recovery.

What are the benefits of an IPL?

An IPL treatment can reverse years of sun damage.  It is safe to perform anywhere on the body.  If treatments are performed on the body, like to top of the hands, expect to have more than one treatment.  Energy levels cannot be as high on skin off the face, therefore it requires more treatments on the body to get the same results as one facial treatment.  In general, you should expect to have 3-4  treatments.  Photofacials give the skin a healthy youthful looking glow. Redness from rosacea and broken blood vessels and unsightly age spots will greatly improve with IPL treatments.

How many treatments of the IPL should I expect?

An IPL series usually includes 3-4 treatments.  These appointments are spaced about 4 weeks apart.  As all light based treatments, it is important to avoid the sun and tanning during your treatments.  Many times we may have you combine your IPL photofacial treatment with a Hydrafacial or chemical peel a week before the IPL to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.  Through gentle exfoliation, these procedures prep the skin to receive the light at a maximal level without using excessive energies.

What should I expect in the following days after the IPL?

After your treatment, your skin will appear slightly red and swollen.  Brown spots in the treated area will begin to darken.  At 24-36 hours the redness and swelling will disappear but the brown spots will have reached the darkest color before they begin to flake off.  The flaking begins at the center of the face by the nose and then proceeds to progress outwards.  The entire flaking process usually takes 5-7 days to complete for the face and 2-3 weeks for the body.  Please do not force or pick the flaking.  Let the process occur naturally.  You may wear make-up the day the day of the procedure unless your provider has combined other treatments that prohibit this.  The make-up may not cover the darkened age spots completely, but for the most part, this is a pain-free treatment with no downtime.

You should void any harsh product for 3-4 days after the procedure.  This includes alpha-hydroxy acids (like glycolic acids) and retinols.

Who should avoid a Photofacial?

Patients with a history of abnormal scar or keloid formation should avoid treatments unless otherwise cleared by the doctor.  Patients on accutane in the last 6 months are not good candidates, as well as patients with light sensitivity diseases like lupus.  If you have a history of melasma, your provider may choose to use our Q-switched laser to treat your condition instead of the IPL.  If you have a history of skin cancer, your provider will thoroughly examine the treatment area before your IPL to treatment to ensure the skin is healthy and skin cancer free.  This is the benefit of seeing a practice with board-certified dermatologists.  We are the experts trained not only to care for the beauty of your skin, but also its health.

How long should I expect my results to last?

Usually results will last for several months to a year or two.  The better skin care products you are using on a daily basis, the longer your results will last.  Ask your provider how you can extend your results with at-home skin care.  Avoiding the sun is of utmost importance as well.  As quickly as the IPL will reverse signs of sun damage, you can reverse these wonderful results by tanning in the sun.

Request an Appointment


At Frederick Dermatology, we can’t wait to find out how we can help you achieve your goals of healthy, beautiful skin. Please use the contact form below to request an appointment with us, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher whenever you are outside.
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Ready to book an appointment? Click here, or contact us using our contact information below:

Frederick Dermatology Associates
45 Thomas Johnson Drive
Suite 209 & 210
Frederick, MD 21702

E-mail: Click Here
Phone: 301.662.6755
Fax: 301.418.6218

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