Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
The gold standard for photorejuvenation, represents a breakthrough in age-defying skin care. IPL™ treatments address the effects of aging and sun damage with low risk of complications and no recovery time. This FDA-cleared, patented technology provides dramatic results for a variety of benign conditions, including age spots, sun-induced freckles, symptoms of rosacea, birthmarks, unsightly veins, acne scarring and other blemishes — even unwanted hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose IPL™ over other treatment options?
Laser resurfacing and deep chemical peels often send patients into hiding, as they wait for redness and swelling to subside. Microdermabrasion addresses skin irregularities, but is not effective against all complexion problems including redness, flushing and broken capillaries. Face lifts and other surgical procedures are far too invasive for younger patients and baby boomers who simply want to revitalize their appearance without recovery downtime.
What conditions can IPL™ photorejuvenation treat?
IPL™ photo-rejuvenation treats imperfections from sun damage and photo-aging, broken capillaries, rosacea, general redness, acne scars, dull complexions and other facial imperfections. Skin abnormalities can detract from your well-being and appearance, no matter how healthy and young you feel. After a series of treatments, you may see a significant reduction of unwanted pigmentation, redness, and lines, and see the appearance of smoother, revitalized skin. The same treatment can be used effectively on the neck, the chest, and the hands.
Why are multiple treatments necessary?
The number of conditions you are treating, and the severity of the individual problem will determine the number of treatments you will need, usually 2 to 4 treatments. Most people are able to return to their regular routine, but redness and slight bruising may occur. By dividing the full program into several treatments, you will receive gradual improvement with very low risk and appreciate the wonderful "no downtime" feature.
Laser Hair Removal
The Light Sheer Diode Laser™, a FDA-approved laser for permanent hair reduction, is the most advanced treatment for removal of unwanted hair for both men and women. The diode laser removes more hair in a shorter time with less pain and higher reliability than any other hair removal technique including picking, shaving, waxing, chemical depilatories — even electrolysis. The light emitted by the diode laser is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles, vaporizing the pigment and disabling several follicles at a time. This procedure eliminates or significantly impedes growth. Loudoun Dermatology Associates provides this safe, effective hair removal treatment for any area where visible hair is not wanted including face, legs, bikini area, underarms, neck, abdomen, chest, back, or shoulders.
A laser session may take a few minutes to two hours, depending on the size of the area being treated. Since the laser works best on actively growing hairs, you may require several treatments to inhibit growth. Laser treatment may cause a slight tingling sensation that most patients tolerate well. To minimize discomfort, the laser includes a special contact-cooling hand piece that cools the skin surrounding the treated follicles. However, for particularly sensitive areas, we provide topical anesthesia.
Immediately after a laser session, the appearance of the treated area varies from patient to patient depending on the extent of treatment and skin type. The after-effects, if any, are minor and may include redness and swelling which disappear in a short time. Most people return to normal activity right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a diode laser work?
The light emitted by the diode laser is absorbed by the pigment located in your hair follicles. The laser pulses for a fraction of a second, just long enough to vaporize the pigment, disabling several follicles at a time. This eliminates or significantly impedes the hair's re-growth. The laser can be used just about anywhere on the body, and usually requires no anesthesia or other treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
Because the diode laser tends to treat hair follicles that are in an active growth phase, more than one treatment may be required to disable hair follicles that subsequently enter the growth phase. Most patients are happy with the results achieved after 4-6 visits; however, many patients have excellent results after a few treatments.
What other options exist for hair removal?
Shaving rids the body of hair, but has no effect on the re-growth of hair. Tweezing is slow, painful and impractical for large areas. Waxing may last a month or more, but is often painful and can cause skin irritation. Electrolysis involves inserting a needle into each hair follicle and applying an electrical current. It can only treat one hair follicle at a time, and can be painful. It is therefore very time-consuming and can be very expensive.
Is it safe?
Yes. Developed from years of research at Harvard University, the diode laser parameters are defined to inhibit the growth of hair without adverse effects. The actively-cooled handpiece was designed to conduct heat away from the treated area.
Does it hurt?
As different areas of the body are more sensitive than others, it is possible you will feel a slight stinging sensation. However, most patients tolerate the procedure well. If the treatment does become uncomfortable, a topical anesthetic cream is available.
Are the results permanent?
Because lasers have only been used for hair removal for the last few years, we can't know if the results will continue to be felt in 10 or 20 years. However, we do know that the laser causes delayed re-growth of treated hair and often lasts over 24 months with several treatments. Most patients will achieve prolonged hair removal and are extremely satisfied with the results of their treatment.
What happens after treatment?
In the first several minutes, the treated area may become slightly red and puffy. This subsides quickly and the areas return to normal within a day. This may feel like a mild sunburn over that time. No bandages are necessary. Our doctors may prescribe a mild topical steroid cream to apply to the treated area for 2-3 days following treatment. If after 3-7 days you feel that hairs are re-growing, most of these are actually treated hairs that are being shed. Do not wax or tweeze any hairs in between treatments.
Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) is a crystal that is used as a laser medium for solid-state lasers.
Nd:YAG laser has a wavelength of 1064 nm and has the capability to reach deeper layers of skin tissue than other types of lasers.
In Q-switched mode, Nd:YAG produces 2 wavelengths, one in the infrared range (1064 nm) and a second beam of 532 nm wavelength which is useful for superficial skin lesions. Q-switching refers to the technique of making the laser produce a high intensity beam in very short pulses.
How does neodynium YAG laser work?
Lasers work by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition will create heat and destroy diseased cells.
What is neodynium YAG laser used for?
Spider and thread veins in the face (cheek, temporal region, nasal dorsum, forehead) and legs.
Vascular birthmark (capillary vascular malformation)
Facial veins (telangiectasia)
Haemangioma (vascular tumour)
Brown age spots (solar lentigines)
Naevus of Ota, naevus of Ito
Light pulses target the hair follicle, which causes the hair to fall out and minimises further growth.
Nd:YAG laser may be used for hair removal in any location including underarms, bikini line, face, neck, back, chest and legs.
Nd:YAG laser is generally ineffective for light-coloured (blonde/grey) hair, but effective for treating dark (brown/black) hair in patients of Fitzpatrick types I to III, and perhaps light-coloured type IV skin.
What does the laser procedure involve?
The patient must wear eye protection (an opaque goggles) throughout the treatment session. Treatment consists of placing a hand piece against the surface of the skin and activating the laser. Many patients describe each pulse feeling like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin.
Topical anaesthetic may be applied to the area but is not usually necessary.
Skin surface cooling is applied during all hair removal procedures.
Immediately following treatment, cooling mask or ice pack will be applied to soothe the treated area.
Care should be taken in the first few days following treatment to avoid scrubbing the area, and/or use of abrasive skin cleansers.
During the course of treatment patients should protect the area from sun exposure to reduce the risk of postinflammatory pigmentation.
Are there any side effects from neodynium YAG laser treatment?
Side effects from Nd:YAG laser treatment are usually minor and may include:
Pain during treatment (reduced by contact cooling and if necessary, topical anaesthetic)
Redness, swelling and itching immediately after the procedure that may last a few days after treatment
Rarely, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy and blistering can occur (this settles by itself)
Changes in skin pigmentation. Sometimes the pigment cells (melanocytes) can be damaged, leaving darker (hyperpigmentation) or paler (hypopigmentation) patches of skin
How many laser treatments can I expect?
Depending on the type of pigmentation lesion, treatment can range from 3 sessions up to 10 sessions.
Maintenance therapy may be needed for severe cases.
Treatment time depends on the form, size and location of the lesions as well as the skin type.
Small red vessels can usually be removed in only 1 to 3 sessions.
Several sessions may be necessary to remove bigger veins and spider veins.
In general, patients have 2 to 6 treatments, approximately every 4 to 6 weeks
Patients with darker skin types may require more treatments.