According to the American Cancer Society, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds remain the primary causes of skin cancer. UV light actually alters DNA, resulting in sun damage and allowing cancerous cells to multiply. Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein’s knowledgeable team, Dr. Norma Kassardjian, Atoussa Cameron, NP, Elena Novak, PA, and Michele Horwich, RN, at HK Dermatology offer a variety of treatments, such as IPL photofacials, to renew sun-damaged skin at our office in San Juan Capistrano, California.
What is IPL?
Intense pulsed light (IPL), also called a photofacial, targets pigmented areas of your skin with light energy. This revolutionary treatment works on sun-damaged and discolored skin by ridding your body of cells containing unwanted pigment. Unlike traditional lasers, IPL works with more than one wavelength at a time, so it addresses multiple areas at once. We use this to alleviate up to 70% of the redness and brown spots from sun damage. It also helps reduce:
- Acne scars
- Age spots
- Redness from broken blood vessels
- Rosacea, and more
Our team at HK Dermatology employs IPL to minimize pigmented spots on your face, as well as your arms, hands, and legs.
IPL and skin cancer
While IPL can’t remove or prevent skin cancer, the exam itself alerts your doctor to any precancerous lesions that may prompt further investigation. Lasers, however, remove precancerous lesions by vaporizing the upper layers of your skin.
How much sun is too much?
Our bodies utilize sunlight to make much-needed vitamin D. Unfortunately, ultraviolet rays also damage the skin. The pigment melanin contained in our cells multiplies with sunlight and protects us from ultraviolet rays. People with less of this natural pigment are more apt to suffer from sun damage, which can lead to:
- Premature aging
- Age spots
- Skin cancer
We advise patients to wear sunblock outside and limit exposure, especially from 10am to 2pm, when the sun’s rays are at their peak.
What happens before and during treatment
Prior to your IPL treatment, we recommend staying out of direct sunlight, avoiding tanning beds, chemical peels, and any medication that increases bleeding, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. About an hour before, our team applies a numbing cream to lessen any discomfort that may occur.
During the procedure, your provider will:
- Shield your eyes with protective glasses
- Apply gel to the area
- Place the handheld device directly on the spots being treated
The procedure itself takes 30 minutes or a bit longer, depending upon the size of the area being treated. Aftercare includes avoiding makeup, tanning beds, and any medication that causes sun sensitivity. You should also protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen to eliminate further damage.
The best defense is a great offense
Your best insurance against skin cancer is regular checkups. Dr. Klein recognizes early signs of skin cancer and other issues before they progress further. To learn more about turning back the clock on sun-damaged skin with IPL or other techniques, contact Dr. Klein and HK Dermatology to discuss this or other medical dermatological or cosmetic issues at 949-248-1632, or book an appointment online today.