Want to get into the world of skin procedures? First you need to know what you’re getting. Before you meet with a doctor, it’s important to do you research and understand which procedure is right for you. We spoke with Dr. R. Stephen Mulholland, MD, FRCS(C) Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, founder of SpaMedica in Toronto, about three different kinds of skin lasers, which we’ll break down in a series. First up: IPL Photorejuvenation.
What it is: A laser that emits light energy to specific targets, bypassing the skin itself.
What it does: Targets and reduces brown and red discolouration.
What it costs: $250-500 per treatment.
How it works: “[The laser] bypasses the skin and goes after a target in the skin—the target can be blood vessel colour, colour of a brown spot–it selectively heats the target and without causing injury to the skin, it causes injury to the target, so the blood vessel, rosacea, spider vein, etc., goes away.
Side effects: Dr. Mulholland explains, “Generally when a laser is targeting a colour such as reds or browns, there’s very little, if no, down time.” Depending on how much energy is needed and how much the laser is targeting there might be what Dr. Mulholland calls a “bruise-meets-sunburn” mark, but if there is, you’ll be able to cover it up with makeup within a day or two, at most.
Before the doctor: In the case of brown spots, it’s best to get on the SPF train sooner than later, but once you have them, try looking for brightening products to help lighten the discolouration. “Brown discolouration is amendable to at-home treatments in the early years, however there is no home remedy for broken blood vessels and capillaries like rosacea,” explains Dr. Mulholland. “Think of the spider veins like weeds in your garden: If you don’t take care of them, they’ll take over.”