What Causes Your Skin to Become Photosensitive After IPL?

The skin forms a remarkably strong, protective barrier that regulates our internal temperature, prevents damage, and stops harmful bacteria from entering the body. However, despite how tough it is, this organ is susceptible to changes in the environment and damage from external elements. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin (a highly reactive skin type that is more likely to develop inflammation and negative reactions to products), you can experience damage from the sun. UV radiation from sunlight is one of the main aggressors that takes a toll on the health and appearance of the skin. Although intense pulsed light from our Philadelphia-area practice is a powerful tool for reducing redness, broken capillaries, wrinkles, and sunspots caused by cumulative sun exposure, plastic surgeons caution patients against direct sun exposure after their treatment.

Your skin is much more sensitive to sunlight and more prone to sunburn, blistering, and hyperpigmentation after you’ve had an intense pulsed light (IPL) session. Not to mention, sun exposure can cause additional damage and could reverse all of the time, expense, and effort that went into evening out your complexion with IPL. When you do decide to expose your skin to sunlight again, routinely apply SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen and take all of the usual steps to avoid sun damage. These include wearing sunglasses and large-brimmed hats, covering up, and avoiding going outside during the hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Patients should also watch out for topical products, foods, and medications that have the side effect of increasing photosensitivity, which essentially is decreased tolerance to sunlight or other forms of light that elevates the risk of burns or rashes. Certain chemicals contained in these products or medicines interact with UV radiation. Let your physician know about what you’re using before IPL. Some of the things that increase photosensitivity include:

  • Certain types of antibiotics, like tetracyclines and quinolones
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Certain antifungal drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Oral diabetes medications
  • Diuretics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • St. John’s wort
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids
  • Beta-hydroxy acids
  • Tretinoins
  • Perfumes or oils containing lavender, bitter orange, musk, or lemon verbena
  • Foods such as celery, dill, lime, and parsley

Searching for more info on laser or light-based procedures like intense pulsed light (IPL)? Dr. Timothy Greco’s team can help you find the best solution for enhancing your skin. Give us a call at (610) 664-8830, or fill out a contact form to request a consultation.

3 Things You Should Know Before Having Fillers for the First Time

If you have conspicuous facial wrinkles from depletion of collagen or a loss of elasticity, soft tissue fillers can replenish the fullness the skin has been missing to give it a smoother, thicker, firmer, and more youthful appearance. Any kind of cosmetic treatment to change your facial appearance is a personal decision that you shouldn’t make hastily—even when it comes to a minimally invasive procedure. Although facial fillers are one of the least invasive procedures available and can seem very straightforward, there are some things to know about them. It helps to have a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon before making any final decisions, be aware of what’s involved, and learn what you can do to optimize your results. Here are some things that patients who are considering facial fillers from our Philadelphia area practice should know before they decide to proceed with them.

1. Hyaluronic Acid Fillers Are Dissolvable

Did you know that if your fillers results aren’t what you imagined, it’s possible to have them reduced or reversed? An enzyme called hyaluronidase is mixed with saline solution and starts breaking down the hyaluronic acid found in Juvéderm® or Restylane® right away. Results of this appear in less than 24 hours, so you have options if you regret your decision. That said, you should know that some swelling is to be expected right after your initial filler injections, so the ultimate look won’t be apparent for several days. Give your results a chance to “settle” before deciding you don’t like them and want them reversed.

2. Some Fillers Are Longer Lasting

Although hyaluronic acid fillers generally last for six to 18 months depending on which one is used, there are some fillers—like Sculptra®—that deliver longer-lasting results. These injectables, which are known as biostimulators, gradually stimulate the body’s own, natural production of collagen, with an enhancing effect that lasts for at least two years on average. Because this collagen is built by your own body, it can’t be reversed. Some patients prefer more temporary fillers for their first go.

3. They Can’t Fix Everything

Fillers reduce the depth of wrinkles caused by aging, damage from external elements, or lifestyle choices such as smoking, but they aren’t meant for dynamic wrinkles which are linked to facial muscle contractions on the forehead, and fine crow’s feet next to the eyes. Botox treats the dynamic nature of these wrinkles.  If you have more severe sagging skin that causes jowls or a double chin, fillers won’t be able to get rid of that redundant tissue. Plastic surgery would be the best choice.

Get more details on what to expect from facial fillers elsewhere on our website. Dr. Timothy Greco’s team can also provide more tips on having fillers or other cosmetic procedures. Call (610) 664-8830, or submit a contact form to request a consultation.