Frequently Asked Questions
Other Concerns That Can Be Treated With IPL
IPL can also be used to treat ‘port wine stains’, the abnormal localised build up of blood vessels under the skin known as hemangiomas, the redness caused by rosacea and the small subcutaneous growths known as angiomas. During your initial consultation your practitioner will carefully assess your requirements to ensure you are suitable for treatment.
How Long Does IPL Take to Work?
Red veins and other vascular lesions usually respond well to IPL. A reduction in the size or severity of the targeted area can often be seen immediately, or within a couple of days once any residual redness has settled. Some vessels disappear immediately whereas others may first appear more grey or blanched. These will also usually disappear in several days. Some larger affected areas will take more than one treatment to achieve maximum reduction or complete removal.
What Happens During My Consultation and Patch Test?
An initial consultation with one of our trained nurses is necessary so that a detailed assessment of your current health and past medical history can be obtained. This appointment is the perfect opportunity to discuss the treatment process: how IPL works, what you can expect from having treatment, any associated risks and whether this treatment it is suitable for you. If you decide that it is something you would like to have in order to target red facial veins, or veins in other areas, we will ask you to sign a consent form and undergo a patch test so that the correct treatment parameters can be established for your skin type. This is to ensure that your skin does not react negatively. The patch test can be carried out during this consultation appointment. Alternatively, you may wish to go away and think further about whether or not this treatment is something you would like.
What Happens During a Treatment?
Any makeup will be removed and a water-based gel applied to any affected areas. Safety glasses will be provided and the IPL machine settings adjusted accordingly. The IPL handpiece will then touch the gel and administer a flash of light. Your practitioner will repeatedly check the treatment area, and your comfort levels, throughout the treatment. In order to get the best results possible it may be necessary to increase or decrease the original treatment settings, and this will be determined by your skin's response and your comfort. At the end of a treatment the skin will be cooled, and post-treatment balm or SPF applied if necessary. Aftercare advice will be discussed with you and any subsequent treatments can be booked before you leave the clinic. In the days following treatment you can contact the clinic at any time should you have any questions or concerns.
What Should I Do Before Treatment?
- The area to be treated should be cleansed of all make-up, perfume, fake tan and face creams
- Avoid waxing, hair removal creams and bleaching for at least 72 hours before each treatment
- Stop using retinoids and AHA/BHA serums for 7 days before treatment
- Minimise sun exposure and stop using tanning beds for at least 4 weeks before treatment
What Should / Shouldn’t I Do After My Treatment?
After a patch test or full treatment with IPL it is important to follow the aftercare advice of your practitioner. This will also be sent to you by email, for reference away from the clinic.
- If the treated area feels hot following treatment it can be cooled with a flannel or cool pack
- If sensitivity is present avoid strenuous activities, saunas or steam rooms, hot baths and massages
- makeup can be applied several hours following treatment
- wear SPF30+ and protect the skin from sunlight as much as possible between treatments. Continue to do so for one month following each treatment. Failure to do this can lead to sunburn and hyperpigmentation in the treated areas
What Should I Expect to See Following Each Treatment?
The results you see following each treatment may vary: the treatment area which has been targeted may appear reduced in size, have disappeared completely, appear grey in colour or appear blanched. It is also common for some localised redness to occur, similar to mild sunburn. This will usually settle within 2 - 24 hours. Large treatment areas (cheeks for example) can appear ‘puffy’ for a few days following treatment, due to localised swelling. Bruising, although very rare, can occasionally occur.
Do I Need to Come Back for Follow up Appointment?
It is not fully possible to state exactly how many treatments you will need for the removal of red veins and vascular lesions. This is determined by the severity of the condition, the colour of any vessels present and your skin’s response to the settings used during treatment. As a general rule, some results will be noticeable following 3 treatments. However some people may need 4 - 6. Any subsequent treatments should be spaced at intervals of 4 - 6 weeks, and your practitioner will advise you exactly how these should be spaced.
Who Is Not Suitable for IPL Red Vein or Vascular Lesion Treatments?
Patients with a skin type 1 - 5 on the Fitzpatrick Scale (this is the scale which defines how much skin reacts to the sun) are generally treatable with IPL. Your skin will be thoroughly assessed by an experienced practitioner to make sure you are suitable. Reasons why IPL may not be currently suitable for you include, but are not limited to:
- unprotected sun exposure or sun bed use in the 4 weeks prior to treatment
- a planned sun holiday or increase in sun exposure in the 4 weeks following potential treatment
- recent sunburn
- if you are pregnant or are a nursing mother
- if you have active or healing cold sores in the treatment area
- if you have severe dermatitis or eczema within the treatment area
- if you have other active skin infections
- if you have recently uses photosensitising medications
- a dark skin tone (Fitzpatrick skin type 6)
- if you have used Roaccutane in the last 6 months
How Does IPL Work?
Specific frequencies of light are targeted towards the affected area. This turns to heat on contact with the skin and causes the blood within the vessels to coagulate. Once the blood has coagulated the vessels become blocked. They are then broken down by the body and disappear.
Is IPL Safe?
IPL is considered safe. Any harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation generated by the IPL is filtered out by blocking wavelengths below 500nm. However, your treat should always be carried out by a suitably trained and experienced practitioner.
Is IPL Painful?
A mild to moderate sensation of heat and skin tingling is usually experienced during treatment. This should fade within a few seconds of the IPL handpiece flashing. Any residual heat can be calmed with a cold compact following treatment.
How Long Do the Results From IPL for Red Veins Last?
Vessels which have been successfully removed from the treatment area will generally have been removed permanently. However, a family predisposition to red veins and vascular lesions may mean that new vessels will return in the affected area. It may also not be possible to permanently remove some slightly larger red veins or lesions - these may only be temporarily reduced in size. But adhering to the long-term aftercare advice of your practitioner will help to reduce the likelihood that new vessels will appear.
How Can I Prevent Getting More Red Veins in the Future?
Thread veins can appear for the following reasons:
- Sun exposure - sun damage increases your risk of developing thread veins. Wearing sunscreen daily, avoiding sun beds and limiting your exposure to intense sun will reduce your risk of developing thread veins
- Genetics - if family members before you have thread veins, you are more susceptible to developing them as you age
- Pregnancy – some women are predisposed to develop broken blood vessels, thread veins and pigmentation changes during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes within the body. In most instances, pregnancy-related thread veins usually disappear after giving birth
- Alcohol - excessive alcohol consumption can lead to permanently dilated, broken blood vessels and facial redness
- Rosacea - people with the skin condition rosacea are more at risk of developing facial thread veins. IPL can be used to help with these provided that the rosacea is under control
- Changes in weather - changes in weather conditions can cause the skin to flush and increase the chance of thread veins developing
- Environmental damage - we live in an increasingly polluted world and are continually exposed to chemicals and environmental irritants. These can damage the skin and increase the chance of developing thread veins