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What is a "PhotoFacial"?


Steve Fallek (Plastic Surgeon and Medical Director, Face Focus Medical Spa) gives expert video advice on: Who should not receive a PhotoFacial?; How does a PhotoFacial treat Rosacea?; What results can I expect from a PhotoFacial treatment? and more...

What is a "PhotoFacial"?

A PhotoFacial really demonstrates what a medaspa is all about. It's really a combination between the medical procedure and the beauty procedure. A PhotoFacial uses the IPL or intense pulse light machine and it is applied to the face. The whole procedure takes about 20 to 25 minutes. It goes across the whole face and what is it supposed to do? It will make the skin look better, more glowing. Darker spots should initially get darker, but then within a couple of days go away and basically gives your skin a healthy glowing look which is really why you are at the medispa.

Who can get a PhotoFacial?

A PhotoFacial is really a wonderful treatment for anyone that's concerned with the way that their face looks. Whether they've got some superficial skin tags or discolorations, some extra glands in the skin, or just some superficial wrinkles, a PhotoFacial will really make their skin look better and in general make them happier with their facial appearance.

Who should not receive a PhotoFacial?

I always feel that it's important before a patient has a PhotoFacial or any treatment with an IPL machine, that a doctor examines them. There are certain patients where they have darker skin, whether they're African-American or have any type of dark skin, where a PhotoFacial may lead to either lightening or darkening of their skin. So it's very important that a doctor evaluate a patient's skin type before they have any IPL treatment.

How does a PhotoFacial treat Rosacea?

Rosacea is a medical term for a bunch of capillaries, those are those very tiny red veins that pop up, specifically around the nose area. A PhotoFacial or intense pulse light not only attacks the skin, but it will also zap or address the blood in a capillary or a broken vein.

What results can I expect from a PhotoFacial treatment?

A PhotoFacial is used to rejuvenate the skin, make the face look better, give you a general healthy glow, a more radiant appearance of the face. It usually requires one or two treatments and it can be done either by the physician or by the aesthetician in the medispa. Overall, patients are very pleased with the way that they look after a PhotoFacial.

Who is authorized to administer a PhotoFacial?

A lot of that depends on what state you're in. Every state has their own regulations with regards to PhotoFacials or intense pulse light treatments. It's not the same thing as a laser where there's really specific regulations and guidelines regarding that. In my opinion, though, when you go to your medispa, if you're going to have a more invasive treatment such as a PhotoFacial, you would rather the doctor do the precedure than someone in the medispa. Every medispa, when they purchase, either and IPL or any piece of equipment, the manufacturer needs to make sure that the staff knows how to use the machine. Also, depending on the machine and the manufacturer, the staff members may be credentialed and may have training on how to use those machines. That might be something that you want to look into at your medispa

What can I expect a PhotoFacial to feel like?

PhotoFacials are relatively painless. Depending on the medical spa that you go to, topical anesthetic may be applied or ice may be applied to the facial area to cool or numb those areas. At the most it's going to feel like a rubber band hitting your face. Most patients find that they can easily tolerate it without much complaint.

How long will the results of a PhotoFacial treatment last?

PhotoFacial treatments, depending on whether you have one, two, or three treatments, should last anywhere from about 4-6 months. It's a superficial treatment, and will make your skin look better, but it certainly doesn't go to the depth of some of the chemical peels or lasers. So longer-term results are not expected.

How long is a PhotoFacial treatment?

PhotoFacial treatment itself should last about fifteen to twenty minutes. There may be fifteen to twenty minutes beforehand where ice is applied, or a topical anesthetic is applied. However, it shouldn't last anymore than thirty to forty five minutes.

How much will a PhotoFacial treatment cost?

A PhotoFacial should cost anywhere from $150 up to $400 for an individual treatment. Many times it requires more than one treatment to be performed, so some spas will offer package photofacial treatments.