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Photofacial / Photo Rejuvenation

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PhotoFacial Treatment
Frequently Asked Questions -- PhotoFacial

What is a PhotoFacial Treatment?
A PhotoFacial Treatment is a series of gentle pulsed light treatments intended to improve the appearance of sun damaged and aged skin, as well as reduce redness and flushing. PhotoFacial treatments result in a more youthful-appearing skin. PhotoFacial treatments consistently and predictably improve the visible appearance of the skin with little or no down time.

What are the causes of red faces?
As many as seventy million Americans have an undesirable redness and/or sun damage of the face. The more common causes are Rosacea (a condition in up to 13 million people), sun exposure, alcohol, medications, stress, emotional causes, time and aging of the skin, repeated blushing or flushing of the skin and is seen most commonly in fair skinned individuals of northern European descent.

How does the treatment work?
An intense light is emitted in a series of gentle pulses over the skin at intervals of approximately three to four weeks for a series of five treatments. This special light, which is different than laser treatments, emits light over many wavelengths allowing the light to penetrate to all the levels of the skin where abnormal and easily dilated vessels can be found. Lasers produce only a single wavelength of light and are limited in depth of penetration and what they can treat.

What if I don’t have visible vessels only general skin redness? Can I still be treated?
Yes! The intense light unique nature of emission, can find even the tiniest of vessels, some of which are packed so densely as to defy individual identity.

How much improvement will I see?
Typically 75-95%, on average 90% improvement is seen in most patients.

Are there any other conditions that can be treated with the PhotoFacial?
Yes, PhotoFacial treatments will also help patients who suffer from photo-aging of the skin, pigmentation from sun exposure (Age Spots), irregularities of skin texture, reduces large pores and dark circles around the eyes and helps reduce fine lines, especially around the eyes and mouth.

How often will I need additional treatments?
After your initial series of treatments it is recommended to have follow-up treatments yearly. However, we have patients who return every six months for a follow-up treatment because they love the way the treatment improves their appearance.

Are there any conditions that this treatment won’t help?
It won’t treat frown lines, sometimes known as lines of expression on the face, especially the forehead and between the brows. It is not a substitute for a face-lift and will not help baggy or sagging skin. It won’t cure the puffiness around the eyes for which blepharoplasty surgery is needed. It is not a treatment for skin cancer, but can treat pre-cancers called actinic keratosis. It won’t remove bumpy moles, but can remove their pigment. It will remove, however, acquired freckling. Genetic freckles usually return after treatment. It won’t remove those strands of deep parallel blood vessels occasionally seen on the lower cheeks, which can be removed in other ways. It will not remove seborrheic keratosis including the tiny genetic ones on the upper cheeks and around the eyes sometimes called dermatosis papulosa nigra. It also won’t remove sebaceous hyperplasia a benign growth of some oil glands in mid life. Melasma is also a condition the PhotoFacial usually will not improve.

Are there any contraindications to this procedure?
Yes, it is not indicated in patients with connective tissue disease or auto immune disorders. PhotoFacial is not recommended during pregnancy or recently sun-tanned skin. It cannot be used on patients taking Accutane or for six months after stopping Accutane. Most photosensitive medications such as antibiotics, anti anxiety, sulfa drugs, birth control pills and anti-hypertensive medications are not a contraindication. Care must be taken in patients who get cold sores on the face. An anti-herpes medication can be taken thus avoiding the problem.

Are there any side effects?
Most side effects are mild and of short duration. These can consist of short-term discomfort during the actual treatment. There is usually additional redness immediately following treatment, lasting less than 24 hours in most people, on rare occasions it may last up to three days. Mild blistering and bruising is possible and usually clears very quickly. Post treatment pigmentation has been noted on occasion, but is highly treatable and fortunately very rare. Even rarer is a decrease in pigmentation of the skin after treatments. This also clears in time as well. Swelling of the face occasionally occurs and is most common in severely sun-damaged skin due to reduced quality of connective tissue around the blood vessels.

What are the requirements to having this procedure?
All patients must have a consultation prior to the procedure. They must complete a general medical questionnaire on the nature of their skin. At the time of the first treatment, each patient will be tested to properly evaluate the correct settings for the patient’s skin condition and skin type. These parameters will then be stored in a database and in the patients chart for future reference. Pre-treatment and post-treatment photos will be taken. An informed consent sheet and photographic permit form must be signed. All questions must be asked and answered by the patient prior to treatment.

What if I have a low pain threshold or sensitive skin - can I still be treated?
Yes, rare patients use a topical cream that can be applied prior to the treatment eliminating most discomfort.   Generally we begin with lower treatment settings in patients with a history of sensitive skin.  Because the StarLux system has patented contact cooling, discomfort is minimal.

Who can administer the treatments?
The State Law of Michigan requires a license to practice medicine to provide or supervise this treatment. Dr. Benson has personally provided one on one hands on training to our nurse, Chelle Zann, LPN and personally directs and reviews all treatments performed.  Dr. Benson performs many treatments personally.

What should I do before/after my treatment?
Each treatment is timed according to the area being treated. Make-up or creams must be removed. Men will be asked to shave on the day of treatment, prior to their arrival at the office. If any herpetic lesions or bacterial infections are noted on the day of the procedure the treatment will be cancelled until the condition has been treated and completely healed. If you have been set up on a pre-treatment regimen, follow the directions given. If you are using topical anesthetic for your treatment (most do not) apply your topical anesthetic at least 30-45 minutes before you arrive. After the procedure you may be asked to put cool compresses on the area, and will be given any additional post treatment instructions as necessary.  If you are having an enhanced Photofacial do not apply your anesthetic until instructed.

Can I accomplish this result with laser resurfacing?
No. Laser Resurfacing may very well help fine lines and pigmentation but it does not affect or remove blood vessels or flushing. In fact it can worsen this condition. It further leaves you unsightly and usually requires time away from work and your usual every day activities. Downtime is at least two weeks and up to a few months of redness in the treated areas can occur. Laser resurfacing continuously has a valuable place in the treatment of certain conditions of the face, but it is not a substitute for PhotoFacial.

What are the advantages of PhotoFacial?
You can have glowing, blush-free skin with fewer fine lines and more youthful look with NO DOWN TIME from work or play; although we suggest no excessive exercising, hot showers or air travel until the next day. You can usually go to work the same day or the following day without the stares of friends and strangers. No procedure has ever been developed that can accomplish so much with such low risk and no down time. PhotoFacial treatments were developed for the active, busy patients for whom time and appearance are important.

Can I accomplish the same results with chemical peels, Microdermabrasion (Power Peel™, Parisian Peels™, and Derma Peel™)?
No, although PhotoFacial treatments can be used in conjunction with certain types of Peels, Facials and Microdermabrasion. We offer several types of chemical peels as well as microdermabrasion in our office.

My doctor tells me he can perform this treatment with his laser. Is this true?
No. Currently there is no laser that can duplicate the efforts of the StarLux. The laser cannot reach all the levels of the skin in a manner similar to intense pulsed light. Intense pulsed light, for now is an exclusive mode of treatment. It has no peer.

Will PhotoFacial treatments help my acne scars?
Certain more shallow scars usually improve, but ice pick type acne scarring and deep scars will not be helped. Laser resurfacing or Dermabrasion may be indicated here. If the scars are milder and do not respond to PhotoFacial alone we often add Medical Microdermabrasion and or Chemical Peels to the treatment schedule. PhotoFacial and Medical Microdermabrasion treatments can be performed on the same day just minutes following each other. However, Chemical Peels are scheduled separately.

Can I see photos of other patients who have had PhotoFacial treatments?
Yes, we maintain an album of some patients who have been treated and with their permission we are able to show them to you. Your results may vary from those in photographs.

What if I don’t have very much redness and only have pigmented areas from sun exposure (weather beaten appearance), can I benefit?
Yes, these patients can also be treated with great results. Some of the most gratified patients are those who have shown the ravages of sun and time on the face.

What if the redness and sun damage extends to my neck and chest as well, can these areas be treated?
Yes, these areas can also be treated successfully, much like the face. Many women especially are delighted to get rid of the "V-neck" effect of sun-damage that has accumulated in these areas from years of sun exposure.

What is the cost?
The cost of this package will be discussed with you at your consultation. Every individual has different goals and skin; therefore we build a specific treatment plan for you. Prices will vary. Quotes given at your consultation will only be honored for six months if you choose not to schedule a treatment right away.
We will be happy to review quotes after six months and provide you with all new technology that may be brought to our clinic.

What is the role of PhotoFacial in the treatment of Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common chronic condition of the skin characterized by redness, dilated blood vessels and frequently developing pustules and swelling. Blushing is its most devastating characteristic.
It has long been noted in the medical literature that blushing seems to mediate and worsen the condition. Unfortunately, no successful treatment existed until now to help stop or even diminish the blushing. In controlling the blushing with intense pulsed light the breakouts from rosacea tend to diminish in frequency and severity. Some rosacea patients have been able to stop taking antibiotics they had been taking for years.

What are the other uses of PhotoFacial treatments?
In our experience, PhotoFacial treatments offer unique benefits when performed before or after laser resurfacing, facelift procedures, the "weekend facelift" and chemical peels. In addition, we have combined the use of PhotoFacial with Microdermabrasion to enhance the benefit of this procedure by reducing the dilated capillaries and redness that Microdermabrasion is unable to help.  Our “Enhanced Photofacial” also known as Photodynamic Therapy provides a much more intense effect for acne or advanced sun damage.