by Dave Bricker
Ellipse IPL Skin Rejuvenation offers effective treatment for sun-damaged skin. At 51 years old, I’m looking back at decades spent under the Florida sun, and those years really show when I look at my skin, especially my forearms. In my teens and twenties and during the time I spent 15 years living on a sailboat, I was proud of the fact that I could go out in the sun all day without sunscreen and not burn. Today, I cover up, wear sunscreen, and regret the arrogance of my youth.
Unlike many of Dr. Busso’s patients, I’m not overly worried about appearances. But I am worried about the possible health effects of all that sun exposure. Like smoking, sun exposure is one of those problems that catches up to you later—and we’ve all seen the damage caused by skin cancer.
Fortunately, a skin examination didn’t reveal anything dangerous, but I had plenty of red spots, brown spots, and crusty areas (keratosis) that looked unhealthy, and that had the potential to evolve into something that was unhealthy. Dr. Busso suggested his Ellipse IPL Laser could repair a lot of the sun damage by targeting the pigmented cells.
The Ellipse IPL Laser isn’t actually a laser at all, though it works much like medical lasers do. An intense pulse of light (IPL)—kind of like a camera flash—is directed at the affected area. The light is of a particular frequency that incinerates cells in a certain color range while leaving healthy cells untouched. The Ellipse’s frequency can be tuned to target spider veins, freckles, acne, hair follicles, and other types of cells depending on the desired treatment result. Ellipse IPL Skin Rejuvenation targets the red and brown spots associated with sun damage.
After shaving my arms, a very cold, transparent ultrasound gel was applied to the skin and then the laser treatment was administered in a grid style up and down each arm. Total treatment time for each Ellipse IPL Skin Rejuvenation session was about 20 minutes. I was treated three times at four-week intervals.
What does Ellipse IPL Skin Rejuvenation Treatment feel like?
My fear of medical procedures is usually a much bigger deal than the treatment itself. I found each flash of the Ellipse on my arms to be mild—like the snap of a rubber band. I did have some additional treatments done on my face and neck, and these were less comfortable. Depending on the sensitivity of the treatment area and the individual being treated, each pulse can range from a sharp electric snap to not worth mentioning. Regardless, the treatment, even at its worst, was tolerable and over quickly. Don’t let fear of pain deter you from having this done. It’s not a big deal, even if you’re a wimp like me.
For about a half-hour after each treatment, my arms felt hot—like I had a bad, stinging sunburn. This sensation quickly faded and there was no further discomfort associated with the treatment.
What to Expect Between Skin Rejuvenation Treatments
During the time between treatments, the pigmented cells destroyed by the light pulse slowly come to the surface of your skin and drop away. These can look a bit “scabby” depending on how concentrated they are, but they’re more like black spots or “dirt.” While this happens, the uppermost layer of skin (the epidermis) also becomes a bit blotchy, much like it would after a sunburn. About 3 weeks after treatment, exfoliation with a hot, soapy washcloth was helpful in removing some of the patchy spots. You’ll be impressed with how much “junk” your skin gets rid of as the treatment progresses. By the end of the fourth week following treatment, you’ll see the healing is mostly complete and you’ll be ready for the next one. Do not expect your skin to look better between treatments than it did when you started. It takes several treatments and time to get rid of the unhealthy, pigmented cells.
Final Treatment and Results
A month after the third treatment, the appearance of the skin on my forearms was noticeably improved. Most of the spots and blotches were gone, and my skin had a more even appearance. And my arm hair was beginning to grow back. The only thing left to do was take care of the keratosis actinium—crusty, flaky, gray spots that don’t respond to Ellipse IPL Skin Rejuvenation treatment. Dr. Busso took care of these by freezing them with a tiny spray of liquid nitrogen. This process took only a few minutes, and was not uncomfortable.
The keratosis spots turned dark red and then black. After about three weeks, the dark surfaces fell off and the skin underneath them healed without its former flaky, crusty surface.
I am very pleased with the final result. My most sun-damaged areas are greatly improved in appearance, and they’ll continue to improve as the final treatment heals. More important, I feel safer knowing we took care of a lot of damaged, unhealthy cells from these areas. With some luck (and regular application of sun protection from here on), I decreased some of the health risks along with them.