The AFT laser hand piece treats superficial vascular and pigmented irregularities to improve the color of the skin. It is the next generation of IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). The AFT is safe and effective to even skin tones and reduce imperfections. If you have red blemishes, acne scarring, pigmentation, sunspots, or age spots—The AFT Photofacial can dramatically reduce their appearance with minimal downtime. This treatment also minimizes the appearance of fine lines. It is safe to use on almost every part of the body, but is most popular on the neck, chest, face and hands.
How Does It Work?
The Photofacial works by targeting the melanin in pigmented lesions. When the melanin is treated by a pulse of light, it causes the melanin to break down and the surrounding unaffected cells regenerate new cells. While the settings can be made more or less aggressive, there is a small window in which treatment is safe. If set very low, it is not as effective, and if too high, one runs the risk of having a superficial burn or blister. The treatment can also bring up deeper pigment to the surface. It is for this reason we often recommend a series of treatments for the best results and greatest improvement. Often times, our patients find that a series of 3-6 treatments, with a maintenance treatment every 6-12 months is sufficient to achieve optimal results.
What to Expect
When you come in for your Photofacial, topical numbing cream will be applied to your skin to provide the most comfortable treatment for you. Topical numbing takes about 20-30 minutes to take effect. While most patients find the topical numbing to be sufficient for pain control, some patients prefer to be given pain medication (injection or oral). This decision is dependent on each individual patient and their pain tolerance. If you choose to have pain medication, you must have someone available to drive you home after the treatment. If you have a history of cold sore or herpes breakouts, we recommend pre-treating and post-treating with an anti-viral such as Acyclovir, as Photofacial treatments can activate outbreaks in some patients. A prescription for medications determined by your provider will be written for you and you will have the option of using your insurance or to pay cash for the medication.
After the topical numbing has had time to take effect, the numbing cream will be wiped off, and you will be given a gentle cleanser to use to wash the area completely clean of any makeup and numbing cream. After drying the skin, you will be given a headband to keep hair out of the area, and protective eyewear to wear during the procedure. It is also recommended to remove jewelry at this time. Next aloe vera gel is applied to the areas to be treated. When the smooth surface of the Photofacial laser tip is applied to the skin, a pulse of light is delivered to the skin you may feel a brief “rubber band snap” sensation delivered to the skin you may feel a warm sensation, like a sunburn over the areas being treated. On average, the treatment time of a Photofacial is about 30 minutes. After the treatment is finished, a soothing recovery cream or lotion will be applied to the skin.
After the Procedure
Sun protection is of utmost importance after Photofacial treatment, and you must be vigilant in avoiding sun exposure while healing. Those with more pigment in their skin or darker skin should be careful since they are more likely to hyper-pigment than those with fair skin or less melanin pigment. In general, you should avoid unprotected natural and artificial sun exposure until healed and always use a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA & UVB) with a SPF of 30 or greater between treatments. Make sure you reapply throughout the day, not just once in the morning. Pigmented and vascular lesions will appear worse for approximately 3-7 days and then the areas should begin to fade or flake off over the next 2 weeks. Do not exfoliate or use scrubs on the treated areas for 2 weeks, or wear clothing that creates friction. If you note any pink areas or blisters, apply antibacterial ointment to those sites until they are healed.
Immediately following a Photofacial, you may notice redness to your skin which typically subsides within a couple of hours. Signs of sun damage and hyperpigmentation darken and over the course of the next 7-10 days, and darkened spots will fade and flake off. Many patients see improvement within 2 weeks of photofacial treatment. The Photofacial provides gradual improvement with excellent long-term results. You will notice a reduction in redness, sun damage, and dilated capillaries. Photofacial treatments are recommended every 4-6 weeks, for a series of 3-6 treatments, with a maintenance treatment every 6-12 months.