When my parents decided to name me Shannon, my grandfather was delighted. His last name was McGehearty. His nickname for me growing up was “Irish”. And like a traditional Irish lass, I was born with pale, freckled skin, something I tried to change every summer by rubbing on baby oil instead of sunscreen. After years of countless sunburns and sun blisters, I am now paying the price with a face and décolletage full of sun damage.

Shannon Before Photofacial

For Akari’s December blog we decided to highlight the IPL Photofacial. IPL 

(Intense Pulse Light) Photofacial is a laser light treatment that targets pigment issues, often referred to as the “reds and browns.” When the light hits the pigment within the skin, it destroys the excess pigmentation and stimulates the growth of new cells.

I was really looking forward to this procedure because while some of my brown spots might be confused for freckles, there are a couple of larger ones that even my full coverage foundation and concealer can’t completely hide. Seeing them in the mirror just makes me feel older than I am and feel.

Eliza Norton is the general manager of Akari and resident expert medical aesthetician. This procedure is right in her wheelhouse. The treatment begins with a thorough consultation. She then preps your skin and gives you an ice pack to numb the targeted areas. After spreading on a cooling gel, Eliza, with a handheld device, applies brief pulses of light.

The procedure is not painful, but I wouldn’t call it pleasant either. It’s been described as a light snap of a rubber band on your face. I like to think of it as a tiny defibrillator bringing my face back to life.

Chest area after photofacialAfter my first photo facial, it felt and looked like I had a sunburn, but only on my chest, where we have less fat and more bone. The “sunburn” dissipated after a few hours. I also noticed a lot of new, tiny dark spots on both my chest and face that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. That’s a sign the procedure is drawing out the sun damage beneath the surface, as it’s supposed to.

Dark spots that were already on my face and chest got darker and after a few days some slightly crusted over. But it all started to fade after a few days to a week. And I was surprised at how well makeup masked it all. So unlike laser resurfacing treatments, there really is zero downtime with IPL Photofacials.

This treatment works wonderfully, but you have to manage your expectations. Like snowflakes, every brown spot is different and you may need multiple seasons to achieve maximum results. Eliza’s deep knowledge of skin care and this procedure allows her to adjust your treatment depending on how your skin reacts.

I have had three treatments. My chest looks amazing! (ok, that doesn’t sound quite right) but a lot of the brown spots are gone and the entire area just looks smoother. The larger spots on my face, however, are like me, stubborn. I will probably need one more treatment to make sure the brown spots fully disappear.

Shannon Moss after Akari Photofacial

That is okay with me because the IPL Photofacial comes complete with a bonus feature! The high energy light also encourages the production of collagen which can help fill in wrinkles and make skin more supple—and the treatment can be used all over the body.

That certainly has my Irish eyes smiling.

For more information about how you can reverse sun damage with Photofacial call Akari at 207.772.9060 or email us at info@akaribeauty.com.

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