Lumecca – our Knight in Intense Pulsed Light armour: Written By Dr. Marisa Heyns MBChB (UCT), MSc Aesthetic Medicine and Therapeutics
The Cape Town winter has finally settled in and our skins can take a bit of a breather after fighting off the harsh UV rays of Summer. Unfortunately, a lot of us may not have appreciated the cruel reality of the destructive effect of sun damage and what it has done to our skins. UV and infrared radiation do not only cause pigmentation, but it also penetrates deep into our skin, breaking down the collagen elastin and hyaluronic acid. These structural elements are vital to keeping our skins looking smooth, hydrated and wrinkle-free. The battle wounds from sun damage at the end of the day result in a damaged skin barrier that is dry, pigmented and thinned out with evidence of blotchy redden skin due to broken capillaries ( little blood vessels). Not a pretty sight.
Let me present to you: Lumecca Our Knight in (light) shining armor, coming to swoop your skin up and away from its miserable damaged predicament.
Who is Lumecca?
Lumecca is part of our INMODE artillery (LUMECCA, FORMA, and FRACTORA) I will sing the praises of the latter two in my next blog.
Lumecca is an IPL device. IPL stands for intense pulsed light. It is a device that uses a high powered flashgun to deliver an intense visible broad spectrum of light usually in a spectral range of 400 to 1 000 nm ( don’t panic it is not UV).
The emitted light, depending on its specific wavelength, can target specific structures and pigment ( chromophores) in the skin. When applied to the skin, similar to a laser device, the light energy creates heat, and when targeted at a specific structure, destroys it. As the skin heals, it gets rid of the damaged bits ( either through superficial flaking of the skin, or absorbing and removing products from the deeper layer of the dermis.
OK, enough tech talk, what can Lumecca do for me?
With this nifty ability to target specific structures in the skin, we can treat a variety of conditions that are generally related to sun damage ( photo-rejuvenation)
- Hyperpigmentation: the number one skin care concern
Lumecca is superior in its ability to target pigmentation that sits in the epidermal layer of skin. Please remember that pigmentation is a complex dragon on its own, and that some skins make pigment for different reasons. Lumecca is good and only good to treat pigmentation as a result of sun damage ( sun spots, darkening of freckles) in light skin types ( those ladies and gents that think they can tan but go a horrible lobster red when exposed to the sun.)
CAUTION: If you have a skin that turns to a Mediterranean bronze upon one glance in the sun – this is not a treatment option for you – please see “Depigmentation Treatments” for your salvation.
- Broken Capillaries
The number one cause for those visible blood vessels that we sometimes find on the cheeks and around the nose: Sun damage. The organized network of blood capillaries that are usually tucked away underneath a healthy plump epidermis is damaged by UV rays. This results in destruction and a formation of a disorganized network of blood vessels called telangiectasias. Lumecca can target the hemoglobin (the part of the red blood cell that gives the red colour). When applied to the skin this time, the light travels deeper into the skin and zaps the areas with visible blood capillaries to decrease their size and minimize their appearance.
Some of us are unfortunate to suffer from a condition called Rosacea, a condition, where for some reason the little blood vessels in the skin have very little elastin around them ( allowing them to dilate and contract ) When these damaged vessels dilate due to heat, stress or damage -they cannot contract again. The result is an area of reddened bumps ( papules and sometimes pimple like) usually around the forehead, cheeks, and chin that becomes inflamed and even tender at times.
Similarly, Lumecca can target these inflamed vessels and shrink them down and improve their appearance. Again remember, Rosacea is a chronic condition, and as much as we want to take it all away for you, it cannot be cured, and only managed.
- Minor skin imperfections
Ok, so please do not think ‘face-lift’ results after one flash of Lumecca’s wand. For this visit Dr. Nerina Wilkinsons page on Face-Lifts.
Lumecca’s wavelengths can target the superficial structures in the skin – therefore treating any unwanted thickening of the epidermal layer, large pores or blemishes. This will leave your skin looking radiant and smooth with reduced pores and finer texture. Who does not want that?
So why Lumecca and not the same IPL device that treats my unwanted hair growth?
Just like you wouldn’t want to be treated by an average, general doctor or therapist for an ailment, wouldn’t you prefer to be treated by a specially trained aesthetic team?
The same goes for IPL devises. Lumecca is specially devised to only target specific structures: pigment (melanin and hemoglobin). This means that only what needs to be treated will be treated, without the unwanted side effects and complications that can occur with general IPL devices. The other safety feature of Lumecca is its sapphire cooling tip that cools the skin down during the treatment. Therefore no tazer sensation when the device is activated.
This results in minimal heating, of the skin tissues, and the chances of exaggerated inflammation are also minimized. This means less swelling and redness in the post-procedural stage.
Any precautions before I have the treatment
Let’s face it, any knight in shining armour ( even the ones with the best intentions) comes with a warning! Personal safety comes first before jumping on an unknown man’s horse. It is advised that you protect the skin from any damaging UV rays at least 2 weeks in advance.
Please remember the following words: Inflammation begets inflammation! This means that any form of damage to the skin before any procedure that intends to harm it( IPL), will exaggerate the destructive process. We do not want this in a clinical setting. The skin has a limit to which it can happily take on stimulation through limited damage ( laser, chemical peels, microneedling, IPL). One does not want to over stimulate and create too much damage that results in side effects ( pigmentation) and complications ( delayed wound healing). To be safe; ensure that your skin barrier is healthy, protected and optimized. If you are not sure, our skilled skin therapists will guide you toward the correct procedure to follow. In broad terms: stay out of the sun; do not have any harsh skin treatments before your IPL treatment; make sure your skin is adequately hydrated and protected with a moisturizer and high factor sunscreen.
What happens during a treatment
For those of you, who are genetical or socially petrified of pain, this is really a non-event!. Carmen or Bernice, our talented skin queens will prepare your skin by applying a layer of sonicated gel onto the treatment area. Once you are calm, relaxed and cozy – we start the treatment ( the non-event one). And before you know it – voila!
What should I expect after a treatment
Immediately following the treatment you may feel the following: nothing….. to a mild warm glowing sensation. No pain. In the following days depending on the indication for treatment you may experience the following:
- Redness and mild swelling lasting about 48 hours
- Initial darkening of spots before they happily flake off and leave you with new baby skin (that you will hopefully protect and care for)
- Sun sensitivity (let’s be honest – you have just burnt the skin – do not be surprised that you will feel a little tender afterward when exposed to heat ….)
Excited yet? How many treatments?
Treatment frequency depends on the cause of the problem:
- Imperfections in texture and pore size: 3-4 treatments 4 weeks apart
- Sun damage and pigmentation: usually 4 – 5 treatments 4 weeks apart
- Rosacea or symptoms of redness. Let’s face it: this did not happen overnight, and therefore the treatment is a bit longer and will require top-ups – 6 -8 treatments 4 weeks apart
Which products should I consider using part of my Lumecca treatment plan
I really believe that a well-prepared skin behaves much better than unhealthy, untreated skin. Make sure that your skin is adequately optimized. This means: makes sure you are using the right cleanser for your skin type. When the skin surface properly prepared with a cleanser, the active ingredients that you apply can penetrate properly. Top that up with a good moisturizer and finish with a high SPF sunscreen, and you are ready to go.
If you are really interested in protecting your skin once you have had your treatments, feed your skin with anti-oxidants. We underestimate the need for high-quality anti-oxidants. Examples are ferulic acid combined with Vit C and E. When our skins are damaged daily by UV and Infrared rays ( they are really all over the place), we need something to mop up those harmful free radicals that aim to destroy our DNA. Feel free to speak to one of our therapists to choose the best product that is uniquely tailored to your skin.
And there you have it. Think of it as preparation of your skin for the Summer months to come, almost like those winter resolutions you make to have the perfect summer body, only this time, you follow through.
Come and visit us at Nerina Skin, and we can further assist you in whatever skin care concerns you have. Or give us a call to make an appointment. We are ready and waiting to save your skin this winter.
Stay warm and keep safe