What is the first word that comes into your mind when you think of ageing? I bet it’s wrinkles…am I right? If not, I bet ‘wrinkles’ is up there with your top 5 words that conjure up being old. Strangely enough though, wrinkles aren’t actually the top sign of ageing.
During a visit to newly opened La Pelle Skin Clinic in Chiswick, owner, Josi Valerio (above) opened my eyes by telling me that wrinkles are the least of our worries when it comes to ageing skin. She believes that the most common skin complaints resulting from ageing are these:
- Broken capillaries – those annoying little red, wiggly spider veins that appear around the nose and cheeks when blood vessels are dilated due to age, alcohol and harsh treatment of the skin such as over zealous exfoliation. Genetics come in to play too.
- Hyper-pigmentation – patches of discoloured skin caused by hormonal imbalances and/or over exposure to the sun.
- Rosacea – red blotches and pimples that mainly affect the nose and cheeks. As with broken capillaries exposure to sun damage, spicy foods, alcohol, genetics and extremes in temperature can make this redness worse but dairy products and some medicines can also take their toll.
- Uneven skin texture – dehydrated, dry and dull skin tone which is caused by poor skincare regime, ageing and the environment.
- Sagging – there’ s no hiding from the effects of gravity!
- Wrinkles – apart from outside influences which can exacerbate lines such as sunbathing, alcohol, smoking and an unhealthy diet, wrinkles are a natural sign of ageing as the skin’s support structure – collagen and elastin – breaks down so skin loses its elasticity and natural ‘bounce’.
Josi explained that Intense Pulsed Light Treatment (IPL) for skin rejuvenation can greatly improve all of the above skin spoilers and get the complexion looking healthy and clear. This alone will knock years off – and means less faffing around trying to disguise problems with concealers and foundation. And, she adds, if you were contemplating Botox or filler, you may find that you don’t actually need or want it after dealing with these initial skin niggles.
But what is IPL and how does it work?
IPL directs controlled pulses of light into the upper skin layer which is then absorbed by the body’s melanin in the pigmented areas and haemoglobin in the red blood cells. These convert the light energy into heat which is used to destroy parts of the cells in which the melanin is stored and to damage walls of the vessels supplying blood to the damaged capillaries. As the light is carefully controlled surrounding areas of the skin tissue are rejuvenated with no damage.
Josi used IPL on my face and chest, explaining that I might get a good result after just one session, but because I have quite bad pigmentation on my chest (Using baby oil as suntan lotion in my teens and 20s wasn’t a good idea!) and a few broken veins on my face, 3 – 6 treatments would be recommended.
How did it feel?
You’ve probably heard it said before, that IPL feels like elastic bands being pinged against the skin. It’s true! That said, it was a lot less painful than I imagined and the slight discomfort didn’t put me off at all. My coping strategy was to close my eyes, grit my teeth and think of smooth, youthful skin! 🙂
After one treatment, I left the clinic slathered in SPF30 with my chest looking sunburned and my face a little pink. The marks on my chest were initially darker and Josi explained this would happen as the melanin was being stimulated and repaired. The next day, I saw an improvement in the patches on my chest even though the little freckles I had were darker but a couple of weeks on and the patches on my chest have significantly improved and my skin tone is much more even. There wasn’t as much of a difference on my face except one or two of the capillaries had faded a little.
My thoughts on IPL
During the course of writing for magazines and my blog, I’ve been lucky enough to try various facials and treatments, and although many have made my skin feel and look better in terms of texture and plumpness, IPL seems to have made the biggest impact in terms of treating the problem of pigmentation after just one session. It is quite expensive from £75 a pop but this is an average cost of a clinical treatment which actually gets results and apart from ageing, IPL can also be very effective at treating acne and hair removal.
Find out more about Josi and La Pelle Skin Clinic and treatments that are available by clicking here.