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Photofacial Atlanta | Dr. Kathleen J. SmithA photofacial, also known as IPL, intense pulse light, fotofacial, BBL/broad band light, or photo rejuvenation, is a type of phototherapy treatment for skin. These treatments target hyperpigmentation, age spots (“liver spots”), broken capillaries (spider veins), mild scarring, and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Photo rejuvenation treatments can address multiple skin issues at once and most people experience healthier, more youthful skin as a result. Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta, a national board-certified dermatology practice, evaluates and treats patients with sun damage, hyper pigmentation, skin diseases and conditions of all types. Some of the types of conditions that may be addressed through the photofacial include:

  • Hyperpigmentation: causes the skin to darken by localized area increases in melanin, the pigment that causes skin’s natural color. This concentration of melanin is frequently experienced by older patients and may occur because of damaged from the sun’s UV rays or because of melasma. IPL or LED photofacials target the specific darkened area and the skin containing the concentrated melanin is sloughed off. IPL treatments deliver pulse light: these wavelengths range from approximately five hundred nm to one thousand two hundred nm depending upon the level selected by the operating dermatologist.
  • Sun damage effects: The treatment can also selectively destroy tiny blood vessels or capillaries in the face that remain dilated due to sun damage.
  • Skin redness: caused by the patient’s genetic heritage, stress, rosacea, medicines, or alcohol consumption are remedied by this treatment. Since this is a non-invasive treatment, patients with general redness heal quickly.
  • Skin tightening: caused by the process of aging, heredity, or sun damage is improved by these treatments. Skin progressively tightens and new production of collagen and elastin helps to make the skin appear plump and youthful.
  • Pore size: may be reduced with these treatments. The patient’s skin absorbs the intense pulse light and penetrates below the epidermal layer. This treatment reduces the size of pores in men and women. Men’s pores tend to be larger than those of women. They’re more prone to blockage that can cause other skin problems.


It’s important for a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate the patient’s skin. Not all patients are ideal candidates for these treatments. Dr. Kathleen J. Smith of Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta evaluates each patient’s skin and assists them in choosing the best treatment options for their specific skin type and condition.

Most physicians report that IPL treatments are the gold standard for sun damage, aging-related issues, redness, and skin laxity. IPL may be used anywhere on the patient’s body, including the legs, arms, chest, and back. This treatment isn’t used to treat very delicate skin around the eyes.

These facial treatments are usually painless. Most patients require a series of treatments in order to achieve results. This type of photo rejuvenation treatment may be offered at a day spa or provided by someone other than a board-certified dermatologist. According to the FDA, it’s important to seek skilled and experienced providers when considering these treatments.


The dermatologist cleanses the patient’s face, and then applies clear conducting gel to the skin. This product feels cold and comfortable on the skin, and also allows the light guide to pass along the patient’s skin surface without any drag or pull. In some cases, the dermatologist may perform microdermabrasion or other exfoliation treatments prior to the photo rejuvenation therapy. Patients with very sensitive skin may also be given a topical anesthetic prior to treatment.

The dermatologist will provide goggles to protect the patient’s eyes from intense light. The operating dermatologist will also wear goggles to protect her eyes. The light used to perform photo rejuvenation is tested and safe. The setting used for the treatment is based upon the individuals skin color and type. Before initiating the full treatment, the dermatologist performs a test on a small spot of the patient’s skin. Because the patient’s comfort is important, the doctor will ask about the scale of his or her pain at this time. Most patients say the light guide tip feels cold on the skin and that the sensation is pleasant. According to Mayo Clinic, the patient may experience greater pain sensitivity as the dermatologist treats the cheek or under-eye areas. Patients usually report little pain when blacks of the hands, neck, or chest areas are treated.


Everyone wants to look their best, and fresh, clear, glowing skin is both attractive and a sign of health. Patients with concerns about sun damage, signs of aging, or loose skin have many treatment options. Better skin for patients in and around greater Atlanta–including North Decatur, Buckhead, Mid-town, Druid Hills/North Druid Hills, and North Atlanta–starts with a call to Dr. Kathleen J. Smith of Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta at 678-904-4932.

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