On our recent trip to Disney World we stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek. The condo had everything we needed… and something that I definitely did not need- a super magnifying mirror at the bathroom vanity. At first I thought it was neat and my makeup would look excellent with that kind of up close attention to detail. However, as each day passed, I found myself starring at my face a little longer and thinking dang, when did that brown spot show up? Oh interesting, that wrinkle doesn’t fade when I stop making that expressions. And most of all, geesh, my skin is so blotchy!
I don’t consider myself a very superficial person. I’m fine to show up on Instagram stories completely sans make-up and hair in a messy bun. I fully believe that aging and wrinkles are a privilege and I’m grateful for the proof of the laughs I’ve had to show up on my face. However I also believe I can appreciate that and do my best to age gracefully at the same time. So when I felt like Disney had done me (and my skin) in, I decided to book a facial as soon as we returned home.
I don’t say that casually because I don’t think I could have told you the last time I’ve had a facial, but I wanted to find a place to use as my source of expert advice. So I did what any modern day 30-something year old woman would do and asked a local facebook mom’s group. Then I looked into each of their suggestions before finally choosing the highly recommended Med Spa Lake Norman. I perused their online services but ultimately decided to just call. My introductory ramble sounded something like this:
Hi. I’m 36 years old and I feel like my face just needs help but I don’t know what it needs. I just want an expert to look at my face and tell me exactly what I should be doing. Oh yes, I’d like a facial too. Which one of those should I go with?
I figured being upfront about my lack of knowledge in the skincare arena would be best. After a friendly conversation about my skin, we decided a HydraFacial would suit me best so I booked an appointment for the following week.
The Benefits of a HydraFacial
A typical HydraFacial comprises five steps. It opens the clogged pores and removes the impurities such as dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and excess oils. Typically this process extracts most blackheads and whiteheads, but the technician will extract any remaining pores that remain. The HydraFacial also hydrates and moisturizes the skin. The regular use of this technique can keep skin healthy, young, and glowing. It’s a gentle and non-invasive treatment that brightens, nourishes and protects the skin, as well as improve textures, pore size and oily or acne-prone skin. It sounded great and I booked it immediately.
My experience was relaxing and enjoyable. I loved the suction of the water pulling the impurities out of my pores- so satisfying! Immediately afterwards I had a glow and could see why people call it the lunchtime facial. While I enjoyed the experience, I also really enjoyed talking to my technician during the treatment. I wanted to milk my face time with an expert for all I could. So we talked in depth about my skin and in the end she suggested that an IPL photo facial treatment would deliver the most results for the areas I wanted to improve- brown spots, my birthmark on my forehead, and general uneven skin tone.
I shared my HydraFacial experience on Instagram stories because I’m fascinated with skincare and appreciate when others open up about their experiences. The owner of The Med Spa Lake Norman saw it and asked if I wanted to share the IPL Photo Facial experience on Instagram, too. If so, she would extend one to me at no cost. Since I already overshare on Instagram anyway, I was excited to say yes.
The Benefits of an IPL Photo Facial
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. It heats the damaged cells with a pulsed light to yield improved skin tone and smooth surface imperfections that come from aging and sun damage. IPLs are used to treat skin redness, little visible veins (common around the nose), brown spots, and sun damage. The laser is powerful and so it’s incredibly important to find an experienced and well-trained technician. If you are local, I highly recommend seeing Linda at The Med Spa Lake Norman. She individualizes each treatment to your specific needs and clearly knows her stuff inside and out. If you are not local, ask about the number of years of experience the technician has with IPL.
I’m now two weeks past my treatment and am a believer! I was expecting it to be a much worse recovery, but besides a few brown spots getting slightly darker the first few days following treatment, I didn’t notice much. In fact, at first I thought it might not have worked very well, but about a week later I noticed that certain brown spots (like the ones bordering my lip and always drove me crazy) were almost completely gone. My forehead birthmark was muted and I no longer felt like I had to use concealer on it. In fact, a little tinted moisturizer is all I’m currently rocking and I love it!
Also to note, now is the perfect time of year to get it done if you’re interested. The harsh summer sun is gone and likely so is any tan left on your face, which makes the IPL treatment work best!
I asked you on Instagram to send me all your questions before I went in for the treatment so again I could make the most of my time with Linda. Here are your most commonly asked questions with answer straight from the expert!
IPL Photo Facial FAQ
How much does an IPL Photo Facial Cost?
$300 for the face. However, you can also do other areas like the back of your hands and chest.
How many treatments are needed for maximum results?
It’s recommended to get 1 per month for each decade of life to get maximum results. From there, it’s good to have a repeat every six months or so to maintain excellent results. Like eating well and exercising, skincare is something to be kept up with, not a one time fix all.
Does IPL work for acne scarring?
It does, but your best bet for acne scarring is to go with the VIVA treatment, which is like microneedling on steroids.
Does IPL work for uneven skin tone?
Absolutely. It’s the recommended treatment for uneven skin tone.
Does IPL hurt?
Obviously this is subjective and in searching for answers you’ll find a wide range of opinions. For me, yes, it hurt, but was bearable. It was more so the anticipation of the little zaps coupled with my eyes covered by protective goggles that had me on edge. Some areas, like around the nose, are more sensitive than others, like my cheeks. However, Linda was such a pro and talked me through the whole thing. It was definitely bearable and I would do it again.
Does IPL make skin more sensitive?
Immediately afterwards you will feel like you have a slight sunburn, but that faded for me within 30 minutes. Other than that, no, it does not make skin more sensitive.
Skincare in Your 30’s
My biggest personal question for the team at The Med Spa Lake Norman was this- what do I need to be doing for skincare in my 30’s to make the most of my skin now and slow the aging process moving forward. They answered that all skin is different and a personal plan is really the way to go. Just how we might seek guidance with nutrition and fitness, it’s also a great idea to get professional input on your skin, since what works for me might not work for you.
In my circumstance I was pleasantly surprised with how they advised me to care for my skin. Linda recommended the following:
- A high quality, gentle and natural cleanser. I’m using Osmosis Enzyme Cleanser.
- Vitamin A serum (it’s a natural form of retinal, which Linda says every woman should use. She was sure to mention it does not need to be- and shouldn’t be- harsh and making your skin peel. I’ve been using CALM and I love it.
- A high quality SPF. I was pleased to see they recommended the same product I’ve been using for years – Elta MD. It’s a physical sunblock and I really like it.
That’s it! Sure there are other products I could add in, like a quality moisturizer when the skin gets really dry or a fancy eye cream (though Linda said my CALM serum works just fine as an eye cream too). This was such a surprise, and honestly a relief, to me because I figured I needed a 9 product line up to care to my skin properly. How nice to know some quality, simple care will reap great benefits.
I also plan to keep up with the treatments as much as I can afford. I believe in their value to help me with my goal of graceful aging and taking great care of my skin. Plus, I can tell my skin just looks better and brighter. When I wear make up it goes on more smoothly. It really feels good to feel good about my skin and you deserve to feel the same way!
If you’re local to the Lake Norman area, call Linda at Lake Norman Med Spa and ask about a complimentary consultation! If you’re not, get in your local mom group on Facebook and ask where people recommend. I know I was surprised to see how much feedback I received with people passionate about their skin professionals. And if you have any questions about my experience, just ask in the comments!
Tell me about your skincare routine- do you have one?
Is there a product or treatment that has blown you away?
Would love to see before and afters of the brown spots.
John J. Stathas says
You do a wonderful job of taking care of your health. You inspire others to be more conscious of ways to look and feel better – and slow the aging process. Keep sharing!
Before and after photos? I wish these procedures weren’t so expensive but I get why they are. Thanks for the product recommendations – going to get the SPF pronto! (Also, thank you for not mentioned Beautycounter.)
Brittany Dixon says
Yes, I’ll snap an after today! I took the before in my car because I feel like it had the most truthful lighting, so I’ll try to replicate it today to show a true before and after.