There is a dizzying array of facial rejuvenation procedures available these days. Choosing what suits your skin can be challenging, with many options. Further, deciding if multiple treatments can address your concerns better than one alone can be difficult. Some professionals recommend getting “spaced” procedures as individual treatments around three months apart. With this approach, it is possible to see the results of each treatment and whether it has been effective. Another approach is treatment “stacking,” where multiple services or therapeutic interventions are performed on the same day (or within a short period). The advantage of doing this can be 3-fold: synergism, cost, and reduced downtime. And we often offer discounts on packages or combining treatments.
Let’s dive into what treatments should be stacked and which are safe options for stacking facial rejuvenation procedures.
Facials can be combined with virtually any other procedure. When stacking treatments with facials, the sky is the limit. It is essential to have the facial first, followed by any other options. Procedures like injections and lasers should always come after a facial so that the results are not disrupted by steam, massage, and the application of botanical cosmeceuticals. The exception to this rule is microneedling or any procedure where micro channels are created in the skin for the product to penetrate deeper.
Injectables such as tox and fillers can be safely combined with laser treatments, saving time and money. The basic rule with any injectable (including neurotoxins such as tox or hyaluronic acid filler) is to have the injectable after other treatments. This is so the injected product does not become displaced with other therapies. Injectable neurotoxins like tox are large molecules that bind to nerves. If the product gets disrupted or moved after it has been injected. It can have unwanted effects or be less effective than it might have been otherwise.
IPL or intense pulse light can be effectively combined with several other treatments. One of the more popular combinations is stacking IPL with laser treatments. These two treatments complement one another very well. The mechanisms are different, meaning that IPL targets pigment with visible light pulsed deep into the skin, while lasers operate with entirely different mechanisms of controlled injury. Lasers use either ablation-which physically removes surface layers or grids of micro-channels. No matter which laser is employed, the healing process afterward is how we experience positive results. Collagen production and resurfacing for texture improvement are typical goals of laser, and combining this with the outcome of IPL allows for a synergistic effect on the skin.
This approach even has research backing it up. Several studies¹ have looked at how IPL and laser can be used together, with one study even using a “split-face” approach to show how effective the treatment stacking can be compared to just a single treatment. Acne scars and inflammation can be treated simultaneously this way, but other benefits of each therapy can also be experienced when IPL and laser are performed back-to-back.
When combining IPL with laser, IPL is performed first. This is so that the inflammation caused by the laser is not the target of the IPL but rather the pigment or inflammation already present before any treatment.
Microneedling and chemical peels can be stacked with one another for enhanced benefit or combined with other procedures. These techniques are like two sides of the same coin, with microneedling penetrating the skin and creating channels vertically, while chemical peels target the surface layers horizontally. Most experts recommend having the chemical peel first, followed by the microneedling, which can be done days or weeks later. Although these two procedures are typically performed on different days, they combine forces to maximize each other’s effects. Combining these treatments has multiple benefits – including improved pigment, texture, luminosity, and scars.
The bottom line is that treatment stacking is a great way to maximize facial rejuvenation. Talk to Dr. Boger about your goals so that you can discover a perfect combination of therapy for your concerns. Just remember, always consider having a facial before ANY treatment, and ensure that injectables are the last step if you have other procedures on the same day.