Even the first day, that evening, I had no redness at all. It was performed by a board certified dermatologist, so I am not concerned that he did not know what he was doing, but I am wondering was the laser turned too low? I have the dark spots, but that is it. I had splotchy red spots immediately after the treatment, but they faded that afternoon. I guess I feel like if I had a lot of redness and sunburn look, I would feel like it had worked better. Is this correct?
I Had IPL 2 Days Ago and Have Coffee Grounds Spots, but No Redness. Did It Work?
Doctor Answers (4)
IPL and coffee ground spots
It sounds as though you had an effective treatment. Avoid the sun, use moisturizers, and do not pick at the dark spots. Return to your dermatologist in about 3 weeks to see if you require another treatment.
Splotchy Brown after IPL
It's really not essential to get red and sun-burned looking after IPL to have a great or effective result. If your brown spots have darkened and you have the 'coffee ground' appearance then it sounds like you got a good treatment. The spots should flake in the next few days to reveal the results of your treatment. Most patients do require more than one treatment (3-5 often) depending on the depth and severity of the spots.
Dr. Grant Stevens
IPL: Success or Failure?
If your sun-damaged skin brown spots are darker, then the IPL worked. You don't have to actually be "burned" to have an effective result. Indeed, if you were then you may run the risk of worsening of the brown spots due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. In a few weeks you should see some brown spots flake off, and others lighten. Be patient, follow your doctor's post-treatment instructions and you will be fine.
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How do you know IPL worked?
From what you are describing, the endpoint of IPL treatment for hyperpigmentation have been reached successfully. It is exactly what you want: mild transient redness and darkening and breaking down of the pigmented spots (coffee grounds, as you called them).
If there is lasting redness and a sunburn look, the settings may be too intense and can lead to side effects.
So I believe your procedure was done by a really knowledeable dermatologist.