I Am Considering Having IPL Done on my Red Blotched Neck. Is This Safe? I Worry About Being Scarred or Burned.
Doctor Answers 9
Red, Blotchy Skin
IPL is not without risks, and is especially risky on dark skinned individuals. IPL treatments are generally safe and effective in experienced hands. A series of 3-5 treatments is generally necessary.
There are other options that have very little risk, such physician grade skin lotions such as Nu Derm by Obagi or Lytic Tx by Epionce. These treatments often take 6 months or more, but a series of IPL treatments usually reuqires about 3 months of therapy.
IPL to neck
Most people elect to have their face and neck, and possibly chest treated, as the idea is to blend pigment irregularities and create a similar skin tone overall. IPL is attracted to color, so if you are red in specific areas, the machine head will be able to target those specific areas stronger, but doing a larger area helps create a better blend. There are many, many IPL machines on the market and many ways to do the treatments, so that is the first thing. My office has done over 150,000 treatments and the machine we use is made by Syneron, so it is IPL with a RF (radio frequency) component to it. IPL targets heat and color in the skin. We use a very cold air chiller during the treatment that does two things: 1. helps with patient comfort, and 2. helps drive the IPL deeper to the pigment because if the surface is colder the IPL is forced to go into the skin farther to find the heat. This allows our machine to target much deeper pigments like rosacea, freckles, age spots, and melasma. Certain types of pigment is in the skin at different depths and specific IPL machines just can't get in deep enough if there's not a cold source or RF driving the IPL light in deeper. We also do multiple passes of the treatment head, and sometimes use an additional treatment called Laser Genesis, along with our FotoFacial IPLs, so our treatments take 60 minutes.
We normally recommend a series of 5 treatments. While some offices will say 3 is acceptable, I just don't think patients get enough response with only 3 and have found over the years that a minimum of 5 is needed so that is why my offices does packages. As the pigment starts rising after each treatment, you will see certain pigments and areas of pigmentation fade, and some will rise. Doing additional treatments allows the pigment to rise all the way out.
Additionally I will let you know that most patients don't see a tremendous amount of skin change after just one treatment. It's after two and three that their skin really starts seeing the benefits and they are able to see more of the changes in the skin tone, color, and texture.
The most important thing other than the technology used and the way the office does the treatments is to make sure you go to an office that has a physician actively involved in your care. Most people that I see that say they did IPL somewhere and "it didn't work", do a treatment at my office and say "that is NOT what I had before". So it's VERY important to have good equipment, good treatment technique, and a good doctor involved every step of the way.
IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatment
IPL is a safe treatment almost anywhere in the body when used correctly. Red blotchiness of the skin is one of its best uses and can be safely performed on the neck. It often takes a few treatments and redness can recur necessitating more treatments every year or so. Find a qualified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who offers this treatment and who also employs a medical esthetician so they give adjunct therapy such as peels or creams that will improve the condition as well.Good luck!
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IPL for the neck
You should have treatment with a dermatologist who can determine if your skin type would be appropriate for IPL treatments and what the settings should be. You must not be tanned before your treatment and should avoid the sun after treatment.
IPL for neck, other "off face" areas for redness
It sounds like you might have a condition called poikiloderma which consists of areas of increased and decreased pigmentation, prominent blood vessels, and thinning of the skin, so the neck (and oftentimes chest) appear blotchy. The IPL or FotoFacial is an excellent treatment for this area. While the face can show great improvement in a series of 3 treatments, I would count on 5 treatments about 3-4 weeks apart. If it takes less, great! Your first consideration though is to have this treatment done in a physician's office, either a Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist who are on site. Often, patients ask me if a particular light treatment or laser is safe. It is only as safe as the person administering the treatment! Unless you are already a patient, do your research and get referals. Good luck!
The neck can safely be treated with IPL
The neck is often treated with IPL to reduce vascular lesions, hyperpigmentation, and poiklioderma. The skin of the neck heals slower than the face and the settings for the IPL are different from those used on the face. Look for a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to perform your procedure and make sure that you are not tanned.
IPL safety on the neck
Any laser system can burn you, whether it is on the face, neck, armpits, or anywhere else that you are treating. To get optimal results, and more importantly optimal safety (no burns, scars etc), it is best to go a medical clinic staffed by skin experts such as dermatologists.
IPL can be a good option to treat pigmentation, however there are risks that come along with using this including burning and scarring. Make sure to go to a reputable clinic with a physician on staff for your treatment.
IPL (Intense Pulse Light Therapy) is a very safe procedure when performed by a knowledgable and trained operator. A physician should perform your consultation and evaluate your skin type and the skin condition you hope to improve as well as recommend a treatment regimen and the recommended settings for the device to be used.
Certainly IPL can cause scarring and burns when used incorrectly but I have never seen this complication. IPL/BBL is most likely the best way to treat the condition on your neck.
Jacque P. LeBeau, MD