I did the IPL last month and didn't see much difference. Will additional treatments improve my face?
Are Multiple Treatments Necessary?
Doctor Answers (8)
IPL--Always plan on a series
We always advise patients the IPL/Photofacial will require multiple treatments. If the desired result was achieved after only one treatment I would be amazed (and thrilled!) Most patients undergo 3-5 treatments in series, about 3-4 weeks apart. That being said, the results from a treatment series are not permanent...as time progresses new sun spots and damage will almost certainly appear and if redness/Rosacea and capillaries are your concern, those too will return with time and IPL is just a great tool for helping to improve it temporarily or keep it at bay.
Dr. Grant Stevens
IPL is effective, but a series of treatments is needed
IPL usually works very nicely at making uneven skin tones (dyschromia) more even. It also works very well for typical sun and aging spots (lentigos).
A series of treatments is needed. We usually recommend a series of 3 treatments separated by 4-6 weeks.
As with any treatment to improve the appearance of the skin, it is essential to protect against additional ongoing sun damage. That means daily sunscreen, hat, sunglasses...
Mark Lucarelli, MD, FACS
Are Multiple Treatments Necessary with IPL?
Hello Mary. Most laser and light based treatment programs require multiple treatments for optimal results. As some of the other practitioners have pointed out, there is a certain amount of uncertainty with any laser and light based treatment program and using settings on the first treatment that have as much to do with safety as they do with efficacy is a prudent approach.
The number of treatments you will require depends on what you are treating. Spots are different than small facial veins are different from large pores. Finally, because we have 10 different lasers in our facility, we tend to choose a laser rather than IPL so that we treat the condition indicated with a laser technology specifically designed for that condition. An IPL is a generic device and often cannot address more difficult skin conditions such as Rosacea, birthmarks, freckles etc. as easily as lasers can.
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No improvement after one IPL
Remember that the first treatment is 50% efficacy and 50% safety. We have to determine a safe setting to start with so we tend to be conservative when we first start treating you. Treatments with minimal downtime often require multiple applications in order to achieve your end result. IPL is still our most popular procedure in the office
Second, third, and even fourth IPL treatments allow stronger settings.
It's not that second and third IPL treatments are necessary, but it is common and expected that your first treatment may yield mild results. Patients are often disappointed in the lack of dramatic improvement, but it's important to know that once settings are shown to be safe, the IPL treatments can get more dramatic with more visible results on the way. Don't give up, but do tell your dermatologist or plastic surgeon that you feel the results were mild and you are prepared to go further.
IPL usually requres a number of treatments
The first treatment is usually not only to treat but also to see how your skin responds to light treatment, so the settings on the first are normally conservative. Settings that are too high can cause side effects like burns.
Usually IPL requires 2-4 treatments. Plus you need to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent re-acquiring the pigmentation and dilated blood vessels.
If you don't see any difference following IPL, it is likely that you did not have enough power on the IPL your first session. Sometimes, providers will be conservative on your first session as they do not know how your skin will react. I would recommend you return to your physician for a second session so that he/she may try your IPL with a higher power setting. Now, brown spots, etc. will dissappear following IPL but will return each your following a dose of the summer sun.
Don't give up--IPL requires multiple treatments
I always counsel patients that IPL treatments should be considered as a "series," meaning multiple treatments are necessary. For pigmentation disorders, such as solar lentigines (sun spots) and melasma, often one treatment offers noticeable improvement, but multiple treatments are necessary to achieve optimum results. In treating vascular orders such as rosacea with IPL, I find that multiple treatments, usually a minimum of three sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart, is required before deciding whether IPL is offering an improvement in the degree of broken blood vessels and background erythema. The added benefit of a series of IPL treatments is that medical literature suggests that collagen formation may be stimulated, in addition to the improvement in sun damage and broken blood vessels.