My Skin is Very Red and Patchy on my Face Would IPL or Laser Resurfacing Be Best Option?

My complexion is very uneven and it makes me look unhealthy. How effective is IPL and how long do the results last? I also have bad acne scars and lines around my eyes. I am aware laser resurfacing would help. Would the laser resurfacing also help to even out my complexion and would that mean there is no need for the IPL? If so what would be the best laser (as there seems so many)for scars, wrinkles and also to even the tone of the skin on my face?

Doctor Answers (4)

Fraxel Dual can help lines, acne scars and pigmentation

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If you are interested in resurfacing the skin and helping even out the pigmentation, then Fraxel Dual, laser resurfacing with both the 1550 and 1927nm. wavelengths can help in a few treatments.  Granted, wrinkles that are overlying muslces that move would be better suited to be treated by Botox, but acne scars and other wrinkles can be treated by the Fraxel Restore 1550nm. laser. This requires usually multiple treatments, every few weeks. There is redness, some swelling and bronzing, but makeup can be applied immediately and most people don't need to curtail their social functions.   The 1927nm. component of the Fraxel Dual laser, helps even out the pigmentation.  This wavelength creates some slight bronzing and flaking of the skin for up to 7 days.  Makeup will not hide such flaking and can make it look worse. But this laser can treat all conditions you're discussing.


Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Fractional Laser Resurfacing and IPL for patchy red skin with acne scars, wrinkles.

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For significant improvement of the wrinkles, acne scarring as well as the patchy, red skin you describe, your best option is a combination of fractional laser resurfacing and IPL.

At our practice, we have found good results with treating first with ActiveFX or TotalFX fractional laser resurfacing to help  acne scarring, wrinkles, textural irregularities and brown spots, followed by one to three IPL treatments to resolve redness. 

Anifat Balogun, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon

Laser resurfacing for wrinkles -- IPL for skin color

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The blotchy skin that you describe can be treated with IPL.  Most patients require around 4-6 treatments spaced about 1 month apart.  Following this series, most patients results will last around 12-18 months depending upon sun exposure, acne, rosacea, smoking and nutrition. 

IPL does not help acne scars or wrinkles.  Laser resurfacing with either erbium or CO2 lasers is the best treatment for smoothing the skin.  Usually one heavy treatment or 2-3 lighter ones will suffice to smooth the skin. Results from these treatments will last many years.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Lasers for redness and uneven complexion

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It's hard to answer specifically without a photo, but an IPL device or pulsed dye laser usually do help quite a bit to even out redness or blotchy dyspigmentation on the face.  Depending upon the severity, the results may last for quite awhile - a year or more in most cases.  Several treatments are also usually needed for best results with these laser and light devices.  In most cases I prefer a pulsed dye laser for facial redness and an IPL if there is also a lot of uneven pigmentation.  Laser resurfacing is a preferred method if you need more collagen stimulation and treatment of acne scars and wrinkles.  I use the Pixel laser and the Pixel CO2 lasers for these indications.  These resurfacing lasers can also be combined with either IPL or pulsed dye laser(PDL) in the same treatment session to further enhance your results - the IPL or PDL will address the superficial color changes and the resurfacing laser will stimulate collagen and help to fill in lines and depressions.  The combination treatment can often provide for a better result in fewer treatment sessions as well.  Hope this helps.  Good luck.

Jason R. Lupton, MD
San Diego Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.