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When Does Peeling Start After Photofacial?

How long does it take for the face to peel after a Photofacial? I got my first one done on Friday and it is now almost Tuesday and my face hasn't peeled at all. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers (11)

Normally there is no peeling after a photo facial


Photo facials consist of IPL treatments of red and brown discoloration of the skin.  The IPL component that treats broken capillaries and diffuse redness just affects the vessels in the dermis, so it should not cause any peeling.

The IPL component that treats brown discoloration does affect the surface of the skin, but what is seen is the pigment initially getting darker, then breaking down into "coffee grounds" type tiny brown spots that eventually are shed from the surface.

So there should not be any peeling after a photo facial.

Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Peeling after a Photofacial


After laser treatments (or IPL) for sun damage, we typically see pigment "flake" off rather than peel off anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks after treatment. "Peeling" is not expected to occur after an photofacial in general and definitely not if facial redness or fine lines were being treated. The only peeling would be the flaking off of age spots and sun damage.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Usually there is no intended peeling with a photofacial


Thank you for your question. In general, a photofacial refers to IPL or other laser treatment of redness, facial vessels, and lentigos/brown spots/photodamage. There is usually no peeling with any of these with the exception that the brown spots may appear darker themselves, and then later flake off. When getting a photofacial, the results are gradual without much downtime or peeling. Peeling after laser procedures is usually seen in ablative fractional and non-fractional resurfacing laser procedures, such as the CO2 or Erbium lasers. In all cases, please speak with your physician about the post-procedure care and expectations.

Don Mehrabi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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No peeling after photofacial

Your face won't peel but it may get red and sometimes swelling can occur as well. Scabs will appear but don't pick them. 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
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Peeling after a photofacial

The face doesn't really "peel" after a photofacial.The brown spots that become darker brown will flake off, but it is not really noticeable peeling. It typically takes 4-7 days for the brown spots to flake off.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
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"Peeling" begins within 3-5 days

Do not expect the type of peeling you would see from a chemical peel. During the treatment, the pigmentation is drawn to the surface and will being to flake off in 3-5 days. 

Laura Skellchock, MD
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IPL should not cause peeling


IPL treatments should not cause peeling.  Instead IPL treatments may cause flaking of the treated area.  This flaking can occur a few days to a week out from treatment.

Sam Naficy, MD
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Photofacial does not cause peeling


Photofacials with intense pulsed light do not cause peeling.  Brown spots turn darker and crispy and flake off in about one week.  Spider veins fade.  The light penetrates into the skin and stimulates collagen but does not affect the surface skin cells, so peeling does not occur.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist
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There is no peeling after photofacial


You can expect peeling after chemical peels or laser resurfacing, but not after Photo facial. Bronzing of the brown pigmentation and darkening of the blood vessels are the most common skin reactions after the IPL. It usually takes 7-10 days for the pigmentation to flake off after the treatment.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
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Photofacial results


It is probably normal. In fact, it is unusual to get peeling after a Photofacial. Frequently, dark spots become darker over the next several days, and then come to the surface and slough off, but there is usually no other peeling.

Stella Desyatnikova, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 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.