Left my First IPL Session Severe 2nd Degree Burns, Blisters and Permanently Scarred/hypopigmented Arms - Europe
This procedure is very risky- I know it can give...
- 17 Nov 2010
This procedure is very risky- I know it can give great results, but please think twice before you do this as there is a very real possibility that you will end up looking a lot worse after the procedure than you did before it. At the VERY LEAST, make sure to do a test patch on your skin before you do the full treatment. If your skin is even slightly "olive" toned- think twice!
I researched my clinic well (or so I thought), but still got burned. This was my first session, so to be safe I decided to try it on my arms instead of my face (I cringe when I think what my face might look like today). My sister had done this many times on her face and arms and never had a problem, so I felt optimistic. The procedure was painful, but not enough to ring any alarm bells - I think maybe the area was overly numb, because we started late & I had anesthesia on my arms for over an hour before the doctor actually started the session. Post-procedure the nurse put a healing balm on my arms and that's when the pain became so unbearable that I could hardly speak. When I told her that I needed some strong painkiller because I was going to go out of my mind with the pain, all she said was that it was normal, that the first day was the worst. I took a strong ibuprofen and left. About 4 hrs later I took off the bandage and was horrified to see that the skin was covered with extensive dark brown laserhead marks (small rectangles) and hundreds of blisters, some of them very large. Some parts of the skin pulled away entirely when I took off the bandages, as well.
I was very frightened and called the clinic. The doctor had the nerve to tell me over the phone that she was off for the rest of the weekend and would have to wait until Monday to see me! But then she changed her mind, probably fearing a lawsuit. She drained the blisters and put a cream on them but acted like it was not such a big deal & like it would all be fine within a few weeks. She said that it was because my arms had been slightly tanned (which is not true; my arms are naturally a bit dark as I'm slightly olive toned). She did NOT refer me to a dermatologist or tell me to use an antibiotic/antibacterial ointment on them, which is EXTREMELY important on burns as your skin barrier has broken down and can no longer protect you from deadly bacteria, viruses etc. (this is why 80% of all burn victim deaths are from infection). In a daze, I went home wanting to believe her. But the next day I came to my senses and went to the hospital, where I was told that these were superficial and deep 2nd degree burns and that I needed to keep them bandaged and covered with antibiotic cream for at least 2 weeks. A couple of weeks later the skin had all fallen off, revealing pink new skin that contrasted strongly with my original skin all around. I thought maybe I'd start to heal, but for some reason I then developed a several dermatitis, which was even worse than the original burn in some ways. Both arms swelled up & were covered with hives-like rash and oozing tight blisters (like spider bites). The itching was almost unbearable. Every time I took off the bandages and looked at my mutilated skin I started crying- it was horrible.
It took 2 weeks for the dermatitis to "heal" into the zebra-striped skin that I now have (generally smooth, but with a few small scars). I can't wear anything but long sleeves, can't swim or work out without noticing all eyes on me, am constantly having to slather extreme sun protection on my arms. Have seen 4 different dermatologists and have been told by all not to expect the new skin to re-pigment to match with the rest of my skin. I am still coming to terms with the long-term implications of this.
I will upload photos soon.