Very Comfortable Experience, Now Have Permanent Damage.. - New York, NY

Let me put this out there, I made it to 3 out of 4...

Let me put this out there, I made it to 3 out of 4 ipl sessions. It was a very comfortable experience, no stinging, no burns, no rubber band snapping sensations, the office was great. Explained worse case scenario it may not work, best case scenario skin will look great. I browned on my sun spots, flaked, and they fell off just like I was told. My face looked great...due to microswelling.

On my 4th session, I was scheduled after July of 2010. I didn't show up. Reason being, I began to notice drastic changes to my face, cheeks losing plumpness, dry skin, strange scars just showing up, wrinkles developing, orange peel texture skin, odd creasing. I went in for sunspots, I came out with serious damage. I'm a victim and I didn't have any initial reaction.

If you decide that ipl is the best for you, take your own pre ipl pictures, and post ipl pictures once a month for a year. And please keep posting and updating, it will help people make more educated decisions once they have all the knowledge about ipl and lasers.

Do you think a facelift could fix it?
ha! lololol, who knows. but compared to what liked before the damage, i dont see how a face lift couldnt help...but im only 37 now, so im going to wait till i hit 40 and think about it.
Hi, I've read a few stories on this and I think I won't do it now because a few people have said that they felt like their skin got much worse after IPL. On a side note, have a look into something called Mebo, it has a skin restore cream and it's supposed to be ground breaking. I work in a pharmacy and I really think it might help!

3 Ipls in 6 weeks. This picture shows what...

3 Ipls in 6 weeks. This picture shows what happened to me in less than a two month period. I never made it to the 4th, because I noticed the difference immediately after the swelling went down after my 3rd treatment.

Hope everything will be okay. Do you have before pictures?
Hello Lola,
I wish I did. My skin was smooth. Unfortunately, because I was explained it wasn't laser and this was just an easy process with virutally no side affects (other than being burned or not burned by someone using the wrong settings, or hypopigmentation-that I was told), it never occured to me to take a picture prior. I wish I had.
Hey Britt!
Thanks for remembering, that's crazy!?! lol.
The derm acknowledged that she has been experiencing clientele that go through ipl/laser and because a common side affect is meslasma,also increase in acne production, but she can't verify that with studies. she's seeing an increase number of patients coming as a side affect of post treatment. Also, her pa who once practiced ipl/laser on her patients, and was at my visit with her, did acknowledge that technologies are changing so rapidly that she no longer can feel safe providing laser/ipl because it's too confusing. The office does offer laser, but the derm will refer out because she herself does not practice either.
At this time, shes going to help treat my post ipl melasma with topical medication, I'll be back in 8 weeks, and from there we'll start working on the scarring. Oh my, what a mess.... there are two sides to everything, but I feel better, at least I know I'm not crazy and this was more than coincidence.
Thanks for thinking of me:)

I found a link that I would like to know if I can...

I found a link that I would like to know if I can post here, not only have we seen the positives on laser and ipls, but I don't think there is enough resources showing the negatives other than the our personal experiences. It doesn't highlight any practices, etc, but it is a very useful link so that those considering have as much information upfront as possible. Hope this is okay to post ... kl2005.pdf

Thank you so much senrei!
I've heard people have had good experiences, but I'm so doubtful. IPL and laser can make melasma worse because the heat triggers the skin into developing melanin in order to protect itself from injury, so although it temporarily takes away what a person currently has, months later it can bring to the surface new areas and the same spots. I'm glad your derm said this. There are very few, if any docs, from reveiws I've read, that own up to this as a natural occuring and common side effect. Because then, what would be the point in offering the treatment to begin with? I'm happy in your decision to stay clear for now:).
Hi- Sorry to see you had such a bad experience with IPL. I was researching and considering after reading so much hype about it. I did visit a dermatologist a couple years back requesting a photofacial and she checked me out and told me she could not do it in good conscience because I was prone to Melasma (which at the time I didn't have, but sure enough later surfaced) and that Photofacial would worsen it. This is confusing because it is often marketed as treatment for this type of hyperpimentation. I hope that you find a treatment to help subside the damage done. Best wishes and thanks for informing us!
Hey Kat,
No worries. The derm has me on bleach-ease 6% hydroquinone for my dark spots. They do seem a little lighter, and the shadow has improved. But hydroquoine has its share of controversies, so I would look that up. Prior to ipl, although it would take a couple weeks, I loved using clinques even better, my dark spots were only blemishes from acne a pimple here or there going away. But I thought I could speed up things by going for an ipl, boy was I wrong. Best of luck;)

Interesting study on ipl and oxidative...

Interesting study on ipl and oxidative stress:

Unfortunately, regulation on how and who can operate lasers is up for scrutiny, and does not have to be provided by just doctors/nurses. Estheticians can as well, and anyone that can take courses from the laser companies themselves will receive certification to operate. FDA here only means clearence that these lasers can operate under the guide of what they advertise to do, but state to state regulations vary widely. A medispa (medical/spa clinic that offers facials, microderm, etc.)can be owned and contracted by medical staff without the medical staff having to be present in operating these devices to patients. If you look at many doctor sites, the instructions to stay out of the sun are usually much longer than the average 3 days, more like a month or up to 6 months. Many, if not most providers state that acne, roseca, etc. have better outcomes with laser treatments vs. topical only. Sessions between treatments vary on the laser and protocal. Average is 2 to 4 weeks between sessions.
But since you have a solid understanding of how you operate your lasers, then I'm sure your patients will have full confidence in you and they will have great outcomes. Unfortunately, not all providers understand the possibility of laser outcomes until its too late, and that's usually at the expense of the patient.
am sorry to hear this happened to u i'm an egyptian doctor & am currently practicing dermatology i also undergo laser sessions for hair removals .. i've had around 7 sessions on my face & 1 IPL in between .. & from my experience i can tell it's safe & good but i didnt understand what are the "medspas" u were talking about lasers & IPL treatments are only to be used at trusted clinics on the hand of an expert doctor/nurse & both the doctor & clinic has to be licensed to apply lasers on patient.. the type of machine they are using is very important also it has to be a good expensive one .. u have to be instructed that u should stay away from the sun for 3 days after the treatment unless u apply a really good & strong sun block .. also patients are to wait no less than 3 _4 weeks between two sessions !! " u said you had 3 in 6 weeks & that's really weird" if you use a good machine at a good doctor & follow the instructions probably nothing will happen to u also ipl & laser treatments are to be used with caution in darker skin types & are not for patients having acne or strong pigmentation still there is no paper or studies relating your condition to laser or IPL treatments but i can strongly ensure you it's either the place was not worth your money they were not specialized in this kind of treatment or other scenario that this was a coincidence i cant be sure which scenario i have no idea about laser treatments in south africa but that's my Medical background & personal experience ..
Thank you for that information Calvin! I'm going to look into it. My melasma could be worse, but it sort of feels stagnant, don't know how much my current rx is helping out. And if you run into any scar treatment recipes, let me

Recently, I came across some information that I...

Recently, I came across some information that I thought might be helpful. IPL is non-ablative, and reaches the dermis. The dermis, when heated, can retain the heat from ipl and cause 2nd to 3rd degree burns, even if you feel no pain during your session. The dermis can not regenerate itself. Once it is destroyed, the appearence of skin will become lax, leathery, and lose elasticity because the structure holding it up, the dermis, has been compromised. Any swelling that feels hot to the touch, and lasts for more then several hours after the ipl session, has to be immediately looked at by a burn center for evaluation. Often, because the dermis retains heat for hours or days, blistering does not need to be present in order to be indicative of a dermis 2nd degree or 3 degree burn. I wish I had known this, and had more common sense to contact a burn center immediately after my experience. My skin felt hot for 3days, but I was told that was the normal "sunburn" reaction. Any doctors on this forum care to comment?

I just had my first IPL. They advertise that its good for sun spots ect. After my appointment the nurse sold me a Med lite laser treatment for hyper pigmentation (sun spots) would remove them. That day my skin felt hot, turned red, puffy, and blotchy. Stayed that way for 3 days. What happened to no down time? Feeling and looking better today. Just called to cancel my next appointment and get my $ back ( they made me pre pay for my next apt?) the nurse said that all those side effects are normal. Furthermore, she tried to talk me into keeping my next appt. Still dont know if they will refund my $ I feel hustled, and may review them on Yelp.

Go to a derm right away if you can and get biafine, if you can't, order biafine cream from amazon, its 60 bucks but it will bring decrease your inflammation and help minimize any scarring. Do what you can to stay out of the sun for a few months and let your skin heal. No prodding, poking, scrubs, etc. The fibers are laying down and you want to make sure they lay down right. They should refund your money because it's a service that has not been rendered. You can tell them you're going to file a complaint with the Office of Professional Misconduct, contact the BBB, and their medical director if you don't get the refund on the service you haven't had. Stick to basic cleansers, and up drinking water since your skin is more dehydrated. AMp up your vitamin intake, etc. Arnica may be good for your inflammation if you can't get biafine fast enough. Cool your skin down, no weather extremes, and keep a humidifier (a cheapy works) in your room while you sleep. All these things are obviously suggestions, but I wish someone would have told me this. I wish you the best in healing:).

The more research I do, the more I understand the...

The more research I do, the more I understand the cosmetic laser industry. To find out more information about the laser you are researching, I would encourage you to look under the laser's annual report filings, known as the 10-K form. "We have modified some of our products without FDA clearance. The FDA could retroactively decide the modifications were improper and require us to cease marketing and/or recall the modified products." That's just a small blurb from one of the annual findings, do all your research and determine whether you trust the laser company you're looking into.
I think ipl is a very individual experience, and there is no real common denomenator among how patients will react. I literally had no burning, bruising, etc. They assessed my skin type and used a moderate setting. And here I am now, seeing my skin hasn't improved and it took an incredible toll on my skin and it's firmness. In a matter of weeks my skin changed before me, and my friends and coworkers commented thinking I was not well. I haven't improved other than my oil glands are producing oil again and my skin is not parched, but the texture remains and the firmness is gone. I truly don't believe its a risk worth taking. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy:(.
I was considering IPL for treatment of a few spots of broken caps on my face but after reading these reviews on what damage this can do to your face not sure I want to take that chance!!
I feel so bad for you girls that are having to endure this trauma...I couldn't imagine how it must feel.
I have worked SUPER hard at improving my almost 41 year old face over the last 4 years...and it has made such a dramatic turn around. I would hate to lose what I have accomplished.
Question for you and perhaps to the other girls that have gone through this who may read you think the damage is due to operator error/lack of skill & training and not the actual IPL? Or do you think it is a case of IPL not being for everyone...
I'm just amazed as I have seen/heard of many happy customers with IPL.
Yes I am ok the pigmentation has practically disappeared but in hindsight make up always covered it and it wasn't really bad , vanity I guess ! With the possibility of the orange peel effect on my skin in 2 yrs time , I would never undergo this again or advise anyone to do it from reading the above , thanks girls !

Please check this site out, this isn't just a...

Please check this site out, this isn't just a "lunchtime procedure." This is a forum where opthomologists are discussing patients that have been treated after ipl created damage to their eyes.
Wow, this is my skin exactly but more on side then the other and mine was from fraxel.Its crazy whats taking place. i was looking for a treatment to reverse damage & came across this.

This all started from bad plastic surgery the dr tried to fix what he did wrong & now made it worse. Such a long story but now he wants to do Ultherapy and I am so scared.
amazing information, i hate to be so extreme but i wish for no one to do lasers at this point for comsmetic treatments.
"Lasers are single wavelength devices with absorption coefficients relatively specific to the chromophores they are intended to target. Intense Pulsed-light (IPL) devices expose the patient to a broader spectrum of light energy defined by cut-off filters, typically in the range of 600-1200 nm. The fact that lasers and IPL devices may target multiple chromophores allow these products to be marketed as being capable of treating a variety of conditions in addition to hair removal, including treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions, warts, wrinkles, and even acne.

Since no two lasers or IPL devices have identical operating parameters (i.e., wavelength, fluence, pulse duration, spot size, or epidermal cooling methodologies), the performance levels of these products differ substantially. In particular, the comparative results of lasers and IPL devices vary greatly

While IPL devices are marketed for a variety of treatment applications, their performance levels are inferior to lasers, particularly in hair removal. Further, IPL needlessly exposes patients to some unnecessary and/or ineffective wavelengths of radiation and are lacking, by definition, the purity of treatment available with a single-wavelength laser.

Specifically, IPL hair removal treatments resulted in an increased frequency of complications and offered overall inferior results when compared to laser hair reduction.

Based on the experience at the Cleveland Clinic, they have ceased using IPL devices in their department due to the inconsistency of response between patients and even between sessions on the same patient. Another reason for the cessation of IPL use was the unacceptably high complication rates. At the Cleveland Clinic, they had far more adverse skin reactions (usually minor and transient, but occasionally serious) from IPLs than from any laser system."

Does anyone know about the Cleveland Clinic not doing IPL's anymore? I found this article interesting then I called....NOPE, no more IPL's.

An update: Texture the same, has not improved,...

An update: Texture the same, has not improved, skin lax, leathery, jowly, with the same bumps and linear scarring. The hydroquoine was increased to 8% for me, and has done wonders in helping keep my skin uniform in color. I'm still doing my chemical peels every 6 weeks for pigment, and have an appointment to go in for my 3rd visit for tca cross in dented/ice pick scars. So far I haven't seen any noticable change with the latter, but I'm giving it about a year before I stop with the tca cross and give an updated review on my outcome.

just had IPL done today - didn't check this website until after the fact! I just hope I come out of this okay, but reading comments makes me uneasy. 2 hours after treatment have some redness. Will see what happens next

It doesn't sound like there is much consistently in how these lasers operate. I spoke with an esthetician this past week about an IPL laser and all she would tell me is that she doesn't do them anymore and had to send her laser machine back because it wasn't operating correctly.

Nearing my 2 year anniversary since my Ipl...

Nearing my 2 year anniversary since my Ipl disasters. Unfortunately, my skin never bounced back and neither did my contours, and now I am looking into fillers and even considering fat grafting at age 35. I have more crepey skin texture and linear scarring than ever. I can only imagine it getting worse with normal aging, never in a million years did I consider light therapy to be so destructive.
Thanks to everyone for posting their experiences. I unfortunately did IPL and had enlarged pores, premature aging, tough skin (scar tissue forming underneath), bumps, all within two weeks of a treatment. What is helping is facial rejuvenation acupuncture. I've had one session so far and my skin texture has somewhat improved and my skin feels more pliable. Also, for those of you with an open mind, Reiki. I have been doing daily treatments on myself and had a treatment from a friend who does Reiki. My skin has more of a "glow" and the pore size is shrinking. I quit using retin A because it wasn't helping my skin and I read in the reviews after IPL, it does not help your skin. I also have started using my clarisonic brush again so my natural products can absorb more easily into my skin. I woud not recommend IPL for anyone. The risks are not worth it.
o - and to add - my skin is looking like the last pic u posted. i find that intensive moisturising mask helps with the skin a lot (as apparently it looked like this as its severely dehydrated).. but the effects are not lasting for me...
Hi - thank u for your post.i hoped u are better now.. i was so close to signing up for IPL when i came across your blog. I could empathise with how u are feeling. i have ethnic skin and had really good supple skin till a few years ago - i have gone to dermatologists after dematologists- and had them telling me my increasingly leathery looking and blotchy skin is a) ezcema, b) rosecea c) seborrhic dematistis. none of the expensive skincare/ oral supplements they prescribed made my skin back to its original state. i dunno - perhaps it was chemical peeling i did in my youth that made me skin a lot thinner and sensitive? i was hoping that the IPL photofacial could be the cure as i read somewhere that perhaps my skin needs a jumpstart to start its collagen production state again. still searching for a cure... if u have any product/ cosmetic / dcotor referral (i am also in NY) - would u kindly share with me? thx

It has been about 5 months since I posted, and I...

It has been about 5 months since I posted, and I can't help but be vocal about how destructive this can potentially be and how scary and mind blowing the gamble is with lasers, from ipl to fraxel. The changes have been continuously downward. I avoid mirrors so I can get out of the house and function like a normal person, because once I see myself I still cant get over the fact that I dont recognize my lumpy and scratched up skin and my features. I did a series of peels, and to this day I can say the pigment luckily stayed uniform. But the textural damage just keeps getting worse, and its embarrasing to smile or laugh because right from under my eyes down to the corners of my mouth, my skin bunches up in raised scars with roped thick lines and squiggles. I am thankful tje damage happened to me at 33, I had already had my son, my job was secure, and i had and have an amazing circle of friends and family who knew me before, and dont judge me based on what I look like now. I feel awful knowing there are teenagers, young adults, or just regular people that may suffer from acne, post acne scarring, rosacea, or other skin conditions and professionals are dupying them every day into thinking this can help, pretending it is a consistant, well understood, and regulated practice. It's not, it's a crapshoot, where some people make it through feeling good and others are getting disfigured. It's not worth the gamble, the technology is not well understood. I came in with a clean face, oily, a couple of sunspots I simply didnt want to wait out as usual for them to go away on their own, and it's been a night and day
experience. And i learned strangers, employers, etc., absolutely treat me differently based on what my skin and face look like. It has been an incredibly surreal journey, and I still cant figure out exactly what the life lesson was for me here if there was one.
I am one month post ill/pixel treatment with the same scary results of orange peel texture, fine line wrinkling and multiplemwhite bumpsnappearing all over my face in the dermal layer. Went back to doctor who did the laser and he dismissed me saying all of the above was just my skins way of healing. He said it would all disappear 3 mos post laser. I thought he was full ofmit so I went tosee my derm/plastic surgeon who suggested photodynamic therapy. Has any one heard of it and it's possible results/ side effects? I am desperate!!!
Hi - I had IPL laser done as well, and suffer from the exact same damage now. I use a mixture of coconut oil and hemp oil mix and put it on my face after I shower, also not sure if you have really heard of juicing or have ever been interested in it but you should look into it. It truly is incredible what whole foods can do for your body and skin. NO supplements - just organic raw whole foods- juicing is an easy way to achieve this kind of diet. My skin is getting better, well it seems. Hope this helps.
Jaguar333, I do eat lots organic fruits and veggies. Is this a 30 day cleanse or something you drink daily? Are you following something you read? Thanks

I just wanted to update, almost 3 years out in May...

i just wanted to update, almost 3 years out in May of this year since my initial ipl treatments. Skin just keeps nosediving, its pretty gross. I wouldnt do it again and i dont recommend it. ill be 36 this march, my sons friend called me a Thats what i look like, eww.
Thank you for trying to help others and your bravery!! I myself was damaged by laser treatment couple months ago. I now have orange peel texture, large holes on skin and aged fast! I been trying to go a healthy route on skin, but its difficult when you experience this. I would take back the mild acne scarring versus what I have today. I am wishing you the best and know you are not alone!
I am so sorry to hear of your devastating experience! I was reading through your blog out of interest for a dear friend that just had 3 of the sessions done. SHe contacted me as I work for the world recognized doctors, Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields. These are the doctors that created ProActive. They now have an anti aging skin care line called Rodan & Fields that is changing peoples skin and changing their life - the products are clinically proven to provide better results than one would get in the doctor's office at a cost that is less expensive than other anti aging products. THey have a 60 day empty bottle money back guarantee if you don't get the results you anticipated. My email is Currently the products are only available in the US as the company is expanding quickly into to Canada, then Asia and then into other countries. It will be bigger than ProActive! I look forward to hearing from any of you and hope that we can support your skin care needs following such a horrible experience. Wishing you a great day!
I went thru the same exact thing, I just want to add that I did dermabrasion with recell in England, only because I unfortunately have rocasea, which really helped, I also discover PRP injections which did wonders for me, google it and read up on it. Right now I an using Papaya soap which is Kojic acid to help lighten the hyperpigmentation and Glycolic acid 8% with Phytic acid from a company in the UK, the phytic acid and glycolic acid is awesome, it actually repaired my face, the leathery look and open pores have disappeared, I still have a few pin holes on my left cheek, which was the worst, but it's not as bad, actually getting better. Hope this helps for all you guys out there that is going thru the horrors of laser burns and scars.

Interesting, the office staff was incredibly lovely, acted as if they were fully knowledgable and advertise on their website that they have the expertise on "ethnic skin." They answered all my questions with absolute confidence. They didn't rush me, spent time with me, and then followed up with me because I didn't show up to the 4th treatment. But here's the kicker, they either are in denial, or know nothing about the real term side affects of ipl. The machine they used was Lumines.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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