In August 2013, a month after I turned 28, I was...
In August 2013, a month after I turned 28, I was convinced by a medical esthetician with 14 years of experience to try IPL for some mild hormonal acne (which was temporary anyway btw..) and some mild sun damage (mostly freckles). I had very good skin overall and generally started visiting her for some mild facials and pore cleaning since my skin was breaking out more than usual that summer. She was recommended by a friend and was very kind and attentive, so I strongly doubt that she was trying to make money off of me, I truly think that she just believed that IPL was the permanent solution to my problem as the facials weren't doing much (she even gave me a significant discount on the treatments). I asked her to use the lowest settings possible, as I wasn't sure how my skin was going to respond and she did one treatment over my entire face and another one just underneath my jawline because that's were the acne was the most prominent. After the IPL, I started to notice that my skin got rougher and had a weird feel/look to it. There was also a lot of inflammation/irritation for almost 2 weeks (if not more), which seemed to come and go - I used some chamomile teabags and oatmeal to sooth the skin, so that helped a little. Then, I started to notice that my skin developed a bizarre lined texture that some of the women on this forum describe (I don't want to post pix atm as this experience has been traumatic enough, I don't want people that I know to see them - although I might upload some later that don't really show my full face). I have never seen anything like this weird new skin structure - there were lines going across my entire face and crinkling on the apples of my cheeks (especially the part located closer to the nasolabial folds - which I have now developed after the IPL). Things have pretty much been downhill since then. Although my face is no longer bright red from all the inflammation, I have a thousand holes, indentations, wrinkles and hollows all over my face. I also have large indentations (more like hollows in several areas on my cheeks) which resemble the shape of the IPL machine that can be seen under certain lighting (but I have never developed brown, crusty burn marks that some people describe on here), and those large indentations/hollows are filled in with tons of cracks, large pores and small indents. I went form having completely seamless skin without a single large pore to having some crazy scarring that no one seems to know how to treat. But wait, that's not even the worst part... the worst part in this whole ordeal is the fat loss or atrophy caused by this horrendous device. The strangest thing is that I have read a ton of posts confirming that people have had fat loss after IPL (& lasers) and there is even some academic literature out there on the subject, but doctors continue to deny the fact that these machines cause this type of damage. I wasn't expecting my face to melt away in the past few months, yet looking at the pictures a few days before the IPL and comparing them to my pictures now, I can see a huge difference (and no, I did not lose weight - I have actually gained weight). My face became gaunt and for the first few months after the damage I had a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror (now I sort of got used to it, although I am still devastated..) I used to have beautiful round cheeks which made me look like a teenager... When people had to guess my age, they always assumed I was at least 5 years younger, and now I look like I am 40 even though I am only 28. A girl serving me at a coffee shop (about my age) called me 'mam' the other day. This whole 'mam' thing started after the damage, before I was always addressed as a 'miss' and I used to get ID'ed at the liquor store and bars all the time (the legal drinking age is 19 in Canada btw) - that obviously doesn't happen anymore.. I am thinking of getting a fat transfer in a couple of years (after I completely heal from the damage and will be able to take time off work), but some of the reviews regarding this procedure scare the crap out of me as well. Having gone through what I went through, it's really hard to trust anyone else with my face. At the same time, the life has been sucked out of my face and my youth was literally stolen from me by this horrible machine and I really want to do something about it.. I can't believe that I am reading the same stories from people who suffered from this damage back in 2008 and these machines are still around - if they were banned back then, I wouldn't be in this situation today. I was severely depressed for a good 4 months, and thankfully, just recently I started to find hope, but much of it resides in the fact that I will one day be able to get a fat transfer and that the texture of my skin will get better with time. I know some people say it gets worse with time, but I have seen some minor improvements in some parts of my face (at least where the damage is less severe). I've narrowed it down to using sesame oil to remove my make up (can't use cleansers, they irritate my skin), using a Kiehl's microdermabrasion scrub (if you decide to use it, be very gentle - build up your tolerance, and don't use on extremely dry skin - can cause more damage than good), Yonka's hyaluronic acid serum, and going to a steam room regularly. Also, I started doing this several months after the damage - you don't want to start "treating" it too soon or you'll make it worse.. All these have helped a little, but this damage is like nothing I have ever seen before - it's very resistant to treatment (although I haven't tried anything harsh to treat it, I read that many people who have tried TCA chemical peels, etc. had a hard time getting rid of this horrid texture). Anyways, this is my sad story - just another victim of the cosmetic industry. If anyone has any suggestions in terms of finding the right fat grafting surgeon or if anyone has been successful in treating the crazy lined laser/IPL damage-type texture, please comment below. I really hope that this review will help someone. If I had known that this "lunch-time" procedure can lead to such devastating consequences, I would have never, ever let this device touch my face...
Decided to add some photos
13 Mar 2014
7 months post
Sorry for hiding my face, but as I mentioned I was traumatized enough by this experience, really don't want people I know seeing my photos on here and recognizing me. Although the damage is obvious, I prefer not to talk about it too much, except for the people that I am closer with. As you can see from the pix, my face is totally flat and deflated - hard to believe that about half a year ago, I had chipmunk cheeks and looked like a teen. You can pick up on the textural damage from the pix, but it is not very clear as all of my pix are taken by a phone camera, which tends to automatically blend things out. It actually looks worse in real life. Hope these prevent people from getting this horrendous treatment..
please watch this
18 Apr 2014
8 months post
I think it's very important for people considering IPL to watch this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ikR4m9XhmY - it talks about 100s of cases of IPL and laser burns being investigated. As for my experience - I have stated before: the individual that used the IPL on me had 14 years of experience, she also used the lowest setting, so although experience can be a factor, I think it depends on a lot of other factors and not necessarily your skin type - as I was technically the "perfect candidate" for this procedure - white, fair skin, etc. Please be careful or you may be very sorry - having to live with the damage for the rest of my life after having nearly perfect skin before this happened is really horrible.. I know others that went through this will agree with me
A couple of more videos
2 Jun 2014
10 months post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUzcIaSMwkY - I know she is promoting her program, but honestly, I could have used something like this in the beginning stages of my damage. At least she acknowledges that we are damaged and that we are not obsessed with our looks. I have always been the 'low maintenance' type. I do believe in a healthy lifestyle and exercise, but knew very little about cosmetic treatments before this happened to me. After this damage, I became obsessed with the way my skin and face look. It's a bad spot to be in, but I hope these videos help anyone going through this.