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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Activity: 1 post
BEWARE! IPL Can Cause Serious Burns!
on 16 Oct 2010
IPL laser burns story: I guess the original poster may not even be reading this, since two years have passed, but I saw the thread and wanted to share my own IPL burn story. I had IPL done on my face in California a couple of years ago, with great results- some redness and burning immediately after the treatment but NO square laser-head marks at all. Then the next day and for about ten days after that the dark pigmentation marks started to rise and I looked like a chocolate chip cookie before they flaked off & my face looked great. So I was confident that this time would be the same. I chose a very high-end, nationally certified medical center here in Spain, where the person administering the laser is a doctor who has been doing this kind of treatment for over ten years. I should say that I forgot about the consent form & in fact wasn't given it until AFTER the procedure was over, when I stupidly signed it because that's what I would have done if they'd given it to me ahead of time. I was going to do my face but then decided to just start on my forearms (elbow to wrist). When she saw my arms she told the assistant "she's tanned!" & she asked me whether I'd been sunbathing during the past 14 days. I told her that I never sunbathe and in fact try to avoid the sun, but that I tan very easily and had no doubt gotten some color on my arms just from walking around in short sleeves. I said that if it was dangerous to do the treatment with this skin tone then I would definitely wait and do it at a later date, but was told that it would be fine.
The treatment was somewhat painful, but not really any worse than my earlier experience had been, so I wasn't worried until immediately afterwards, during the half-hour "soothing" masque + cortisol treatment, when my arms felt like they'd been pan-fried over an open flame. I was literally in so much pain that I could barely sit without sobbing and could hardly talk to tell the assistant (the doctor left immediately following treatment) that I couldn't stand the pain and needed a stronger topical treatment. There had been pain after my first IPL, of course, but it was much more bearable with the cortisol cream right away (also, the first clinic gave me a frozen gel-back to hold on the area). She joked that "Americans must have a lower pain threshold that we do here" and said that that was all she could do, that it was normal and that I would be able to see the rectangular marks from the laser over the weekend & would be in some pain & feel itchy and uncomfortable, but not to worry. I left the office feeling extremely upset from the pain, which didn't go away for about four hours.
After the pain had gone away, I carefully pushed the gauze bandages down in order to put some hydrating cream on them as instructed. To my horror, both arms were covered not only with the "railroad-like" brown rectangular burn marks, but also were *entirely covered with blisters*- not small ones, either. The largest blisters were a little less than an inch wide. Knowing that blistering is NOT a desired result of IPL, I immediately called the clinic. The doctor initially didn't think there was any need to see me, but then changed her mind when I told her the size and number of the blisters. In the clinic, she pierced the largest ones to remove the water from them and then covered the entire area with a regenerative ointment and then with gauze, repeatedly telling me that I would not have any scars at all, that the reaction was stronger than usual because of my tanned skin but that it would be fine and that I had nothing to worry about. She must have told me that there would be no scarring/marks at least twenty times. She seems to know what she's doing & I would like to believe her, but this seems so completely at odds with what I'm seeing on the internet. My arms look really bad- they are almost entirely covered with dark brown burned skin that has the color and texture of that of a fried sausage. At the moment I'm using rosa mosqueta (rose hips) oil on the burns twice a day, as per her assistant's suggestion, but am thinking that maybe I should be using aloe vera.
If anyone else has had this experience & knows what kinds of treatment will minimize scarring, I'd be very glad to hear your opinion. I'll keep you posted on my progress. At the moment, it's looking like I'll probably be wearing long sleeves for at least three or four months)...