Why Is There No Difference After 2nd IPL Session?

After my 1st IPL session, I had immediate dark spots that fell off within a week! Great improvement! 4 wks later, at my 2nd IPL session (at another facility), and I see no difference whatsoever. No dark spots, redness or anything. Looks as if I never had the 2nd session. (I don't know the machine names, but the 2nd one was much more painful). I was told that you only typically get dark spots after the 1st session. Is this is normal? Must you get dark spots in order to lighten the sun damage?

Doctor Answers 6

Why Is There No Difference After 2nd IPL Session?

I suggest telling your provider to adjust the laser to a higher setting .

Best of luck

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

IPL Photofacial.

It may be that you had more sun damage when you had your first IPL, it eliminated so much of the sun damage that you didn't notice much change for your second session or the laser needs to be adjusted to a higher setting. You should advise your medical provider to be able to get the best result. 

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

IPL after several sessions

With IPL, the darker spots usually get darker and then come off. For lighter sun damage, the immediate result is often not quite as visible, but the long-term result can still be quite good. Sometimes the energy needs to be increased to get optimal results. There is a pigment regulator on some machines that allows the technician to evaluate the amount of pigmentation on the patient’s skin. Therefore, the energy can be raised safely to the maximum level.

Joseph A. Eviatar, MD, FACS
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 66 reviews


I would recommend that you see the same provider for your treatments.  It may be that the laser settings need to be adjusted.  

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

IPL for brown spots

I recommend seeing the same provider for all of your treatments so that adequate records may be kept and treatment protocols adjusted appropriately.  After your first treatment, your skin is not the same as it was prior to your first treatment and the IPL device settings will need to be adjusted accordingly.  This will often not happen unless you are being treated by a qualified and well trained physician who understands the dynamics involved for optimal treatment.  

Jacque P. LeBeau, MD


Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Improvement after 2nd IPL treatment

There likely IS improvement after your 2nd IPL treatment, although most people find there is diminishing effects and less pain with subsquent treatments as there are fewer lesions (e.g. brown spots - lentigo) left to remove. That said, sometimes the equipment or settings aren't ideal, so make sure you're getting top notch quality and safe care at a medical clinic such as a dermatology office where medical grade (not salon grade) lasers are used. ~ Dr. Benjamin Barankin, Toronto Dermatology Centre.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 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.