Had my second IPL yesterday. Brown stripes on left side. (photo)

First IPL was several months ago with no issues. Had second one yesterday and terrified to leave my house. Hoping this is normal and will slough off soon? The brown stripes are only on the left side and chin.

Doctor Answers 5

Striping After IPL

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Striping after IPL can occur.  Typically this occurs when the settings are too strong, the skin is tan, or the IPL being used is not targeted.  Cryogen lamps (older IPL systems) tend to stripe patients more often based on our practice experience.  Newer IPLs tend to be more focused and powerful in their delivery and are less likely to cause striping.

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 180 reviews

Brown stripes occurring after IPL is temporary

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From the looks of your photos it appears you have gotten a minor burn from your IPL treatment.  This may be a result of more powerful settings or often times this may have happened if your skin was more tan compared to your first treatment; as a result, the same settings would cause more injury to your regular skin.  Regardless, you will need to treat your skin as if you have had a sunburn.  The skin should heal fine and any residual hyperpigmentation should resolve over time.  Sunscreen and skin lighteners may be helpful once the skin has healed.

IPL and Hyperpigmentation - Combination approach with Fraxel and/or microneedling/PRP

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you had a stronger IPL treatment, i suggest the proper skin care, sun protection and post operative skin care to prevent hyperpigmentation.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

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Striping after IPL

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Hi Loanangel,This looks like a normal reaction to IPL, but should be followed by your doctor.  Occasionally it can be post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). I usually prep my patients with a skin lightener like hydroquinone to decrease the risk.  Otherwise, it does appear that this should slough soon   The left side of the face can have a more dramatic reaction since it is usually more sun exposed (drivers side of the face)   
Hope that helps.
Dr. B

Second IPL

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Thanks for the great question and the photo. What you see are some burns from having too much energy delivered from the IPL to your skin. They should improve in time with no long term sequelae. Treat them like any other burn. Keep you skin clean, well moisturized, and make sure to always have on a physical sun block if going into the sun. Best of luck!

David A. Sieber, MD
San Francisco General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 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.