Brown Spots Still Remaining After IPL Therapy, Is this Normal?

I got IPL therapy done a week ago and my skin did darken/pepper like coffee grounds but as the "grounds" are falling of sloughing off, I still see brown pigment. I understand I might need another treatment but I wanted to ask if this was normal and the pigment/spots will continue to fade in the next couple of weeks as my skin cells are turning over? I heard to see full results, it could take a month as our skin cells generate every 28 days, is this correct? Thanks you....

Doctor Answers 2

Brown Spots after IPL

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It's a good sign that you got coffee grounds and that those have been sloughing off. Hopefully what's happening is that the brown pigment that was deeper in the skin is rising up and after your next treatment, that will then go into the coffee ground and sloughing off stage. Like Dr. Taylor said, there are varying types of IPLs and it's important that you are treated at a physician's office in order to have one of the stronger, more effective machines with different treatment options to treat your varying depths of pigmentation. If you've only had one treatment, I'd suggest you follow the guidelines and do another one in 3-4 weeks, as I think some of the brown pigment you see will resolve after that treatment. If you ever have any concerns about post care, you should always be able to contact the office that did your treatment. They should be able to give you specifics on their machine and probably outcomes.

IPL if effective when treating epidermal pigment and less effective on dermal pigment.

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IPL is quite effective for treating epidermal pigment including freckles and lentigenes.  Some pigment is dermal and will respond less effectively to IPL and may require a Q-Switched laser or a long pulse Alexandrite Laser with higher powered pulses to effectively remove these spots.   All IPL's are not equal.   Many of the newer IPL's created for the medispa market are of lower power and have limited pulse options.  These IPL's are not as effective as the older high powered versatile IPL's such as the VascuLight from Lumenis.

Light freckles that are light tan or yellow in color are also more difficult to remove.  Multiple treatments give the best result.  These lighter colored spots may respond better to laser treatment. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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