What Skin Tones are Not Appropriate for IPL?

I am asian. in the country I live there is no photofacial or IPL facilities!so if I want to do any treatment I should go abroad.it needs time and money which i can afford but at frist i should find out whether it is good for my skin or not?my skin is not as dark as the indians nor as white as the chiness.it is paled and a little bit tend to yellow.

Doctor Answers 4

Skin Tones and IPL/ Photofacial

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IPL or Photofacial treatments have been performed successfully on Asian Skin and some skin of color to treat brown spots, and prominent blood vessels. I would be cautious about just signing up for IPL treatments without first consulting with a practitioner who has experience treating the conditions you wish to improve in your skin.

You'll want the consultant to review your skin care concerns, medical history, how your skin has responded to treatments in the past and determine if IPL is the appropriate modality to get you the results you are looking to achieve.

What skin type is inappropriate for IPL?

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The only skin type that cannot be treated with IPL is type VI.

The most important factor in the safety and effectiveness of the procedure is to do accurate skin typing of the patient, not just by visual inspection but by a thorough history and questionnaire.

When the skin type is properly determined, the parameters of the IPL can be set in such a way as to protect the normal skin pigmentation with lower settings as well as cooling the skin during the procedure to minimize adverse events, such as burns or hypo/hyperpigmentation.

Because the light treatment targets pigmentation, it is also extremely important NOT to have sun exposure for four weeks before the treatment, as ultraviolet light increases the background pigmentation of the skin (tan).

To make the results of the IPL treatment more long lasting, sun exposure should be avoided after the procedure, as sun damage is the biggest culprit in causing hyperpigmentation in the first place.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

What does IPL do?

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I think the real question you should be asking is, "What do I need to treat my concerns?"  Maybe IPL isn't even what you need.  What are you trying to treat?  What are your goals?

IPL can be used in Asian skin, but very cautiously.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

IPL for pigmented Skin

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Intense Pulse Light or IPL utilizes a range of light wavelengths in a scattered fashion to treat brown spots, broken blood vessels, and unwanted hair.  A byproduct of IPL is mild stimulation of collagen growth in the skin,  hence the term Photofacial.  It must be used with great care and at low settings for darker skin types (Fitzpatrick III-VI) due to the risk of melanocyte stimulation and transient inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  When I treat patients with greater pigmentation in their skin, I typically start out with a test spot behind the ear to gage the way the skin will respond. Use of hydroquinone for several weeks prior to treatment is advisable for darker skin types.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 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.