3 Days Post IPL: Freckles Are More and Darker - Is This Normal?

Doctor Answers 7

Yes, you have had a good treatment.

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It usually takes about ten days for these freckles to come off. Wear a big hat and sun block to protect from the sun while you are healing.

Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Fine crusting and darkening of sun spots is normal after IPL

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Fine crusting and darkening of sun spots is normal after IPL. You will probably have a very nice result, with removal of most of your freckles and sun spots. However, It is important at this time to follow strict sun avoidance, use a good moisturizer twice daily and not to pick any of the crusts.

It is totally expected that your freckles are darker for several days after IPL.

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This type of info is probably in your consent or other paperwork, and it is totally expected.  Freckling is darker for a several days after IPL (often 3-7 days). Sometimes new freckles even become more apparent during this timeframe. This is all because the target for the IPL device is pigment. With continued treatments (often 3 or +), this darkening is less prominent each time, and there is less target pigment each session. Sunprotection is essential, and also ask your doc about Rx products that can help with pigment correction--as studies show that these can be synergistic with IPL for lentigines.

Joel L. Cohen, MD
Greenwood Village Dermatologic Surgeon

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Freckles darker after IPL

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Yes, this is the response you want to see with IPL treatment, a disruption of the melanin containing cells, the melanocyctes. It appears almost like a small scab and flakes off with in a few days. Your doctor should of advised you regarding this!

John H. Hunts MD, PhD
Eugene Oculoplastic Surgeon


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Yes, this is normal. This skin response is commonly referred to as microcrusting and is an anticipated outcome as the result of an effective IPL treatment. The freckles and other sun damage that are present will continue to darken, raise and then flake off within 7-14 days. Do not attempt to pick or exfoliate the skin during the first two weeks post treatment. Use a gentle cleanser, light moisturizer and SPF 50. A follow up treatment, such as a microderm(at least 2 weeks post IPL treatment), is an excellent way to enhance your results once the darkened areas have flaked. Also, a series of IPL treatments will offer you optimal results.

It is normal

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Darkening of the freckles is normal after IPL. It actually means that you had a very effective treatment and the results should be great. It may take 7-10 days before your skin gets back to normal. You may use some bleaching creams to speed up the lightening process and try to exfoliate by doing a microdermabrasion or a mild chemical peel.

Yes darker freckles are normal after an IPL procedure.

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When treating pigmented lesions, such as photodamage, the light is absorbed by the melanin making up the brown spot.  The body's natural processes work to get rid of the damaged tissue, revealing more youthful looking skin after about a week.  Make sure not to pick at the spots, they will flake off like coffee grounds for about 7-14 days after your treatment.

Looks like you are going to have a great result from your IPL treatment.  Make sure to protect your skin from the sun while your skin heals.

Jenny O. Sobera, MD
Birmingham Dermatologic Surgeon

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.