Risk of Scarring from IPL After Scabs Fall Off?

The 'scabs' that resulted from IPL treatments have fallen off, but the area is reddish/pinkish. It has been several weeks but the pigmentation has not returned to normal skin color.

Doctor Answers 5

Scarring can occur, but it sounds like your areas are simply healing

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Thank you for your question.

If you experienced crusting of your dark spots from your IPL treatment, then it is perfectly fine that you have some slight pinkish areas where those crusts have flaked off. If you were burned by the IPL treatment, then the pink areas resulting from the scabbing may lead way to some pigmentation changes.

In general, if you experience normal darkening, crusting, and flaking of your dark spots after an IPL treatment, allow these areas to fall off on their own, and "protect them" as long as possible to make sure that they don't fall off too early. This practice will minimize the appearance of pink spots after your crusts fall off.

Good luck!

Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Post IPL inflammation.

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Crusting, flaking and inflammation (reddish/pinkish skin) at the sites of sun damaged skin is expected following IPL treatment. There are a variety of topical skin care products that can reduce inflammation and protect the new skin.  Sun protection at this stage is important to reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation (sun block with an SPF of at least 30).

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews


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After a photofacial it is common to have slight pinkish areas after the dark spots have flaked off.  It is very important to protect the area from sun exposure.  I encourage you to wear a good sunscreen and limit sun exposure.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

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Photofacials and pink spots left

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It sounds as though you have pinkness caused by postinflammatory erythema, which is common after peeling.  You must avoid the sun on these areas and the pinkness will fade in a month or so.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Redness and mild scabbing after IPL scarring is normal

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What you are describing sounds normal for the procedure you have had. After IPL or laser treatment, you may see mild scabs and/or flakiness where sun damaged skin cells rise to the surface and come off. We encourage our laser patients to avoid scrubbing or picking at these light scabs or flaky skin after treatment. Even without picking or flaking, these light scabs may fall off and appear reddish or pink underneath.

The pink or reddish tone should fade away shortly after the scabs fall or flake off. If the area does not look like it is healing well and fading, you should contact your practitioner for an evaluation.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 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.