Had Hyperpigmentation From first IPL Treatment to Arms, Doctor Recommends a 2nd Treatment, Good Idea?

I had my first IPL treatment about 4 weeks ago on my arms. After about 3 weeks all the dark areas flaked off but left me with grid/track marks on my skin. I never had blistering, so I don't think my skin has been burned. Went back to see the dr. and he said the track marks are because I had a "sheet" of hyperpigmentation across my arms. He also said a 2nd/3rd treatment would remove the lines where the first IPL missed. Would this be safe to do or will the lighter areas get even lighter?

Doctor Answers 3

Hyperpigmentation after IPL

The question is whether the hyperpigmentation is darker than your skin was previously or just the dark areas that were not appropriately covered by the IPL treatment that remained dark after your skin was lightened by the treatment.

If they are just remaining dark areas, the handpiece was probably not placed close enough when the next pulse was delivered.  The handpiece has to be placed immediately adjacent to the previous pulse, but not overlapping as overlap can result in a burn.

If it is the remaining pigmentation, I would suggest a test spot before the following treatment.  If the hyperpigmentation is darker than the skin was previously, I would be very cautious about the next treatment as more hyperpigmentation may result.

Make sure that you have not had sun exposure to the areas that were or are about to be treated for at least 6 weeks prior to treatment.

Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Brown Spots after IPL

I very much agree with what Dr. Altman has said. Often times, poor coverage with the handpiece, meaning the handpiece was not overlapped, leaving a bit of space between each treatment area, will leave some skin treated, and some not. This does not look especially good as the full skin has not been effectively treated. I have found that some offices (med spas mostly) that try to do fast turnaround patients, will do a "full" IPL in only 15 minutes. This is not possible. To get a full treatment, with overlapping, you need at least 40-45 minutes for a face. That should include additional passes to areas, as well. If you did not get a full treatment, as Dr. Altman and I am suggesting, I would say that is your problem with the discoloration.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

IPL treatments...

Yes, this is typical.  It is the norm to have to get 3 to 5 treatments in order to achieve optimal results.

Stick with it...

Hope this helps.  Good luck.


Dr. Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

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