Green IPL right for me?

I have hyper pigmentation and want to have it fixed, but can't stay out of the sun forever. What should I do? I am a surfer and not surfing (and not being in the sun) is not an option. 2-4 weeks after treatment, yes, but not much more than that. I regularly use a concentrated vitamin C with hydroquinone, use AHAs and I *religiously* wear very thick, professional surfer sunscreen while surfing and SPF 50 the rest of the time, but still have spots that need treatment. Thoughts?

Doctor Answers 4

IPL treatments

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Thank you for your question Surfnpez. I understand your concern. IPL is a great treatment for facial rejuvenation. I find that if patients protect themselves from the sun when they are outdoors they can still get benefits from IPL treatments. For my patients I recommend a series of 6 monthly treatments followed by one maintenance treatment every 3 months thereafter.

Please consult with a doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!

Green IPL right for me?

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Thanks for your query. Yes, IPL would work for you or even better you can try Q switched or NdYag for pigmentation. Or chemical peels too will work. 2-4 weeks is enough time for the skin to heal. Hope it helps.

All The Best

Sun-Loving Solution: Hyperpigmentation Needs Lightening Creams, Low Density Lasers, Peels

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I do not think that IPL is a good treatment for hyperpigmentation.  You should consider nonablative fractional lasers, microneedling/PRP, and peels. I suggest you get a formal consultation with a cosmetic dermatologist who has experience in lasers, pigmentation and skin lightening while also bringing up your concerns for aftercare.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

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Sun Exposure Post-IPL

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Hello! Thanks for your question. Completely understand your concerns regarding the risk of sun-exposure after IPL, but you must also take into account previous sun exposure. Your use of sunscreen is essential as you have been doing, but you also want to have as minimal of a tan as possible prior to the procedure. 30 SPF sunscreen is actually enough, as much higher oftentimes just means more toxins introduced to the skin. What is essential, however, is that it is both UVA and UVB protective. I suggest products with SPFs no lower than 30 and no higher than 50. In addition to an SPF of 30+, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone. Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection may be labeled multi spectrum, broad spectrum, or UVA/UVB protection.

As for sun-exposure, I would recommend limiting for two weeks before, and avoiding sun exposure entirely for 2-4 weeks after. Then, just continue your routine of applying sunscreen prior to surfing (water resistant, enough to create a visible layer on the skin) and gently exfoliate once every 3-5 days. It's important to remember that regardless of what sun protection you use, consistent and prolonged sun exposure will inevitably damage the skin. IPL will certainly reduce the visibility of such damage that has already occurred, but will not prevent further dark spots from appearing. 

In good health,

Dr. Berger

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.