I Had IPL 2 Days Ago and Have Coffee Grounds Spots, but No Redness. Did It Work?

Even the first day, that evening, I had no redness at all. It was performed by a board certified dermatologist, so I am not concerned that he did not know what he was doing, but I am wondering was the laser turned too low? I have the dark spots, but that is it. I had splotchy red spots immediately after the treatment, but they faded that afternoon. I guess I feel like if I had a lot of redness and sunburn look, I would feel like it had worked better. Is this correct?

Doctor Answers 5

IPL coffee ground look

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
It sounds like your treatment was very effective if you have the coffee ground look after.  Sometimes the skin is pink right after and might feel like a windburn sunburn feeling but usually calms down within a few hours after the treatment.

IPL and coffee ground spots

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It sounds as though you had an effective treatment.  Avoid the sun, use moisturizers, and do not pick at the dark spots.  Return to your dermatologist in about 3 weeks to see if you require another treatment.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Splotchy Brown after IPL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It's really not essential to get red and sun-burned looking after IPL to have a great or effective result. If your brown spots have darkened and you have the 'coffee ground' appearance then it sounds like you got a good treatment.  The spots should flake in the next few days to reveal the results of your treatment.  Most patients do require more than one treatment (3-5 often) depending on the depth and severity of the spots.


Dr. Grant Stevens               

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

You might also like...

IPL: Success or Failure?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If your sun-damaged skin brown spots are darker, then the IPL worked.  You don't have to actually be "burned" to have an effective result.  Indeed, if you were then you may run the risk of worsening of the brown spots due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  In a few weeks you should see some brown spots flake off, and others lighten.  Be patient, follow your doctor's post-treatment instructions and you will be fine.

Minas Constantinides, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon

How do you know IPL worked?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From what you are describing, the endpoint of IPL treatment for hyperpigmentation have been reached successfully.  It is exactly what you want:  mild transient redness and darkening and breaking down of the pigmented spots (coffee grounds, as you called them).

If there is lasting redness and a sunburn look, the settings may be too intense and can lead to side effects.

So I believe your procedure was done by a really knowledeable  dermatologist.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills 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.