What Should I Do If IPL Wasn't Effective?

I had 1st IPL done week ago. Very plae skin, and A LOT of freckles. After 1st day ONLY 10 frecles turned darker, out of a million!skin wasnt even red. I was asked to come back for 3rd run in 4 days, to finish first treatment (long story:)). The 3rd run- on higher setting (as I was told), but didnt hurt at all (comparing to 1 time), and - no redness, no swelling, AND NOT A SINGLE MORE DARK FRECKLE!!! like I wouldnt have done anything on my face. Is IPL not working? Do I need higher settings?

Doctor Answers 5

Freckles & IPL Treatment

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Go back to the same office and discuss your results thus far.  I agree that a test spot on the side of your face would be a safe way to test the results of a higher setting.  Don't forget about topical creams!  While they don't have the cache of lasers they can be very effective in this exact setting.   Good luck!

Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

IPL treatments and alternatives

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IPL is typically ideal for patients who are experiencing problems with too much redness or lots of brown pigmentation or both; however, there are other options.  For brown spots, a Q-switched laser may be the solution for individual sun freckles, but it sounds like the problem may be more widespread , thus a medium depth chemical peel or the Fraxel duet laser may be the best answer.

Lori Stetler, MD
Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon

IPL can be useful for treating freckles

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however, if the settings arent high enough, you wont get any response.  I would talk with your practicioner about increasing the settings or doing a test spot at a higher setting for you.  If your freckles are too light, it can be very difficult to reduce them with an IPL device or even a laser.  Chemical peels and lightening creams might be a better answer for you.  In addition, you must wear a sunscreen containing zinc oxide every day, to prevent the brown spots from returning.  They are due to UVA rays, which can penetrate window glass and clouds, so you must protect yourself every day.  Best to you.

Carolyn Jacob, MD
Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon

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IPL Treatments

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IPL treatments are most effective on very dark spots.  The lighter the freckles are, the less effective it is.  I know that sounds funny, but that's the way it works.  So if your freckles are too pale, that may explain why you are not getting the desired result.  Other options would be higher settings, chemical peels, or bleaching creams.  Sunscreen at all times is a must!

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

IPL is ineffective

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Certainly, not every person responds as the books say that they should.  You are obviously not getting the effect that you hoped for and maybe this treatment is not right for you.  But I do agree that you may want to go back to the same practitioner, express your concerns, and ask for higher settings.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

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