IPL for Facial Scars? (photo)

Hi, I am interested in getting IPL to fix the large dark scars on my cheek area along with sun spots, etc. I got the scars a few years ago from a chemical peel that went bad. The scars in the picture is a bit lightened because I am wearing a tinted moisturizer with sun block. I'm on my way out, and it's better to do this post now before forgetting (again). What I would like to know is: 1) would IPL best for my skin condition, 2) if not, what would be? bio:49 years old, Asian decent THANK YOU!

Doctor Answers 5

Melasma Treatment

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Thank you for your question.

From your photographs and description it appears that you have some facial skin dyschromias associated with photoaged skin as well as a component of melasma on the convex surfaces (cheeks) and possibly some post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from your overly aggressive chemical peel.  

In my office would initially treat your condition with a topical cream containing kojic acid as well as variable amounts of Retinol and hydroquinone (4,6,8%) which we custom compound for each patient given their condition.  I would also use a fractionated erbium laser in the areas of melasma to help resolve this condition after several months of initial lightening of the area.  IPL will certainly help with the other areas of photoaged skin and dyschromias but should be performed at very conservative settings for your skin.  Of course you should always be using a daily, high quality, physical blocking sunscreen to avoid exacerbation of your melasma in the future.

Best Regards,

Jacque P. LeBeau, MD

Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon

IPL For Facial Scars

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You have both melasma and scars in the lower part of her face.  You should try to lighten the facial skin first and then a treatment with IPL with appropriate settings.  It is important to wear adequate sun protection at all times.  If you do not get results from this, you may want to try fractional non ablative lasers.


Good luck.

David Evdokimow, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon

Try conservative treatments first for melasma

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Your photos look like melasma.  Anything that causes inflammation in the skin such as a chemical peel or laser treatment has the potential to make melasma worse.  That's why in my practice we always try to use we alway try to lighten the melasma with topical creams before resorting to peels and lasers.  There are many excellent products on the market which can help melasma.  We use many different skin lightening agents, often in combination, such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, lignin peroxidase, vitamin C and phloretin. After a trial of topical therapy, if we are not seeing enough progress in lightening the pigmentation we will use a series of very gentle chemical peels or nonaggressive fractionated laser treatments with the Clear and Brilliant laser by Solta.  Be sure you are working with someone very experienced in treating melasma such as a dermatologist.

Suzanne Bruce, MD
Houston Dermatologic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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Is IPL best for Melasma?

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Hello.  By the look of the picture you have Melasma.  If the darkening of the cheeks is Melasma then IPL will often make it worse.  We do not offer any laser or light based treatments for Melasma because it can often make the condition worse.

This looks to be what happened with the chemical peel.  The trauma of the peel caused the Melasma to become visible.

The only treatment we would recommend for Melasma is a hydroquinone based program.  We use between 6% and 8% and get excellent results.  We are in Los Angeles and you can see pictures of the results at the link below.

In relation to the sun spots, IPL may help, but it has the risk of making the Melasma worse and often does not get rid of the sun spots permanently.  We use q-switched lasers to permanently remove sun spots (pictures also on the website).

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

Brown Spots on the Face

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 Thankfully, you do not have scarring. Just hyperpigmentation. If your pigmentation worsened after your chemical peel, then you may have a component of what is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I suspect, though, that you have melasma which is difficult to treat. While IPL can improve some cases, I would be very cautious and use low settings for your type of skin. Before resorting to IPL I would start using a strong sunscreen 365 days per year and use a bleaching agent which you can get from your dermatologist. Melasma is a tough one , especially in Asian skin.

William M. Ramsdell, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 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.