Is IPL Safe if You Have a Sun Tan?

I had 2 IPL treatment and now have a sun tan and I am scheduled for a my 3rd treatment. Should I postpone it?

Doctor Answers 6

Avoid IPL after recent sun exposure

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Save yourself potential complications and wait a few weeks before proceeding with your IPL treatment. Of course, if you are investing in IPL treatments to improve your skin, you will maximize results by always protecting your skin from the sun.

San Antonio Dermatologist

Wait on IPL

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 If you proceed with your third IPL treatment with while tanned, you are likely to have more problems than with your first two treatments.  The reaction from IPL is pigment dependent and you will have a more severe reaction if you proceed at this time. Definitely wait a few weeks

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

IPL is not safe if you have a tan

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I would reschedule the treatment. The machine detecting the brown spots that you are trying to eiminate cannot tell the difference between tanned ski and unwanted bon pigmentation. Best to wait until the tan fades.

Julia Carroll, MD
Toronto Dermatologist

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Wait to have IPL after Sun Tan

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Having a tan can put you at a greater risk for burns from the laser.  The laser seeks out the melanin in the root of the hair or the pigment in the age spot and when the skin is tan the melanin come to the surface, which give you the tan or darker appearance.  Its best to wait till your skin has no more tan lines and that you are careful with the sun while doing treatment with the IPL laser.  Also, remember to use sunscreen daily to protect your skin. 

I hope this helps.

Paul L. Leong, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Avoid IPL on tanned skin

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The purpose of IPL treatment is to improve brown spot and blood vessels. The target for this light treatment is color. If you are tan the device may target the tan skin and not the desired target. A burn could result. Please remember a tan damages the skin. Protect with sun screen and practice sun avoidance.

Pamela Carr, MD
Sugar Land Dermatologic Surgeon

You should postpone your IPL treatment till your sun-tan fades.

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If your skin is tanned, you would have an increased likelihood of complications like hyperpigmentation or burn after your IPL treatment. There is no downside to waiting 2 weeks.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 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.