Can IPL Treatment Interfere with Skin Cancer Detection?

I know IPL treatment does not CAUSE skin cancer, but can it make skin cancer difficult to detect? I have dense freckles over most of my body, and am considering IPL. However, I sunburned frequently as a child and the last thing I want is for my treatment to mask any visible warning signs of skin cancer. I had my entire body looked over by an oncologist, but obviously the risk is still there. Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

Doctor Answers 3

See a doctor, IPL should not have a negative effect

Based on your information, I always recommend that you see a dermatologist for regular check-ups including cancer screening. However, keratosis, precancerous growths including discoloration from over sun exposure will not be lightened by IPL. You may want to discuss with your doctor an ALA (amino laevulin acid) ointment for these kinds of marks.

Whenever you are ready to undergo any esthetic procedure, it is best to have a consultation with a board certified cosmetic doctor or dermatologist or experienced technician who you trust. In this case, the best option would be a dermatologist who could send in any growths for testing (this is standard protocol at Victoria Park). A good medispa team will give you the honest answers for your unique situation (your starting point, your objectives and your budget).

At the Victoria Park Medispa, we offer complimentary consultations with our technicians, therefore reducing a client’s risk of having a treatment performed without taking the time to think about what they really want. Any esthetic tool needs to be in the right hands, to achieve the best possible results.

Montreal Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

IPL can potentially interfere with skin cancer detection

This is particularly true if the skin cancer has pigment.  Since IPL treatments decrease pigmentation it may interfere with detection/recognition of skin cancer.

I generally recommend avoiding using IPL on moles (nevi).  Please have a thorough evaluation by a dermatologist for a mole mapping.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Ipl interference with skin cancer detection

I could not agree more with my colleague.  It is very important to avoid nevi with any laser therapy.  The problem is, what lesions are nevi?

A dermatologist who performs these procedures is best in order to document where and what type of growths you have and to biopsy suspicious lesions when necessary.




Dr. Malouf

Peter Malouf, DO
Dallas Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 87 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.