Can Microdermabrasion and spot IPL treatment be done in the same appointment?

I'm dealing with surgical scar for precancerous mole. I had diamond tip microdermabrasion done. I have a facial surgical scar that's depressed, lumps on both ends. After, I had IPL on scar and also on brown spots. I question whether the two should have been done the same day. I feel the scar is worse, looks more depressed, lumps look bigger. My concern is doing microdermabrasion, adding IPL on the same day. Is this safe to do in the same day? Can these procedures make a surgical scar worse?

Doctor Answers 4

Microdermabrasion and IPL: Same Day Treatments

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Yes, it is safe to perform a microdermabrasion treatment prior to an IPL treatment in the same appointment. Exfoliating the skin in advance of an IPL treatment allows for better penetration and absorption of the light and therefore, can increase the effectiveness of the IPL treatment.

Microdermabrasion and IPL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Microdermabrasion can be performed before IPL without any problems and would not make your scar worse. These treatments however are not the most effective for improving scars.  Consider consulting an experienced cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon for assessment.  Remember to use sun protection.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Proper Scar Treatment Requires Tailoring The Treatment(s) To The Kind of Scar

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
In general, I would neither opt for microdermabrasion nor IPL as stand-alone or even as combined treatment modalities for treating any but the most superficial scars, and probably not even then .

Microdermabrasion is little more than what was once called epidermabrasion, i.e. a superficial abrasive process for removing dead skin cells of the stratum corneum and, if performed very aggessively, also some of the uppermost portion of the epidermis. Since scars are composed of abnormal collagen bundles located within the dermis or below, little real improvement in scars can be expected from this approach. IPL is also a modality intended for superficial textural and pigmentary abnormalities and really cannot be expected to deal with scar pathology deeper below.

There are many more efficient, and, in the end, more cost-effective methods for dealing with scars. Just as an example, depressed scars, after trauma, acne, infection or surgery (as in this case) may respond to subcision to stimulate native collagen production in order to elevate them and fractional medical microneedle therapy to further stimulate collagen production and improve their surface color and texture. This is just one approach. The actual therapy(ies) would depend upon the specifics of the particular scar. For more information on scar treatments, check out the archives of

I strongly suggest consultation with a board certified core aesthetic physician with extensive experience in scar treatments to determine what is best for you before proceeding any further with the current approaches.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Microderm before IPL

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Actually it's great to do microderm before IPL. It helps exfoliate the skin properly which can lead to a deeper IPL treatment for very stubborn areas. 

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

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.