I had my first IPL treatment 3 days ago and I see no coffee grounds ! There is no difference at all! Is it normal? (photo)

Doctor Answers 4

IPL results

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Thank you for your question sundamaged28. I understand your concern. IPL is a great treatment for facial rejuvenation. Sometimes a coffee ground appearance is seen after a treatment. This occurs when the targeted pigment is close to the surface of the skin. But it does not always occur. To determine results we look at pictures before and after a series of treatments. For my patients I recommend an initial series of 6 monthly treatments followed by one maintenance treatment every 3 months thereafter.

Please consult with a doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!

May need more sessions

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Hi and thank you for your question.  Sometimes the asking is subtle or mild.  However, if you did not have any at all it may be that you need higher settings.  Because we use a very powerful IPL in our office, we first do a "test patch."  After a week we proceed with the treatment at the lower setting based on the test patch.  If no response, the we go ahead and crank it up in the follow up session.  Also, make sure you take before & after photos to compare the response.  I hope this helps and best of luck!

Ricardo Pocurull, MD
College Station Internist

Post-IPL Results

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Hello! The reason for the absence of "coffee grounds", as you call them, could be due to a couple of different factors. First and foremost, it's important to understand what, exactly, those coffee grounds are. Essentially, the laser is targeting dark spots/imperfections deep in the epidermis (surface of the skin), causing them to 'burn' and rise to the surface of the skin before flaking off. 

1) Laser Intensity: If the laser wasn't set high enough to produce results, you will notice an absence of dark spots. This might mean that the laser didn't adequately reach the imperfections and thus eliminate them, causing them to rise to the surface.

2) Absence of Unnatural-Imperfections: IPL will work wonders on spots that have been caused due to sun exposure, scarring, etc. That being said, if an imperfection is naturally occurring within the skin of the individual (think natural freckles, etc.), such marks occur deep within the epidermis and dermis rather than residing only on the surface of the skin. Your skin does not look to have a large amount of imperfections and therein you might not experience much shedding. That being said - you might still experience the tightening of skin that IPL can produce. 

As a general recommendation, follow up with your doctor to consider options for moving forward and address any concerns you might have.

In good health,

Dr. Berger

Andre Berger, MD
Beverly Hills Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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No Coffee Grounds Post IPL

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This is a hard one to answer because you haven't provided a before and after picture. Also, keep in mind it can take a few treatments with laser, depending on the results you want. I also usually recommend IPL in combination with other treatments for best results. See an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 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.