Can a lot of photofacials at low settings work as well as a high setting?

I got burned on high setting so do not want to go high again.

Doctor Answers 9

Avoiding burns with IPL

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Unfortunately, burning of the skin can happen after any type of light based therapy, but it is extremely rare in the hands of qualified professionals. Some machines, like my ICON have a skintel device to give you an indication of who much melanin there is in the skin, and gives what is considered "safe" treatment energies.  Experience is also important. If the energy settings are way too low, the treatment could not achieve your goals.

Clifton Vascular Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Pt. burned with photofacial wants to try with lower setting

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We are fortunate to have the dual platform, Icon laser, which comes with a device that reads the melanin in your skin and provides a safe range of settings to use on your individual skin.  These settings can change depending on the part of the body to be treated as well as time of year that you are seeking treatment.  The pigment in your skin can change dramatically and the settings need to change as well.  The device is called "Skintel" and it may be advisable for you to find a practitioner who utilizes one if you choose to do future IPL treatments.

Ramon Peleaux, DDS, MD
Charlotte Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews


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The answer is yes and sometimes no. Depending on your skin's color and the color of your pigment you may need a higher setting to achieve the results you want. However, if your skin is too dark, the risk of burning is higher and is never worth it. I would consider a peel if you are afraid of burning with a photofacial. Hope this helps.

Alan B. Brackup, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

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Photofacial settings

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In some cases, low settings can achieve the goal you are seeking. The most important step is to choose and experienced and expert board certified physician who understands your objectives and needs.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
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Broad Band Light

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Yes it is ok to treat your skin at lower settings with BBL. Safety is the most important factor, it may take a little longer to receive the desired results. It is important to let your clinician know any recent sun exposure you have had recently. The darker your complexion the higher the risk of a burn. While receiving any BBL treatments even post-procedure it is important to avoid the sun.

Kian Karimi, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Photofacials - Burned At A High Setting

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Please always seek board certified plastic surgeons for these treatments.  Just because something seems "non-invasive," many things can go wrong if not handled well.  It is also important for patients to be asked about using self-tanners, and when they went in the sun.  I say this for the benefit of all reading:  please know that if you have a tan, or use self-tanners, you can be burned, so it is crucial for the technician or doctor to speak with you about this.  In my office, we use the new generation of IPL which is termed BBL (broad band light) You didn't mention what skin condition you wish to treat, but I assume it is sun damage. Multiple treatments on a lower setting have been studied extensively, and the clinical data proves that not only does BBL diminish visible sun damage, but it also repairs the damage deep in the skin that you can not see until you start to age. BBL stimulates collagen and prevents the the skin from premature aging.  Please seek a qualified plastic surgeon and I'm sure you will have great results, without any burns. 


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Before having a photofacial treatment, make sure that you do not have a tan or fake tanners on the treated areas. If you have a  tan, you should reschedule until you've been out of the sun. You can easily get a burn when you are tan. The next time you see your provider talk about your last experience so they can change the settings for your type of skin.

Robert G. Aycock, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Photofacial Settings

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Hi and thank you for your question!
The settings for IPL are based on your skin type and the condition which we are treating. I recommend you return to the office that performed the procedure, so they can asses and lower the setting for your second treatment, if you decide to proceed. I'm not sure which machine was used, but we find the newer generation IPL's to be safer and more effective. We have the Sciton BBL and the Ellipse.
Best of luck,
Dr. Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Photofacial settings

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IPL photofacial treatments are great for a number of different concerns such as dark spots, age spots, redness, and broken capillaries. It is important to understand that everyone's skin is different and the settings for he treatment should be individualized. For example, those with darker skin are more sensitive and require adjustments such as lower fluence (energy), longer pulse width, colder temperatures, and higher wavelengths. In these cases lower settings are recommended but more treatments will be required. We do see improvements in such cases, but since more treatments are necessary it will take more time to see results. Be sure to take before and after photographs to monitor your progress. Good luck!

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.