No Results from IPL Treatment?

I am a 46-year old female with with type high II/III skin and very minor signs of aging: a few brown spots, a couple of broken capillaries, a few minor wrinkles around the eyes. If my face was not red at all after a Photofacial (IPL treatment), does that mean that the procedure was not agressive at all? It's 3 days later and I took before pictures, and just took after pictures and there are NO differences.

Should I ask for a more agressive approach when I go back? We made my next appointment for 4 weeks out, which makes me now think that the RNP thought my skin was more "fragile" or sensitive? I know, IPL results are subtle. Maybe I haven't waited long enough to pass judgement?

Also, there's a part of me that would rather this take longer--if SOMETHING is changing-- than risk burns or other irreversible damage to my skin. I knowthat it's a balance, but I was really hoping to SEE results ("coffee grounds", something, anything). Comments? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 2

Follow up with your doctor to evaluate your results and to discuss your next treatment settings.

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For a skin type II/III  I would expect that you would have had visible effects  after the treatment. With brown spots and broken capillaries, the skin around these areas should reveal some "peppering" of the browns and  mild to moderate pinkness right after the treatment especially in the areas of the targets. If you did not experience any of these changes, it would appear that the treatment was less than effective.

Because it was your first treatment the provider may have been a bit conservative and under-treated you out of safety concerns.

You did not mention in what type of office you had your IPL.  In choosing a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist,  you will have more assurance of proper training, safety, and outcome expectations. IPL is a treatment that requires expertise, training, and experience.

Hopefully your provider took before pictures so that you can follow up with her to assess your results and can adjust your future treatment settings. Depending on the circumstances of your particular case, he or she may even offer to retreat you, if you had no results at all.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Have the dermatologist or plastic surgeon make the Settings

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It sounds like the treatment was not aggressive enough. Perhaps, this was more of a test treatment to see what your skin can tolerate.

I would return, but ask that the dermatologist or plastic surgeon determine the setting parameters. In our office this is mandatory and I am surprised ( and dismayed) that this is not the accepted practice everywhere. ( I guess if this was mandatory everywhere, real self would be much less busy!)

It sounds like you should get an excellent result. However, expect more improvement from the IPL regarding pigmentation that blood vessels. ( One tip: put a thinner amount of gel on the blood vessels and put a bit more pressure on the headpiece in that area).

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

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.