Optimal Timing Between IPL, Thermage and Laser Skin Resurfacing?

50 year old male fair complexion/dark hair w/ moderate issues with freckling/large pores/redness and skin laxity on face/neck. Looking at a series of 4 IPL treatments, as well as a thermage and laser resurfacing. What would be the optimal timing between treatments and which should be done first and last? My thought: Thermage, wait a couple of weeks and have one IPL every month and finish with laser maybe a month after the last IPL. Thoughts on timing and/or treatment plan?

Doctor Answers 4

Thermage and VBeam (or IPL) are complimentary treatments

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Thermage is a complementary treatment to Fraxel or IPL.  The way that Thermage works is that it will tighten the skin around the face and neck.  Since there is no down time I recommend to my patients to do the Thermage first.  A week later you can return for a series of IPL or V-Beam laser treatments for your redness/rosacea.  The combination should give you great results within 4 to 6 months.

Thermage with laser skin resurfacing

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I would start your treatment series with the Thermage and follow with laser resurfacing with at least 1 week or so between the treatments.  At the end of your resurfacing, you may want to wait about 3 months until the residual pinkness from the laser settles out of your skin.  I find that some patients still have reddness or enlargement of small blood vessels in the face that can benefit from a few IPL treatments at the end of the treatment series.  Hope this helps. 

Elizabeth Piantanida, MD
Colorado Springs Dermatologic Surgeon

Thermage, Laser Resurfacing, IPL

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Thermage, laser resurfacing, and IPL are all helpful treatments that each address a different skin issue.  I recommend starting with Thermage, as it takes 2-4 months to have its full skin tightening and contouring effect.  You should schedule the laser resurfacing whenever works best for your schedule - because laser resurfacing requires a few days of downtime, it is not always easy to schedule it at any time.  There is no optimal amount of time between these treatments, it is only important that you allow your skin to heal after laser resurfacing, prior to having any other treatments.  IPL will help to gradually decrease redness on the skin - the laser resurfacing should improve the freckling and large pores more dramatically.  IPL may be performed at any time in relation to the Thermage and laser resurfacing (with the exception of immediately after laser resurfacing), but I agree with your plan to schedule the IPL treatments at one month intervals.

Eric Schweiger, MD - Account Suspended
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

No need for IPL

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Based on the description of your skin type, condition, and your treatment options, I would suggest that you skip over the IPL treatments, because you are planning on having laser resurfacing. Have the Thermage first, and then have laser resurfacing. For example, at AlphaDerm, we do ThermaFrax treatments..this is a one day affair. On the same day, we do face/neck Thermage and then we perform a Fraxel treatment. 

Christine Glavey, MD (retired)
Alpharetta Dermatologic Surgeon

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.