Is It Safe to Have PhotoFacial on Healing Facial Scars?

Three weeks ago, I had enlarged sebaceous glands cauterized. The resulting scabs have fallen off, some naturally and many others prematurely by accident. Now I have several atrophic, reddish scars that are still healing. I would like to get a photo facial to remove general redness in my face. Would an IPL interrupt the healing process of my scars and thereby cause permanent scarring? Should I keep the scars moist (antibiotics gel) or dry? As you can imagine, I very worried. Thank you!!!

Doctor Answers 6

IPL for redness

Three weeks post procedure is a bit early to administer Photofacial (IPL) to your forehead area. For now, exercise patience and use a broad spectrum antioxidant sunscreen daily. Add a wide brim hat or baseball cap for added protection if you are going to be outside for more than a few minutes. This will help you avoid prolonged redness and minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation.

It should be fine to begin you to begin your photofacial in about 8 weeks.

Seattle Otolaryngologist

IPL with healing scars

An IPL treatment after recent trauma such as electrocautery or liquid nitrogen can cause blistering or crusting.  Definitely wait 2 months to get an IPL.  Sun protection is important while your areas are healing, as well as before and after an IPL photofacial.  It can take 4-12 weeks for the area you had treated to heal well, so don't worry yet if the areas look red or indented.

Madeline Krauss, MD
Boston Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Ointment and sun avoidance is all you should do

Keep the pink areas moist with antibiotic ointment (e.g. polysporin) 3x/day and don't get any sun on the area.

Keeping ointment on will promote faster healing.  Sun avoidance will prevent the red areas from healing brownish.

I would avoid IPL until this is healed on it's own.  IPL won't help the redness, the redness will resolve with time.

Anne Marie McNeill, MD, PhD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review


Three weeks is too early to have the area treated with photofacial/IPL.  I encourage you to wait at least 2-3 months before doing a photofacial on the area.  In the mean time, minimize sun exposure to the area. 

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Photofacials and healing scars

Photofacials with intense pulsed light will help the redness fade and can stimulate some collagen which may help the scars.  At 4 weeks after your cautery, you can start with IPL treatments.  Since the scabs have already fallen off, you only need to use sun protection to prevent darkening of the areas.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


Allow them to heal for 6-8 weeks, and then consider an IPL. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.