Risks involved with IPL laser treatments for rosacea?

I've read that many people have experienced severe complications because of IPL laser treatments. Orange peel skin, and terrible scarring to name a few. I also noticed that many of these posts and stories were from 2010-2012. Have they worked out the kinks as of late? Are these issues rare occurrences? I'm scheduled to get my first IPL treatment in a week, and am wondering if I should cancel ASAP. Note:my treatment will be for rosacea.

Doctor Answers 7

IPL is a photofacial -- get Fraxel with Microneedling or combine with IPL and microneedling/PRP

I find that fraxel does more for long term antiaging than IPL which helps with browns and reds but doesnt little for wrinkles.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

IPL for rosacea

As a fellow rosacea sufferer, I can give you both my professional opinion, and my experiences as a patient. IPL treatments for rosacea tend to have more intense downtime than IPL performed for brown spots and sun damage. Immediately after the treatment, your skin will feel tight and hot, very similar to the way it feels after a sunburn. You should expect 1-2 days of swelling, and possible bruising as well. I tell my patients that, while bruising is not common, it is impossible to predict who will and who will not have it, so everyone should plan "as if". An IPL treatment for rosacea is not a procedure to have within a few days of a graduation, a wedding, or any other big event.
That being said, more serious complications, such as scarring, burning, etc., are exceptionally rare in the hands of an experienced provider.Good Luck!-Dr. Flora Waples

Flora Waples, MD
Denver Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

IPL treatments of rosacea are very safe if performed by experienced physicians

We have been treating Rosacea with IPL for over 20 years.    The treatments are extremely safe, if the physician has extensive experience and an effective IPL device.  The problem comes with untrained or poorly trained practitioners who do not completely understand how IPL works or how to read the skin types and adjust the treatments to be both safe and effect.  Dermatologist with extensive experience doing IPL are the best trained to provide comprehensive care including IPL or other treatment options for Rosacea. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Considering IPL for rosacea

There have been many improvements in IPL treatment over the last few years.  Not all IPL is the same.  If you research the best aesthetic lasers, the Icon platform by Cynosure is at the top.  The IPL is dual filtered which ensures optimal light spectrum based on what pigment you are targeting.  It also has the industry's only melanin reader which helps ensure the proper settings to use.  If you are looking for quality laser skin care, you should look in to the equipment, as well as the experience a facility offers.

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

Risks from IPL for rosacea

There are potential risks with any light based procedures such as lasers or IPL.  It depends on a variety of factors, the most important being your Fitzpatrick Skin Type.  The lighter or whiter you are in general, the less the risk.  In addition, it is important to goto a practice or a provider who has experience in the treatment of your skin type.  There are many devices on the market and while some are certainly  better than others, they pretty much do the same thing.  IPL is a broad band light and it is used to treat both brown and red discoloration on the skin. Some devices have specific filters that can treat one or the other.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

IPL for rosacea

The best advice I can give is to find a doctor and clinic which has extensive experience and is conservative with regard to patient treatments.  My aesthetician Sheila Marquardt has been working with me for 15 years.  She does most of the IPL treatments in my office.  In our hands, side effects from IPL are extremely rare.  It is one of the most popular treatments that we do with high patient satisfaction.Regards,Dr. Ort

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

IPL for rosacea

Thank you for your question loshinn7. IPL is a treatment that can address redness such as that seen in patients with rosacea. I have performed thousands of IPL treatments to address rosacea, sun damage, etc. Complications are rare. Sometimes there is redness and swelling after a treatment. If a person has a history of cold sores, they may appear after a treatment; this can be treated with valacyclovir and should be started before a treatment as a preventative measure for those with a history of cold sores. Very rarely blisters are seen; this is treated with good wound care measures usually without serious sequelae. Hyperpigmentation can be address with topical products. Scarring can be treated with fractional lasers. These side effects are very rare in my experience. It is important to find a doctor with experience in such treatments. Please consult with your doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!

Alex Eshaghian, MD, PhD
Encino Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 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.