I Am of South East Asian Heritage, and Had Very Dark Arms Because of Sun Damage, So I Started IPL Sessions and Have Blisters?

i am of south east asian heritage, and had very dark arms because of sun damage, so i started IPL sessions, had 7 sessins a month apart, i was getting very slow but sure results, yesterday i went in for treatment we increased setting to 10. After painful treatment i developed huge watery blisters, am convinced am burnt, a lot of dark purple patches , and this morning woke to even bigger blisters, they are closed till tomorrow, pls help?

Doctor Answers 1

Burn from IPL

Yes, you have been burned from the IPL. Note that there are hundreds of brands of IPL machines, so the setting 10 doesn't mean a lot, as I don't know what brand of machine it was, but the setting was definitely too high and you've been burned, significantly. Potential longer term risks of burns from IPL include temporary or permanent hypo-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation. My recommendations for treatment of burns in the skin are as follows:

1. Keep the areas clean by washing with a mild soap twice daily. Do not scrub it harshly.
2. Apply Aquaphor Healing Ointment (available without a prescription) to all involved areas to keep them "greasy". The greasier the area is, the faster it will heal. The drier and scabbier the area gets, the slower it will heal.

3. Right now you can carefully prick the blisters so that you can ease out the fluid, but do not pull the blisters apart or tug on the skin. Keep the skin there covered and moistened with the Aquaphor.
4. Permanent scarring could occur so you have to guard against post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by constant protection from the sun for these areas such as using protective clothing as well as broad spectrum sunscreens. If the sites at a later point are dark, you may need to get prescription hydroquinone from a physician and apply it to only those areas to lighten it.
5. Make certain you are under a doctor's care and watch for signs of infection so that oral antibiotics can be started as soon as possible if necessary. Call the office as soon as it's open to be seen.

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