Do You Need to Stay out of the Sun After an IPL Photorejuvenation Facial and for How Long?

I play a lot of beach volleyball, so staying out of the sun is impossible. Is this treatment only effective for patients who are not constantly exposed to sunlight? I also have tanned skin with a lot of freckling and/or small sun spots on the face. Is this treatment effective for my type of skin? Thanks for your help.

Doctor Answers 3

IPL a waste of time (and money) if you have constant strong sun exposure.

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Sounds like a lot of fun! But you are correct to wonder if IPL would be a waste of your time. Going right back out into the sun after an IPL treatment will pretty much undo any improvement (and increase the risk of additional hyperpigmentation, truth be told). I would only recommend IPL treatments for someone who either intended to entirely change sun exposure habits, or who was prepared for annual maintenance treatments with the full expectation that it's a constant and ongoing battle. I agree with increased sun protection on a daily basis, hats, sunglasses, antioxidants, and creams that contain skin lightening agents. See your board-certified dermatologist for good advice.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Photofacials and sun exposure

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You need to be out of the sun for one month before and after sun exposure. 

When you are in the sun, since the sand and water reflect  and intensify sun and sweating decreases sunscreen effectiveness, you need to be absolutely religious about applying and reapplying sunscreen regularly, at least every two hours or more often.

It is not just a matter of IPL.  It is a matter of significantly increasing your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.

So, it is best to do IPL at least a month after you are finished with the volleyball circuit for a year and have one month before you are out in the sun again.  Usually IPL requires more than one session.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

IPL for tanned skin

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IPL for your type of skin carries more side-effects than the average skin. I think you are better off with a bleaching cream and Retin-A regimen, lots of sunblock with good UVA and UVB protection, anti-oxidant cream, wear a hat with a brim all around, stay in the shade when you are not actually playing volleyball. Consider getting into an indoor volleyball league to get some of your volleyball fix. A lot of sun is just bad for your skin period. You are heading towards premature aging and skin cancer.

Peter T. Truong, MD
Fresno Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

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