When Should Swelling Dissipate After IPL?

I am 51. I had an IPL two days ago. Some parts of my face are still swollen especially under my eyes. (The brochure said swelling for a few hours or a day, or more. But the technician did not prepare me for any swelling.)

Is this normal? Will it go away? It seems like the skin under my eyes will have more wrinkles due to the puffiness. Did I create a bigger problem?

Doctor Answers 3

Swelling after IPL can take up to 1 week

Swelling after IPL under the eyes can happen but it's not very common. It is unusual that you see more wrinkles on that area just because when the skin is swollen the wrinkles are less visible. I would recommend icing the area 2-3 times a day, using aloe gel or hydrating eye cream. The skin under the eyes is more delicate and it's normal to take longer for the complete recovery.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Prevent and reduce swelling under the eyes after IPL

Some patients do experience more swelling under the eyes after IPL. I am one of them. It seems to happen more frequently in patients with diffuse redness pre-treatment more than in those with mainly brown spots or larger veins. It is also more common in patients with thin skin, or those who have been on tretinoin. Usually it resolves in 3-5 days, but rarely I have seen it last as long as 7-10 days.

For those patients who are more prone to swelling, and for myself, we have found that pre-treating with Prednisone the morning of the treatment (3-6 hours before treatment) and applying cold packs immediately after treatment reduces the swelling pretty dramatically. We also recommend those patients sleep on an extra pillow the night after treatment, and until the swelling resolves.

And be sure you are wearing a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen daily, and avoid sun exposure for 3 weeks before treatment.

I have never seen it increase lines under the eyes, except temporarily for a couple of days.

Elaine R. Cook, MD
Amarillo Dermatologist

The swelling should disappear within a week.

Thanks for your question.

IPL can cause slight swelling for up to 2-3 days, but in cases where the inflammation may be more, it may take slightly longer for the swelling to settle down. This might be the case in your situation, and I would simply give it more time and see how it looks after one week. Under no circumstances would I worry that IPL gave you more wrinkles. Perhaps it may feel like that because of the swelling and the appearance of new lines, but again, this will be temporary.

Hope you feel better about this, and good luck!

Don Mehrabi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.