IPL treatment(s) for my dark spots and hyperpigmentation? If so, how many treatments? (photos)

I'm a 27 year old female who takes good care of my skin, but am experiencing some dark spots and hyperpigmentation around my T-Zone area, especially my forehead. Sometimes these areas can be extra dry and flaky during winter, but also have large visible and dark blackheads. Also my skin has such a dull and lifeless complexion lately. Would a set of IPL treatments be most beneficial for me to combat these problems? Any other suggestions would be very much appreciated! Thanks! Hollie

Doctor Answers 8


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Thank you for your question sevenseas7. I understand your concern. IPL is a great treatment for facial rejuvenation. For my patients I recommend an initial series of 6 monthly treatments followed by one maintenance treatment every 3 months thereafter.  For my patients with dry skin during the winter months I recommend a thicker moisturizer during those times. Please consult with a doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!


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Typically, we start with 3 sessions of IPL for conditions such as yours.  Often times, starting with a microdermabrasion or chemical peel will help with overlying pigmentation first, followed by IPL.

Dark spots, hyperpigmentation and dull skin

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You are the perfect candidate for a combination of BroadBand Light (BBL) and Halo by Sciton. In a single treatment, your issues of dark spots can be addressed with BBL while your hyperpigmentation and dull skin will be treated and transformed as Halo uses it's dual lasers to remove pigment from beneath your skin (which causes a lack of reflectivity) and can also treat hyperpigmentation in both the epidermal and dermal layers.  The only caution is that you should always be treated with a course of hydroquinone AND medical grade SUNBLOCK for a period of time before and after treatments if you are prone to hyperpigmentation.  This  minimizes the chance of further changes in the wrong direction!  Hydroquinone acts to calm the melanocytes which are often in a "super-excited" state in those who pigment, have melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or even those who "super-freckle".  You can be treated safely and effectively  but seek out an experienced laser physician.  That dull, lifeless skin can be changed with as little as one session when the underlying pigment is removed and your skin returns to it's former natural radiancy.  Good luck and don't give up - healthy glowing skin is such a blessing and is attainable.  Shelby Bentz MD

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Brown and Red Resolution with lasers, microneedling/prp, skin care

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I recommend a combination approach to deal with the issues you mentioned. I suggest lasers (IPL,Clear + Brilliant) microneedling/prp, and skin care to improve skin quality and tone. I recommend a formal evaluation with a cosmetic dermatologist. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

IPL is great for pigment but consider a Peel and A regimen based on your skin type

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Hi Hollie-- Yes, I agree with the other answers here that you are a great candidate for IPL for the brown spots. That usually requires a series of treatments, and should be able to produce an even skin tone. This will not help with the black heads. 

The right skin care regimen catered to your skin type can help improve tone and clear your skin and give you the brightness a 27 year old should have. A good cleanser with glycolic and salicylic acid for exfoliation and a low-concentration salicylic acid toner will help keep the pores clear. A high quality Vitamin C serum and retinol and/or a skin lightening serum will, over time, fade away the brown spots AND clear your skin. And always wear a sun block every day on your face to make sure the spots don't just darken back up. Lastly-- you can kick off your regimen by starting with a high quality peel designed for pigment that will also clear those pores. The cost of a high quality peel PLUS a great skin care product regimen will likely be less than an IPL series.

Katherine Dee, MD
Seattle Physician

IPL is ideal for dark spots, hyperpigmentation and unevenness

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Hi Hollie, 

You are a great candidate for IPL or BBL (broad band light) by Sciton as the concerns you have expressed can all be corrected with this procedure. IPL/BBL is a treatment that targets unwanted pigmentation, reduces redness, and gives and overall glow and radiance to the skin. So the dull/lifeless complexion you mentioned will improve greatly. Further, your new best friend should be a physical UVA/UVB sunscreen that you place right next to your toothbrush so you don't forget to use it every morning. Prevention is key, and if you are considering investing in treatments for your skin, you must protect your skin from the sun's rays. No matter what season it is or whether it is sunny or cloudy. Your treatments should also be combined with skincare containing medical-grade active ingredients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and perhaps some more specialized products to help reduce the blackheads. Lastly, I would strongly suggest spending the time needed to research the physician/clinic you are going to be investing in. The technology itself does not do the job. It is the experience and expertise of the physician in establishing the right parameters for your specific protocols as well as the skill of the technician in carrying out the treatment that will determine success. We initially recommend 6 treatments as the "correction" phase and then come up with a maintenance plan. I hope this is helpful. Best regards, Manish Khanna, MD

IPL for hyperpigmentation

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Hi Sevenseas7,

Based on your photos, you are an ideal candidate for IPL. Our practice uses a topical numbing cream for approximately 30 minutes prior to the procedure. The entire procedure takes about 20 minutes. You can expect the dark spots to darken then flake off with time. A set of 3 IPL treatments would be beneficial. Add a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 45 to your skin regimen.  

Edward J. Gross, MD
Orlando Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

IPL for Redness & Hyperpigmentation

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Based on your photos, I would say you are a great candidate for IPL. While IPL won't help with blackheads or any dryness/flakiness, it can help you achieve a beautiful, even skin tone by reducing redness and hyperpigmentation. Typically it will take a few sessions, however after each session you should notice a reduction in hyperpigmentation & redness and an increase in overall skin radiance. Discomfort during the procedure is minimal and downtime can last from 2-5 days but the dark spots can be easily covered with makeup. Blackheads and dryness are two separate issues better treated by topicals and possibly a facial for the clogged pores, but I would address these concerns with a board-certified dermatologist. 

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.