How Many Treatments of IPL Are Needed to See an Improvement on Acne PIH?

Doctor Answers 2

Q-switched and Pulsed Dye lasers for acne PIH

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Like Dr. Oppenheim, we do not advocate IPL treatments for acne scars. Bleaching creams and chemical peels are an excellent solution and we would also add q-switched and pulsed dye lasers to the mix.

The reason that IPL is ineffective is that it is not specific enough in the type of light it uses. Q-switched lasers we use for brown acne scars have a 1064 nm wavelength which is ideal for removing the brown color. The 585 nm pulsed dye lasers are ideal for vascular conditions such as red acne scars. IPL unfortunately does not have one wavelength of light but instead many. Therefore it is a jack of all trades and master of none.

Try the chemical peels and bleaching creams first for brown scars and move to the q-switched laser if they does not help. Try pulsed dye lasers first for red acne scars. Good luck.

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

IPL Not Particularly Helpful for PIH

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IPL is a very good treatment for lentigines (age spots), but not particularly helpful for PIH. In fact, oftentimes IPL can make PIH worse.

I much prefer topical creams and glycolic acid peels. There are a variety of creams to chose from. They contain a host of ingredients such as Hydroquinone, arbutin, licorice, glucosamine, azelaic acid, kojic acid, Retin A or tazaratene helps since these agents improve penetration and have some de-pigmenting potential themselves.

You might ask your dermatologist about Diacneal. This is a newer product by Avene which combines Retinaldehyde and Glycolic acid.

There has been some work on the peroxidase inhibitor, methimazole, which blocks melanin production. This is in the future, however.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach 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.