1 Day After IPL Photofacial I have Brown Spots Everywhere on My Face, is this a Normal Reaction?

I had an IPL Photofacial done yesterday. Immediately after procedure, my face was very red and felt on fire. After 1.5 hours, redness went down along with the pain but I am left with unbelievable dark spots covering both cheeks and some of my forehead. I do not have any "coffee grinds" that I keep reading about. My face just looks horrifying with these brown spots everywhere. Is this normal? When do the coffee grinds typically show up? Help! I'm scared that I should not have done this!

Doctor Answers 4

IPL and brown spots

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The dark spots could be areas of pigment that you had.  The coffee grounds can take a day or two to develop.  If all of your dark spots are the same size and rectangular, you may have bruising from the treatment.  Wash gently, use a moisturizer and sun protection, and return to the physician's office where you had treatment for assessment.

Toronto Dermatologist

Brown spots after IPL

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Sun spots or freckles can darken right after the IPL treatment, which is a great result! If the areas are a rectangle shape (shape of the laser head) then you might have gotten burned.  Absolutely no sun, keep your skin hydrated and protected with SPF.  I would also advise you to take pictures and send them to the clinic you received your treatment or schedule an appointment to see them to be on the safe side.  Good Luck! 

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

This could be a normal reaction!

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IPL is an excellent laser treatment for brown spots---in my office, I often see the brown spots on the face start to darken just a few minutes after the laser passes over them.  And they can continue to darken for the next week. Since new skin cells rise from the bottom of the skin to the top in 7 to 10 days on the face, these dark spots peel away in the same time: 7 to 10 days.  If you feel your reaction is more extreme, call your doctor right away to get additional answers to your questions.  In any case, follow your doctor's instructions completely (NO SUN!), and if you're not clearing by next week, call the office and ask to be checked.

Tobi B. Richman-Steinhardt, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon

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Brown Spots after IPL

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Photos would be helpful here, but if the dark spots are the size and shape of the treatment head, like a bar, I might suggest you got burned. If it's just darkness that's blotchy and rising to the surface, that would be the coffee grounding you have read about but suggest you don't have. Sometimes coffee grounds can happen while the treatment is going on actually; sometimes it takes a few days. It depends on the depth of the brown pigment that is rising. If you have concerns, you should always be able to contact the office that did your treatment. They should be able to see you and/or go over normal post care regimens.

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.