My regular dermatologist referred me to a cosmetic dermatologist to treat spider veins behind my nose. I had had them treated with laser many years ago, but they had come back. When I consulted the cosmetic dermatologist, she gave me three options for treating the spider veins. I mentioned to her that I had also wanted to ask her about options for lightening melasma and age spots, and she suggested a try a series of IPL treatments in which she could address both the spider veins and the melasma. I was somewhat anxious to avoid the other suggested treatments for the spider veins as I had put it off for so long because the previous laser treatments were quite painful.
I found the IPL treatment itself uncomfortable, but not terrible, certainly not as bad as the laser treatment behind the nose for spider veins, even when she was treating that area. I had three treatments. After the first treatment, the improvement was dramatic. There were a lot of black spots that flaked off, and the age spots were much lighter afterward. The results of the second and third treatments were much less dramatic, however. Worse, some of the areas that had seemed to lighten initially seemed to start darkening again.
At this point, I was a little unwilling to go on with IPL and asked the doctor whether she thought it was time to change methods. She said she thought it might be more worthwhile to go with a series of facial peels at this point.
After the third treatment, I will admit the melasma on my upper lip got much better. And my skin tone in general is much better. But how long will that last? The spider veins are much better, but I still use concealer on them.
The problem seems to me to be that some patients will respond better to one treatment and one to another, but there's no way to know without spending a great deal of money on one and either getting results or going on to the next thing. And one treatment works much better on one problem, while another works better on another. If IPL were more affordable, I'd be more inclined to rate my experience as worth it. But I would never consider letting someone less than an MD or a medical professional working directly under an MD do this to me. If price is an issue, be sure to read some of the more disturbing stories on this forum before you pinch pennies on IPL.