Two years ago I went to a doctor to have some brown spots removed. She suggested IPL and said I would need five sessions, thirty days apart. That not only would it get rid of brown spots but make my skin look 10 years younger. My sister had it done and she said it helped rid her of brown spots on her skin and she thought may have helped with small wrinkles. She could not for sure state that since she also got botox and fillers a couple times a year. She is over five years old than me and had been doing it for a couple of years.
After interviewing three doctors (not a medspa) I went with a doctor who had said she had been doing this for 3 years and trained others. She also many of her own photos of before and after in the waiting room also. The first time she did the IPL, she numbed my skin, put little plastic googles on my eyes. It was not that bad like a light sunburn as stated in the paperwork she gave me for side-effects along with brown flecking. I was pretty satisfied of the results and kept pictures of before and after for myself though she also took pictures too.
On the second IPL she said she wanted to give me some tightness and firming along with be able to reach some of the underlining light brown areas. She said she was turning it up one level and that my skin would respond well to this and I would love the results. Oh yes she told me for $500.00 she would do my neck and chest since I was a prime candidate for the treatment. I expressed this stung quite a bit more than last time but she said this was normal. I went home and had to put cold paks on face because the heat got more intense. I called the doctor about six hours later before the office closed since it was before a three day weekend. She told me to continue with the cold paks and keep it moist with the serum she gave me and call on Tuesday if I needed.
I watched as my skin as it crinkled and shriveled and lines emerged as the days went on so I called and they got me in the next day. After seeing the doctor she said this is normal and that it would peel off and would reveal fresh new skin. After two weeks my skin did some peeling but still looked so dry, with hypo and hyperpigmentation, pits, lines, and and pores had enlarged.
I went back to the doctor two weeks later. I was left waiting over an hour and than one of her assistants came out and said that my so skin looked great, that was exaggerating, and that there was nothing wrong. I had never seen her before and she had never examined my skin before. I also said that to her and asked to have the doctor see me. When the doctor finally came out she barely glanced at me and said if I was not happy with the results she wanted to refund the balance on my prepaid treatments, and that she would not treat me anymore. She said IPL was not able to damage my skin as I was saying but she never looked me in the eyes. Her staff kept their eyes down and one girl said sorry as they refunded my money. The doctor said she was busy and left me there stunned on how I was treated and the fact she would not even look at me! I have been in out of other doctor's office and only one said well maybe if she turned up to high of setting it could of burned me.
Really no solution but I do continue to warn others even if it is an experienced doctor, and you have the type of skin that should take IPL just fine that you can substain damage. I know the warnings they gave and none of the above issues are claimed. Let me tell you the icing on the cake that I have read on a medical site called Pubmed.com that a study shows that IPL can cause DNA damage and may cause the initiation of skin cancer. The topic is called Expression of p53 Protein after Nonablative Rejuvenation: The other side of the coin.