IPL– Five Top Questions

IPL laser treatments are one of the fastest growing anti-aging  office proceedures.  When I  had IPL and posted the before, healing and after  photos, I received more questions than on any other topic.   IPL is often described as the “lunchtime laser”, but its really a bigger deal than say,  a manicure.   What I learned from the experience should  give you the tools to get the beautiful results  you want

1.  Can I have IPL while pregnant?

It’s not recommended.  IPL has never been tested during pregnancy and few if any dermatologists would do the procedure during these critical nine months. If anyone says they will do  it at this time,  run.

2.  Can I have IPL on my hands?

Yes, it works beautifully  on the hands and probably heals faster than the YAG laser I used on my hands last month.  However IPL is more expensive than the traditional laser treatment on the same area.

3. Is it true that you can get  even more dark patches from IPL?

Women whose skin is rich in pigment (   eg Hispanic, Asian, Indian and African American) should avoid IPL!!  This device “grabs”  onto melanin and can produce  splotchy, irregular  skin color.  In fact, even the  naturally palest skin, if suntanned, can get disappointing results with IPL.

4.  Any  special skin care care tips  for  IPL?

My favorite question!  Two days before the procedure, take a  Retin A holiday, and  wait 5-7 days before  resuming regular Retin A use.  For the healing week, use a very mild cleanser  (eg Cetaphil) and avoid exfoliating scrubs and glycolic acid products.  To soothe and protect the skin use a very plain moisturizer ( eg Aquaphor)  and avoid  ingredients like retinoids, vitamin C  and Alpha Hydroxy Acids. During  the day use a physical sunscreen with zinc oxide ( eg Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin).  Standard  chemical sunscreens  are potentially more irritating on just  treated skin,  but you never need a sunblock more than after  any  type of laser treatment.

5. How many IPl treatments should I have?

Most dermatologists recommend a series of two-three treatments over  a three to six month period.  I was  very happy with one treatment, but I had already my biggest, baddest  freckles removed with a YAG laser, before I was introduced to IPL.  I think it would be  wonderful to have a yearly IPL to refresh skin color and tone.   It’s a great birthday  present to a 50 plus wife and Mom  who, trust me, does not need another fruit bowl or bracelet.

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