My IPL Laser Experience
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Hi ladies and gents - so I was at my dermatologists office for a routine visit and decided to ask the doc about a sun spot blotch that bothered me. She mentioned a fade cream or laser treatment and a visit to the esthetician (who was part of the doctor's office practice). After assessing said spot- the esthetician recommended an IPL laser treatment- the rest of my face wasn't really bothersome so I opted to just do a spot treatment. I went in to get a test spot done first - this was a quick laser test spot done near one's jaw bone to determine skin's reaction before the official treatment. Make sure your provider offers this option! The doc said my skin type was the easiest to treat via IPL - very fair skin with a brown spot. The idea is that the laser can most easily detect and pull up the dark pigment with the fair skin contrast. I was told not to tan or spray tan beforehand to lessen the color contrast between the fair skin and the dark spot.
The day of the appointment I went in with a clean face. The esthetician put lead goggles over my eyes to protect them from the laser. The machine is a little noisy, and from it stems the laser wand. After putting some lotion on my face, she told me to stay still and touched the wand to my spot and pressed a button. It felt like a rubber band snapped on my face for 2 seconds, then nothing- we were done. I could see the red laser kind of inside my eye when it fired for a second, but no eye problems after. No residual pain or redness. She put sunscreen on me and off I went. She said within 1 week I'd know if I needed to come back for a 2nd treatment but she was hopeful I wouldn't for just the spot. For a full face, it usually takes 3-4 treatments, each 4 weeks apart. My spot treatment was $100, so the full face would be a lot more!
So what happened next? Within a couple hours the spot got darker- eeekkk! But she told me this would happen so I wasn't too worried. Every day the spot changed a little more- first getting darker then starting to appear to scab, then gain texture to the scab, then eventually to flake off to nothing! I could cover it up fine as it healed and 1 week wasn't terribly long to wait. The pigment slowly raised to the surface layer of skin and then disappeared. You should not pick at it, scrub it, etc. just let it be.
There is always a chance the spot can come back in the same spot, but to minimize this wear sunscreen every day. I love Elta MD tinted SPF 40 ($35)- no scent, light weight (order it online). As far as the full face treatment? I can't say - if you have lots of spots, etc. it may be hard to have multiple spots darken at once and wait until they slough off for 4 weeks until you can have your 2nd treatment. Maybe I'm just impatient, if the end result was no spots I may take the chance. My recommendation is to get these types of procedures done within a physicians office, rather then a spa. I would certainly do a spot treatment again if I needed it, I was very pleased with the results. One treatment was enough for me (see below photos day 1 - 6). I hope you find some helpful info in my story and photos below!