Could a laser like the IPL spead a skin cancer?
Wow – she really misled you on this one. In fact, it’s the reverse, assuming you are under the care of dermatologist medically already.
Any laser that helps to remove and/or repair sun damaged skin has a beneficial effect on precancers (actinic keratoses) in the skin. As for actual skin cancers, we always insist that patients have these treated first (medical always before aesthetic!), but there would be a neutral effect if, by accident, one was lasered over. In other words, the skin cancer would not be made worse or better by the laser. It would still need surgery or red light.
There is a signifcant amount of data that resurfacing lasers, like the Fraxel and CO2 lasers, help to improve precancerous skin conditions and sun damage. An IPL doesn’t penetrate the skin so it doesn’t improve sun damage as much, but it won’t make anything worse. Next to your doctor’s medical treatment, the most important things are consistent sunscreen use and a vitamin A cream (retinoid) to help with preventiona and repair.
In my opinion, another good reason that lasers should not be done in spas by aestheticians or “technicians” because they have no medical training or medical supervision. (I know yours was done in your doctor’s office.) More on sun damage.
Hope this helps, Dr. I