Why aren’t my IPL treatments working better for my brown spots?

I'm 52 with fair skin and I have brown spots on my face from too much sun exposure years ago.I was told that all I needed was two IPL treatments to get rid of the brown spots. I purchased a package of 2 IPL's and 2 Peels along with microderm treatments. I had two IPL's for the brown spots. I had the two peels and microderm treatments. The first IPL treatment brought up the coffee-grounds type discoloration. Then the coffee-ground appearance became lighter and eventually came off leaving my brown spots a little lighter. The second treatment did nothing at all. I went back a third time and they retreated the main spots and again nothing changed. Does this mean that they will never get any lighter? I also use a 4% hydroquinone product and tretinoin gel 0.05%. I use an SPF 50 sunscreen and avoid the sun as much as possible. Am I missing something? Should I have more IPL treatments?

I hear this question/problem A LOT!  IPL systems are numerous and not all created equally.  Some IPL systems are almost worthless in my opinion because they are underpowered and not easy to customize.  Please go to my chapter in my last book (and we may have this section on SkinTour too) about finding a good laser center.  You didn’t mention whether this was a dermatologist’s office, who was doing the treatment or what system they used.  Two systems that are excellent (if used correctly) are the Lume One IPL  or the Palomar system.

It is, however, common to have treatments 2-5 sometimes seem less dramatic because the first treatment has the most pigment to work upon, with less pigment to target each subsequent time.  Hope that makes sense.  Not sure I said that well!    Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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