How long should the skin be red after a successful laser treatment?
I am SO glad you asked about this laser treatment. You’re right of course! How does this even make sense?
I’ll explain. First, it sounds like you were getting a “photorejuvenation” treatment with an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). This also goes by the names photofacial, BBL (broad band light) and other terms. This is not a “true” laser treatment (one wavelength), but instead a laser cousin. This is because there are “cut-off” filters on these devices which exclude all wavelengths below a certain one. Bottom Line: There are multiple wavelengths going into your skin at once.
Why the gap of 3-4 weeks between treatments?
This is because the wavelengths that go deeper into your skin need time to work. This collagen building and work on skin structures goes on where you can’t see it. It takes about 3-4 weeks for that to occur. Could you make the interval shorter? You could ….but you won’t have seen full results yet. Waiting the 3-4 weeks may save you time and money as you begin to really see the effect of the laser treatment.
Does the lack of redness or flaking pigment mean that the IPL isn’t working?
Not necessarily. It depends on your skin color and the amount of sun damage and/or flushing or blood vessels (telangectiasias) that you have. If your skin is pretty good, you really won’t see much on the surface, but you’ll get the collagen building and texture improvements anyway. If you have a lot of redness or brown spots, you might have a much more dramatic first treatment. As your skin improves, there is less on the surface for the IPL light to absorb into. You’ll notice that treatments seem easier.
It’s also possible, that the dermatologist’s office or spa were using an under powered IPL or not setting the settings correctly for your skin. We see this a lot in our community. Patients come in and say that they had 3 to 5 treatments and didn’t see any results. This is almost always a problem in spas because the companies sell weaker IPL systems to them. Also, if the nurse or “tech” (basically someone with no medical degree) doesn’t set the settings correctly, nothing will happen.
How to get the most out of an IPL treatment:
- Go to a physician’s office, and not a spa for this
- Make sure you have a consult first so you know what to expect for YOUR skin and why
- Go over the costs carefully. Is this the most cost effective device/laser for your particular skin issues
- Is the person running the laser someone with medical training like a doctor, RN, LPN, MA or a medical aesthetician.
Hope this helps,