Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) reviews

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Not all IPL technicians are created equal!
Reviewed on August 29, 2014

I rate 5 stars - if done properly

I'm so sorry to hear the horror stories you guys are sharing! I own a Laser Clinic/Corrective Esthetics shop, and also have been an Acne 'victim' since I was 9 or so.

To give you the insiders info, and not just coming from some quack esthetician looking for her next commission or tip...I can tell you a few things.

*IPL will not help acne 'scarring' - not possible in any way. IPL works beneath the skin, not the scarring on the surface.

*If you got Hyperpigmentation as a result from a medi spa visit - the technician used the wrong settings. Plugged into the IPL machine that you're skin tone was actually lighter than it was. Therefore, whatever the machine was looking for (IPL is pigment based) it was expecting you to be lighter, so if you weren't...it was trying to get you there. SUE THEM! See a dermatologist - get a bill. and take action. They have insurance, and you shouldn't have to suffer.

*If you have undesirable skin texture or form - well, its hard to get a dermatologist to point out a specific condition on that and fix it. They'll probably try to recommend like a Fraxel laser or resurfacing or something crazy like that. Tell them no dice.

When I got the IPL unit, I was breaking out (5 to 8 pimple count - even after acutane in my teens) Underground, painful jaw line lesions, and some forehead hair line. People said jawline are stress related, and well - I was just opening my clinic...rent was due, waiting on permits, no clients yet, etc. So after the wine was gone, I decided to take a dose of my own medicine/treatment. Did about 3 (at 2 week intervals)...and didn't break out for about 8 months after those treatments! It worked very well for me, and my clients as well.

The IPL targets the sebaceous gland and blasts the bacteria out. If hormones are questionable, then don't bother with the treatment. Waste of time and money. I tried doing a clients "Bac-ne" acne on the back. Then after a few treatments, no results were apparent. Then found out he was taking steroids! So our treatments were pointless. Birth control, steroids, pregnancy, breast feeding or hormone replacements will compromise the results (just like Laser Hair Removal)

What you should expect after a properly done treatment is:

Bacteria purging| You will get worse before you get better. The bacteria you see coming up was always there, however the IPL chased it out of the sebaceous gland and brought it all out at the same time (I always warn my clients 100 times prior to conducting the treatment, and ask them if they have any special events coming up weddings, etc.) its up to you to use a good salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide wash/cream following. Its all you after we bring it up and out!

*What to do following IPL*

Try not to squeeze | I know...its like an alcoholic at a Liquor Store. However, we can't walk around with gross white heads - this, I understand. Hold a hot face cloth up against the pimple for about 5 minutes. This will open the pore (heat expands) and squeeze gently with the finger tips, no nails! this will prevent scarring.

Hit the drugstore | You don't have to get the million dollar creams that the esthetician recommends to you, the drugstore will do fine. Try to find a clay mask with "Bentonite" in it, use it every second day. Salicylic acid and/or benzyl peroxide in your cream or cleanser

After the Acne is gone, or even still apparent - the best and only thing for scarring is Microdermabrasion. This can be costly, depending on where you're located (my shop $45). If your texture, pigment or smoothness is compromised by previous treatments or just a life of Acne...this will work wonders. You will need about 6 to 8 treatments (realistically - unfortunate, but a good investment), and space them out a week or 10 days apart. The skin growth cycle is every 2 weeks for the face, so essentially you develop a new layer of skin in that time. You want to beat that cycle. Think of it as digging a hole, and you keep adding more soil to the edges - the hole is the scar. Makes it deeper.

You can find email deals wherever you are, like Groupon or Dealfind - that kind of thing, which will make it more affordable for you to get the full amount of treatments required.

If you are still suffering with stubborn acne, speak to a Dermatologist and they can prescribe you an antibiotic or acutane if it's really severe. Then get some Microdermabrasion to smooth things up.

Always wear a sunscreen (specific for the face) of at least 30spf, every day. Winter, summer or even cloudy days. This is a shield for your skin, this spf protects you from all elements and carbons. And as a unspoken rule for Acne sufferers, always OIL FREE! If you're having a hard time finding moisture in the skin while going through all this, use a product that claims 'oil absorbing' cream - and apply as much as you need to, so you get your desired moisture level.

I hope my information helped anyone or someone at least! I wish everyone was in Canada where I am, I would help you all! Remember that acne isn't permanent, but you all are permanently beautiful.

Feel free to ask me questions anytime.


Works wonders on stubborn red acne scars!
Reviewed on June 28, 2014

I've had red acne scars for months. They're difficult to cover up and as a result, I feel incredibly self-conscious, like everyone is staring at my skin. I've tried creams, natural remedies, even a chemical peel. Then my aesthetician suggested we try the IPL laser. It worked immediately! I had it done Monday, and by Saturday my scars have reduced by at least 60%. I wish I had before and after pictures to show everyone.

I don't think I would recommend the laser for anyone who doesn't really have problem skin, but I would definitely encourage anyone with some stubborn redness in smaller areas to get this treatment! I'm also happy to answer any questions about the procedure!


PLEASE READ....leaves you with terrible skin texture and more pimples!!!!
Reviewed on March 7, 2014

I was told that this laser could help my skin. After having pretty close to perfect skin then putting a hand cream on my face for a month left my face with terrible acne I didn't know how to handle and wanted to get rid of it quick. Biggest mistake I think I've EVER DONE IN MY LIFE. Helped for a few weeks but now my skin texture is terrible and I don't think it will ever be the same again. It makes me depressed. Not to mention it seems to dry out your skin so the products that used to work AREN'T. Which means I'm breaking out constantly trying to figure out what my skin wants now. I'm afraid moisturizer will break me out-I used to have very oily skin. Please just wait it out----I promise it will get better, it sucks now, but don't let this ruin you for a life time.....please don't get sucked in. They told me there were no disadvantages to this procedure. They ALL LIE. Its always about money not what's best.....


Left me with hyperpigmentation
Reviewed on March 5, 2014

Since I went off birth control, I have developed cystic acne and scars. I have believed that IPL would be the answer to get nicer skin, but after 3 IPLs I was left with a hyper-pigmentation that I am unable to cover up with any make up. Every time I get out of hot shower, that hyper-pigmentation is beaming. The spots where the laser hit my skin are white and would not recommend this procedure. After consulting with few salons and getting a different answer and recommendation, I am staying away from any laser.


by Blondee89 on 04/25/2014 06:21
I am considering going on a tv show to warn ppl against ipl. I got hyper pigmentation plus terrible skin Indentions. Contact me If interested ashleymcgrail89@[link removed]
by Blondee89 on 04/25/2014 06:22
At [link removed]
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Reviewed on October 28, 2012

I'm pretty sure this started my acne. It's that simple. I never had acne as a teenager - just the odd spot. But being dark-haired, I have had hirsutism since my teens (male-pattern hair growth in a woman). I don't look like a man, and most people probably don't notice, but I have tried (and continue to try) many things to manage it over the years, and IPL was one of them.

I'm 34 now, and started IPL treatment when I was 28, in the spring of 2006. By the autumn, I had moderate acne - big, sore, swollen bumps along my jawline and on my cheeks (areas I hadn't had spots before).

I did say to the woman who did my treatment that I seemed to have developed acne while having the treatment, and asked if the two could be related. She insisted not, and that the acne would most likely be hormonal; at the time, I went along with it. But now, when I look back, I can't think of anything else that could have caused it. I had hormone tests at the time, which came back normal, and although some people said it was having my son that started it, he was two before my acne appeared and I'd long finished breast-feeding.

So however good IPL might be for treating some people's acne, I can honestly say that I think it actually started mine. I continued with the treatment for my hirsutism even after the acne appeared, and the spots didn't get any better.

I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone wanting to treat their acne. I wonder if the intense heat drastically dries out the skin, leading to the compensatory over-production of oils to re-moisturise it; this certainly seems to be where my skin has defaulted to for the last six years.


by Blondee89 on 04/25/2014 06:23
Interested in going on dr. Oz to warn ppl? Contact me at ashleymcgrail89 At [link removed]. I would love support.
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Reviewed on October 27, 2012

Waste of money. Didn't help my acne or scars at all. I got only two treatments of this and the doctor decided to try something else because he wasn't seeing the results he wanted.


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Reviewed on November 3, 2011

I did my treatments at the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic and they used the Sciton BBL profile on me. I saw noticeable results after the first 2 sessions and I finished the 8 sessions and after 6 months after the full treatment I hardly get any break-outs![link removed]


Reviewed on September 27, 2011

I spent around $500, if not more and it made my skin worse, red marked, blothcy, the large pores on my nose seem bigger and uglier... I would not recommend!


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Reviewed on July 8, 2010

I have suffered from acne since I was 11, and I have tried everything except accutane. My mom is scared to put me on accutane. A friend of my moms told us about IPL and what good results her daughter got with it. I start my first treatment on monday, but I have reasearched it and I talked to my skin care tech. IPL according to my resaerach works in two ways first it kills the bacteria in your face. The light will cause oxygen to kill of bacteria. Then there is another light that will shrink the oil glands in the face so that away they are not over producing oil. With these two factors combined treating acne with IPL is not a losing battle. According to my resaerach remisson rates last six months to a year. You may have to do a sopt treatment every few months but that beats medicines and creams. You will also want to do a chemical peel to help with the effectiveness of the IPL, it helps with getting rid of dead skin. Yes these treatments are expensive, I am suspose to only get 3 IPLS and 3 chemical peels and altogether it will cost $1300. If you think about it this is cheaper than pills,creams, and washes. One thing to keep in mind is that this is not an over night treatment it will take a few sessions to get maximum results. Yes accutane can be affective, but it doesn't always work thats rare but still. If you want to avoid accutane and actually have a chance at fighing acne this is a good option. IPL's can be performed by derms, plastic surgeons, skin care techs, and even at med spas. One minor note if you are tanned or dark skined you can still do IPL's you may need more than everyone else. I highly recomned this the girl that I know that underwent this has been in remission for over four years. Remission rates vary from person to person, but it is still worth a try.


Reviewed on April 18, 2010

I had some moderate acne that I picked at (before I knew better). This left me with some pretty severe hyperpigmentation. The IPL completely fixed these red marks in a matter of months, as opposed to the years it would have probably taken otherwise. I got a treatment every three weeks, and it probably took 6 or 7 treatments to completely eliminate the red marks. It's important to say, only invest in IPL once you're SURE that your acne is under control for good. I paid upwards of $700 total ($100 per treatment...this is a pretty good price) to get perfect skin and then I had a pretty bad flair-up a few months later. I would also suggest only going to a trained dermatologist for your treatment, not to a "medical spa." But if you have stubborn red marks definitely give this a try.