Not all IPL technicians are created equal!
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.