Whether IPL burns are permanent depends on whether they are actually a burn, how severe they are, and the location of the burn. Some uses of IPL will temporarily result in skin that looks and feels like a minor burn, but is not.

What is IPL treatment? Is it the same as laser treatment?

IPL stands for intense pulsed light used to correct sun-induced changes on the body.

IPL is not the same as laser. Although lasers and IPL treat some of the same conditions, they are different devices.

Laser is also an acronym.  It stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. According to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, lasers are particles of light that are “coherent” (i.e., all the same wavelength) and directional. While IPL uses different wave lengths and the full spectrum of light, lasers have a very tight beam that stays focused and does not diffuse. Laser light can cut through multiple layers of skin and tissue.

How can I tell if I have a burn?

Many studies have touted the safety of IRL treatment. A 2012 article in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that IPL treatment is a “highly versatile, safe, and effective modality.” Nevertheless, burns are possible with IPL.

However, determining whether you have a burn can be difficult as normal side effects of IPL treatment are similar to burn symptoms. You will likely experience redness, stinging, and bruising after an IPL treatment. The stinging, redness, and bruising should subside within a few days. You might also see brown spots darken and then fall off after a few days.

You might have a burn if:

  • The redness and stinging does not go away
  • You are facing complications
  • The area looks infected
  • The area has blisters or has crusted over
  • The area has welts or a rash
  • Those brown spots do not peel off after a few days

If you have any side effects or if you just do not feel right after your IPL treatment, go to the doctor. She can let you know if what you are feeling or seeing is completely normal or if you need specialized treatment for a burn.

How long might an IPL burn last?

If you indeed have a burn, the amount of time it lasts will depend on several factors. These factors include the location and severity of the burn, and the medical treatment and follow-up. Just as with other burns, the possibilities range from mild burns with no scarring to serious burns with permanent scars.

For example, a first-degree burn will likely only last a few days. A second-degree burn might last a few weeks, while a third- or fourth-degree burn can take months to heal and will likely leave permanent scars. 

Can I expedite the healing process for my IPL burn?

In some cases, yes. You can help expedite the healing process by:

  • Keeping your burn moisturized and protected from contaminants. Consider applying a dressing or ointment to your burn. (Remember to always ask your doctor before applying anything to a burn.)
  • Staying out of the sun. Sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation (i.e., a darkening of certain patches of the skin) and make your scars more apparent.
  • Drinking water. You need to stay hydrated. Drinking water helps keep skin hydrated which you need to heal your burn.

To minimize scarring, you might consider vitamin E oil or aloe vera. As always, ask your doctor first.

Can I recover compensation for my burn?

Burn care can be expensive, even if you have a relatively minor burn. Fortunately, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable for your burns. You might be able to hold the dermatologist liable if she made a mistake that caused your burn. You might also be able to hold the clinic liable if it knowingly hired an unqualified or reckless dermatologist.

Filing a claim against a dermatologist or her employer can be difficult. Our legal referral specialists will connect you with a lawyer who can help you. Call us today at 844-549-8774.