Maas Clinic
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San Francisco, CA 94115

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Can I Use Topical Agents Before IPL?

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    "There was a question about the use of topical agents in skin care before getting a treatment with laser IPL, more specifically, since so many people are using Tretinoin or the Retin-A molecule, which I think is a critical part of any skin care program is, "can you use these agents before a treatment with Intense Pulsed Light IPL or photo rejuvenation?"

    The simple answer to that question is "Yes".

    We typically will have people stopping the agents, just because it can be a little irritating to the skin within week or so before the treatment but it's really not absolutely necessary. As most people know, Tretinoin and Retin-A is very sun sensitizing but in those cases its UVA or UVB ultraviolet radiation, the radiation that we see from the sun or from tanning booth, is really a sensitizing agent when you're using this molecules on your skin.

    So they're not an integral part of IPL or photo rejuvenation treatment but they're not contraindications either. They are things that we are cautious about when people are using them, especially if they're using high concentrations, just because of the irritation that it can cause around the time of the treatment.

    Our advice when patients are getting IPL is to stop a few days before hand. If they forget or they don't stop it's not a contraindication, we're just cautious in how we deliver the energy. And, again IPL is a treatment that targets pigments. Red and brown in the skin that are unwanted and it can be treated anywhere in the body hands, arms, chest, face wherever there's vessels, veins or brown spots that we don't want or need on our skin.

    If you have any other questions about IPL treatments, what you can or you can't use around them or even how the systems used to treat this things, please don't hesitate to contact us at our video blog at You can certainly call us also.

    We're always happy to answer your questions this is Dr. Corey Maas on Looking Your Best."