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Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

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Old 03-14-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
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amg250 HB User
Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

Good news: We have finally found an acne treatment that has almost totally cleared up my daughter's skin. Bad news: Very expensive.
My 17-yr. old daughter has had moderate acne since she was 11. We tried EVERYTHING except Accutane, which we were too afraid of. Her emotional state was of the greatest concern to me, as I watched her try to deal with the embarrassment, anger, depression, and cruelty of classmates for seven long years. She became withdrawn and sad. I was so frustrated -- why can't someone DO something???!!! For a kid to have to go through this emotional torture is heartbreaking. Fortunately, as she got a little older, she was able to handle it a lot better, but still would end up in tears on her really "bad face days." We thought there was nothing left for us to do. But, somehow, I heard about IPL with Levulan. This is a high intensity light treatment used in conjunction with a topical solution. It is only done by a dermatologist. We used the IPL (Intense pulsed light) as opposed to the "blue" light, as it is supposedly more effective on stubborn acne. Usually, a series of treatments is needed. Our derm charged $575.00 per treatment, but with a package of 5, the fifth was free. (whoop-de-doo). We were told that most of his patients saw improvement after about the third treatment. There is some down-time, as the face gets extremely red for a few days, then flaky for a few days more. Also, you can not go into daylight for 24 hours, not even on a gloomy day. The treatment itself is relatively painless, however. So, we decided to go for it -- even though it was a financial strain, I couldn't bear to see my daughter go on without at least giving this one last shot. Well, after the third treatment -- no improvement. After the fourth -- nothing. After the fifth -- nothing. My daughter was getting even more upset, since she had to give up all her social time each time she had a treatment done (they are done about a month apart). The doctor kept insisting that there is always one "magic" treatment, that really does the trick -- but it takes longer for some people. So now our package deal was over. Further treatments would cost more. He urged us not to give up and offered us a discount for the next treatment. (I know it sounds like he was just trying to sell us more treatments, but he was very sympathetic and caring throughout all this and genuinely wanted to help her). He said the most he had to do on a patient was 8 treatments and he only had one patient that had no improvement and that was because she quit after the 5 treatments. So we went with one more (the sixth treatment). Well, that was "the one." About a week after that treatment, her skin looked pretty clear, then clearer each day. It's been about a month now and she looks almost flawless. We are afraid to be too happy -- it just seems to good to be true. We would have been satisfied with 50% improvement, but this is more like 95%. Supposedly, your skin doesn't even reach the epitome of its improvement until one year after you start treatments. She started last summer so it should get even better from now on. It has also improved the redness and scarring she had. We just can't believe it. I guess sometimes you really do get what you pay for. She's also using a Retinal cream at night, but that's it. So, this seems to work for almost everyone -- what it does is target the overproductive sebaceous glands and shrink them to reduce the sebum. It is safe (it is actually used to treat skin cancers) and there are no side effects, other than the initial down time. We've been told we may need a "maintenance" treatment now and then, maybe once a year or so, but that's definitely do-able to be rid of this horrible condition. As a parent, I would have spent twice as much to ease my daughter's pain. I suppose there are people out there who have spent this kind of money on this treatment and it didn't work for them. All I can say is, it was a miracle for us.

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Old 03-20-2007, 05:45 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
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rndiva22 HB User
Re: Expensive cure

heyy can you please give me the name of the doctor..i am willing to pay anything if it will get rid of my acne..

Last edited by moderator2; 03-20-2007 at 05:51 PM. Reason: please read, know and follow the posting policy

Old 03-23-2007, 08:19 AM   #3
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amg250 HB User
Re: Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and the medical office was in San Ramon, CA. But I'm sure you can find a dermatologist in your area who does this procedure. Only a few have the equipment so you may have to call around. Good luck.

Last edited by amg250; 03-23-2007 at 08:31 AM.

Old 03-26-2007, 01:27 PM   #4
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laindenver HB User
Re: Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

I've been considering this treatment and wanted to know if it helped with scars and did she purge and break out more from any of the treatments? Also did your daughter have cystic acne? Thanks so much and I'm so glad your daughter is no longer suffering.

Old 04-04-2007, 08:21 AM   #5
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Re: Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

She did "erupt" pretty bad only after the second treatment, but the doctor warned us that may happen at any point. After that, none of the subsequent treatments made her break out more than usual. There didn't seem to be any improvement at all until after the 6th treatment (including scar improvement) but it has now been a few months since that treatment and the redness from the scars is greatly improved, along with the overall texture of her skin. She did not have pitted scars, nor did she have cystic acne. But from what I'm told, this treatment is supposed to be actually the preferred method for cystic acne.

Ironically, even though she never had cystic acne, four days before her prom she got a HUGE cyst on her chin (wouldn't you know). This was after her improvement so here was this monster zit on an otherwise clear face. And right before prom. I took her in and her doctor injected a bit of diluted cortisone into the cyst and it was gone in two days. Disaster avoided. Just when things were going so well. But her skin is still looking great overall.

I'd feel awful if anyone spent so much money because of our success story and it didn't work for them, but honestly, our derm says every patient of his has seen at least some improvement, most of them dramatic.

Thanks for your kind words and best of luck to you. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Old 04-05-2007, 06:46 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 76
ambb106 HB User
Re: Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

Im so happy to have read your story,, My acne is not bad enough to pay that much but It really makes me feel good knowing that somone has beat it.. tell your daughter that she is very lucky

Old 04-05-2007, 09:36 PM   #7
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amg250 HB User
Re: Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

Thanks so much. We are still afraid to be too happy about it all. After dealing with it for so long, it just seems amazing that it could just be "gone." We'll have to see how long it lasts.

Old 07-08-2007, 08:10 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Canada
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kj137 HB User
Re: Expensive cure - Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) with Levulan

Hi guys!!
I've had severe scarring acne in the past too, and this IPL treatment seriously was the golden ticket! I've tried everything, from proactiv to Diane-35 to topical antibiotics and it never completely got rid of my acne, but this seriously gave my skin a shove in the right direction. It was a bit cheaper for me per treatment (about $250), but that was without that topical cream thing. It also smoothes out your skin and gets rid of any other redness or blotchyness, which really helped make my skin absolutely glow!!

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