Sun spots and Asian skin. What works best??

Hi Dr. Irwin, I am 29 years old Asian female with fair skin and have some sunspots and hyperpigmentation spots on my cheeks (unfortunately, I was not as sun-savvy when I was younger!). I have tried Retin-A + hydroquinone with no effect. I saw a dermatologist and was told to try either IPL or V-beam for my age spots - which would you recommend? I am also using Tria Age Defying laser in the meantime for prevention. I notice that I have been getting some new pigmentation - does this mean the pigment is coming to the surface or is this a warning sign to stop?!

Brown spots due to sun damage are important to treat – even at 29  –  because otherwise they will just get worse!!    Here are some thoughts for you and others with this problem:

  • On the issue of IPL vs V-beam.  In my opinion, there is no contest on this – IPL.  Why….because V-beam does very well with red but almost nothing for brown.  A good IPL system targets both brown and red and builds a little collagen.   The IPL system needs to be a good one though.  Many of the IPL systems in spas are underpowered and the staff doesn’t know how to use them properly;
  • On your topicals –  you’re only really doing about half of it if you’ve just been using Retin-A and hydroquinone.  Please see these product recommendations for pigment problems;
  • On the Tria – if any product, device, or laser makes the pigment worse …….stop using or doing it!    If it’s just bringing pigment to the surface, the pigment will slowly lighten as it sloughs off (over a 2-8 weeks).   If the pigment is getting darker, the device is actually making it worse. 

Hope this makes sense,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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