Laser Treatments for Brown Spots

Watch Dr. Irwin's short video on laser treatment options for brown spots and sun damage
  • IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) – great first treatment option for brown spots
  • Fraxel – great if you have deeper wrinkles as well
  • Yag – great for darker skin tones

Learn more about lasers for brown spots from Dermatologist Dr. Irwin:

Enjoy your visit on!

Video Transcription

Dr. Brandith Irwin:
Welcome to I’m Dr. Brandith Irwin and we are here to provide you expert advice about skincare and cosmetic dermatology. This segment is on lasers for brown spots. Which is more complicated than you would think. So I just want to tell you a little bit about the options that you have for that. The first thing I want to say is please, please, please don’t go to a mall laser shop for this. Make sure that you’ve seen a dermatologist and had your brown spots diagnosed first because there are several types of skin cancers that can look just like regular brown spots but they aren’t. And you don’t want to be treating something with a laser that later turns out to be skin cancer. Having said that, um, I think brown spots are one of the most common problems. And many of my patients say well you know some patients have hundreds of brown spots and some people just have one or two.

The approach will vary a little bit depending on how many you have. If there’s just one or two maybe a little light liquid nitrogen is fine to do on that. So but using liquid nitrogen a lot on the face over time though, what is does is tend to leave blotchy pigment which we don’t want. We want our pigment on our skin to be even and that’s the thing that lasers excel with. And that’s why they are so great for brown spots because at the end of the day and your done with your laser treatments your skin should look even in color and glowing, not brown spots here, white spots here and colored spots there.

So that’s one important fact when weighing lasers, which are a little bit more expensive for sure over some of the other options. But when you’re thinking about lasers we use all different kinds for that. Um, I would say that probably the most common laser that’s used for brown spots now is the IPL, which is intense pulse light or that laser cousin that can be tuned to different wave lengths or ranges of wave lengths in order to remove brown spots. It can be adjusted for your skin type. So if you’re really fair skinned, or you have dark, olive skin or dark, coco colored skin that can be adjusted for that laser or the IPL laser can be adjusted for your skin type. Although it’s better on lighter skin types than darker skin types. For darker skin we usually recommend a different laser for brown spot removal, very often a Yag laser or a Q-switched Yag laser. So brown spots the other nice thing about lasers is you can treat the whole face at once, Again trying to get you that even color and we often will use fractionated lasers. A Fraxel for example, or well not the Fraxel repair well sometimes the Fraxel repair. There are two different types of Fraxel’s but Fraxel’s can be used as can fractionated carbon dioxide lasers and if you have a lot of wrinkles in addition to your brown spots, the fractionated carbon dioxide laser is really wonderful. If you have a little bit of mild acne scarring in addition to your brown spots the Fraxel might be perfect for you. It kind of depends on the situation.

If your thirty years old versus being sixty-five years old. The choice of the laser will depend somewhat on your age but other kinds of problems you’re also trying to treat. And then if you have brown spots and red spots or if you just have brown spots the choice of laser will differ.  So that’s again where you need a very good cosmetic dermatologist to decide how best to spend your time and money because you really don’t want us to spend your time and money and then find that the problem has still not been addressed. So please see our in depth resource section on on these various laser if you want more information and I hope you enjoy your time on SkinTour.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!