Laser Treatments for Darker Skin: Brown Spots, Lines and Skin Tightening

I want to get rid of my brown spots, lines and tighten the skin on my face. But I was told that there are no safe treatments for dark skin. I had microdermabrasion but really not satisfied with the results. Is Pearl laser any good? some advice would be so appreciated as I can not find any reliable information. many thanks

Doctor Answers (4)

Laser Treatments for Brown Spots and Skin Tightening in Darker Skin

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Laser treatments can present risk factors for patients with darker skin. However each laser system relies on a different wavelength to achieve results.

Melanin easily absorbs laser energy. So patients who have darker skin with higher levels of melanin will absorb more of the laser energy. And this can cause the skin to overheat, resulting in scars and unwanted pigmentation.


The Fraxel Dual laser and the Spectra laser uses wavelengths that will only treat the issues that need to be corrected without being absorbed by melanin in the surrounding areas.


Fraxel Dual is very effective at clearing pigmentation issues. The laser energy breaks up the pigment and the cells that contain it. It can also promote the synthesis of new collagen which enhances the firmness of your skin.


The Spectra laser system gives results that are comparable to a chemical peel. However it is far more reliable, safer and predictable than chemical peel treatments.


Basically identifying the right laser is a matter of understanding which wavelengths they use and how these wavelengths react with darker skin tones. Generally longer wavelengths (e.g. 1550,1927 and 1060) are not easily absorbed by melanin in surrounding areas.


Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Pearl laser is very good for minor discoloration from sun damage.

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The Pearl laser is great for modest hyperpigmentation from sun damage. It appears to be safe even in dark complexions. It's benefits in other typers of hyperpigmentation (eg. melasma) is doubtful. I have not found that it makes melasma worse, just that it does not help it much. In addition, the regimens for melasma, bleaching creams and the like, must still be employed.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Non-ablative fractional 1540 Erbium laser resurfacing

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Ablative lasers cause hyperpigmentation when used on dark skin.

IPL can also burn dark skin-it must be used very cautiously on darker skin. We bleach darker skin for months before trying IPL on darker skin types.

Non-ablative fractional 1540 Erbium laser resurfcaing is safe for dark skin if used at lower power settings. It is effective for pigment removal.

Be certain to find a doctor who has a lot of experience treating dark skin with laser therapy

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

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Laser treatment for brown spots

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There are numerous systems to treat brown spots. I personally like to use an IPL system for this. There is practically zero downtime and the light system does not hurt.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.