Brown Spots on Face Treatment Advice

I am 39 year old female with brown spots, some freckling, broken capillaries and red blotches/rosacea, and dull skin that does not exfoliate well. Which laser treatment would be best for me? Also, in regard to the actual machine, which type is best? What is the minimum power or frequency needed for very good results? I have called several doctors and they all say their machines are best for what I need. Please help!

Doctor Answers 13


An IPL ( intense pulsed light) device would be best since it would be more effective, less expensive, less risky, and give you less downtime than a laser. An IPL which gives off light in the green part of the visible light spectrum (550 nanometers) would be the most apt. It treats both the vascular problems, rosacea, and brown spots.

A number of companies make excellent IPL machines including the Sciton IPL, the Palomar LuXG, Alma's Harmony and Cutera Limelight.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

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Best Treatment for brown spots, some freckling, broken capillaries and red blotches

Drs. Seckel and Goldberg are two of the foremost authorities in Laser Medicine. I FULLY agree with their posts. I too agree that Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is the answer to your brown spots, some freckling, broken capillaries and red blotches. I prefer the Sction IPL - termed BBL (BroadBand Light) which allows rapid skin cooling and protection with two heads making the treatment of brown spots, freckling, capillaries and red blotches MUCH easier. You may want to look Sciton BBL on YouTube to see just how painless and effective it is.

Good Luck.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Laser Treatments

There is no one machine best for everything. Treating brown spots either with a Q-switched laser or an intense pulsed light (IPL) source can be used. With a Q-switched laser, fewer treatments are required but there is some treatment-associated downtime. In the end, both of these devices can work for the treatment of brown spots but there is no machine perfect for everything you have described. In terms of the energy required from the machine, the same Q-switched laser from different manufacturers may be used at different energies. It is impossible without seeing you to determine the appropriate frequency or energy that you require.

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Fraxel 1927, followed by V BEAM- combination treatments work well

The best laser will really depend on close examination of your skin. IPL is not a laser, but intense pulse light- this machine is a multi-treatment device, and can treat brown spots, freckles and redness- you will need up to 3-4 treatments, as the target (brown vs red) uses different wavlenghts. I use the Sciton BBL for this job. 

I personally would advise more SPECIFIC lasers designed for the job. I like combining BBL with 1927 Fraxel. This will treat the majority of your brown pigmentation in the one session. Your rosacea may get worse, I cover everyone with doxycycline for 2 weeks. 

I would then use a laser such as V BEAM vascular PDL to treat the redness. You may need 2-3 treatments. The results would be better with combination treatments that are specific to your skin condition. 


Dr Davin Lim
Laser and Cosmetic Dermatologist

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

IPL for lentigos and rosacea

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is great at targeting brown spots from age, known as lentigos, as well as facial capillaries, and redness from rosacea.  The IPL is not technically a laser but uses light energy focused and filtered to specific wavelengths based on the condition being treated.  This light energy triggers skin renewal in the targeted cells and can be highly focused to resolve particular skin conditions. Many companies produce quality IPL devices.  The settings used depend on the condition being treated and your skin type.  An experienced provider will determine settings that effectively target the concern without causing side effects.  Most conditions require a series of treatments with the IPL to resolve, but your provider should provide an estimate of the number of treatments required.  Our office uses the Ellman Medley IPL and typically recommends a series of three treatments to obtain maximal results.

Kent V. Hasen, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Combo works best

From what you have described Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) would likely work well.  The broad spectrum of light can help with brown and red.  We typically do a series to treatments and follow them up with a complimentary VBeam pulsed dye laser treatment for stubborn vessels and a q-switched laser for stubborn brown spots.

Jerome Potozkin, MD
Danville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Treatment for Age Spots

You should look into laser treatments with Spectra. Spectra is a dual mode Q-switched laser with four wavelengths. The versatility for treatment is possible with 532, 585, 650 and 1,064 nanometer options. The longer wavelength allows for treatment on those with darker skin and pigmented lesions. Multiple laser treatments may be required on your age spot issues.

Additionally, you may also benefit from Fraxel DUAL. The Fraxel DUAL features both the 1,927 nanometer wavelength and 1,550-nanometer wavelength laser option. The latter wavelength penetrates skin deeper more prominent cases.

It’s still important to consult with a board certified specialist to determine the best course of treatment. Differences in pigment, skin type and depth of age spots are all guiding factors for a laser treatment.


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Brown spots on face treatment advice

Doing a treatment that it is a pulsed light treatment, often referred to as a "Photofacial"  would be beneficial to help with the pigmentation issues as well as the vascular issues you mentioned.

There are a variety of machines that provide "Photofacials". The Harmony AFT Laser offers an effective treatment with fewer side effects  than many previous machines. 

The settings vary on each patient depending on their skin type and issues.


Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Brown spots, red blotches and dull skin is best treated with IPLs and chemical peels.

Both a series of IPLs and chemical peels are needed to remove brown spots, red blotches and dull skin.  Usually I perform both an IPL treatment and a light TCA chemical peel at the same visit and do a series of 5 treatments about 2 weeks apart for good results for roughly $3000 for the series.  Your skin will look great and healthy with no down time.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

IPL is great for brown spots and broken capillaries and rosacea

I will completely agree that the best laser for what you have is IPL which also has no recovery and virtually no risk. You need a series of treatments but the benefits will be very visible.

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.