I have many freckles on my nose. Are there any creams I can use to make them fade, or is laser treatment the only option I have?
Laser Treatment or Fade Cream for Freckles?
Doctor Answers (5)
Hyper pigmentation, treatment
The creams rarely make dramatic improvement in freckles. Retin-A, Alphahdroxy acids and Hydroquinone may help decrease the color by 10-20% but patients are rarely happy with their improvement. I have found either the MedLite laser, the Ruby laser and the IPL lasers to be most effective usually with one treatment or so, it is more effective and cost less.
Skin lightening creams
First use skin lightening creams and sunscreens, then a laser or IPL can be considered for better results. Many times, we combine these treatments for faster, quicker results. In the right hands, IPL & laser treatments are very effective.
Laser or IPL can lighten freckles but creams cannot
True freckles, as opposed to sun spots, have a deep component. The pigment in a freckle extends into the deeper layer of the skin called the derrmis.
Skin creams work primarily for superficial pigment.
Lasers, laser resurfacing of IPL (Intensed Pulsed Light) can remove deeper pigment and thus can remove freckles.
Laser or IPL treatment of individual freckles will take 2 to 3 sessions.
Laser resurfacing is a deeper treatment and can remove freckles in one session.
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Creams do not make freckles fade. Some freckles fade with time over the course of many years, but if you don’t want to wait, then you should be treated either with a Q-Switch laser to remove the freckles in 2 treatments or an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) source, which will require from 3-5 treatments. With either the Q-Switch laser or the IPL, the sessions are generally spaced one month apart.
There are many creams you can try for freckles
A laser procedure is certainly not the only option you have. There are many creams available to help. The most common is hydroquinone. In the US, there is a 2% cream available over the counter and a 4% cream that requires a prescription. Another product is called "TriLuma." It is a combination of hydroquinone, a steroid, and Retin-A. Both products are very effective. There are less "intense" treatments that are also available, such as Phyto Plus (from SkinCeuticals) and Lumixyl (from eMed). I am not sure what is available in India. Good luck.