Treatment for Stubborn Sun Damage on Neck?

I had sun damage (brown spots) on my neck and forearms treated 2 years ago with IPL (4 treatments). My arms responded great, but my neck only lightened a little bit. Any other treatments recommended? Would a TCA peel or Fraxel be worth trying to improve the discoloration on my neck? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Doctor Answers 7

Light TCA Peels and IPLs would fix photo-damaged necks

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You probably need a series of 4-5 light TCA peels such as 10-20% TCA done every 2-4 weeks, alternating with a series of 3-4 IPL treatments together at a cost of roughly $350 each one.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Fraxel is a good alternative

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Chemical peels on the arms of the medium strength, which is the level needed to improve coloration, might scar the arms so they should be avoided. Superficial peels might be done to allow topical lightening creams to be more effective. Fraxel is a very good alternative. Several Fraxel Re:store treatments can safely (there are risks with any procedure and please discuss this with your physician) treat the forearms, but no one can guarantee a result of lightening the color. In fact, there is always a small risk of laser –induced post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, in other words, darkening may occur from your pigment response to the trauma of the procedure. Sunscreen is very important to minimize the pigmentation response.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Fraxel for sun damaged neck area

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Fraxel is probably a good choice and more controllable than peels (though chemical peels are a less expensive option). With laser a physician can set the depth and coverage pattern in a way not possible with chemical peels. The Fraxel Restore procedure is performed in a series and you will see improvement following each session.

With fractional laser you don't experience a "full peel" but a dot matrix of treated and untreated skin. This hastens healing and you have no discernible sheet-like peeling.

The skin on the neck does not heal as quickly as that on the face, so care must be taken to have treatments at controlled levels no matter what treatment solution you ultimately choose.

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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Fraxel for brown discoloration on the neck

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Hi Jenny-- Its hard to say without seeing your neck, but you may have Poikiloderma of Civatte, which is basically caused by repeated sun exposure . This responds well to a series of Fraxel restore treatments, or to one Fraxel repair. I often combine the use of the Vbeam Perfecta and or the Alex Trivantage laser with the Fraxel laser to get the best results when treating this condition. The Vbeam is particularly helpful if there is a vascular component. Take care, Dr. Groff

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
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Fraxel Laser for Stubborn Brown Spots on the Neck

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Hi Jenny,

It depends on your skin color and skin type. Fraxel laser has been very effective at treating brown spots on the neck. In San Diego, Dr. William Groff, Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick, and Dr. Steven Cohen are physicians whom you can consult with to determine what might be best for your neck.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Treatment of Sun Damaged Neck Skin

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Treatment of sundamaged and photoaged neck skin is always a challenge. My preferred approach is with a series of light to medium strength chemical peels coupled with topical treatments. The neck skin is not the same as facial skin and needs to be treated with care. Scarring and other problems are more common in the neck, so conservatism is best in this area. We have had good success using this combined treatment program.


Dr. Karam

Amir M. Karam, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Treatment of the sun damamged neck area

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I would recommend long term maintenance with Retin-A but a series of chemical peels may be beneficial in this particular instance to help improve the decolte area.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.