Age Spots on Arms: Fraxel Alternatives

I had 4 fraxel treatments on my entire arms to treat age spots. They did not work. The doctor suggested hydroquinine cream for the summer and also treated the larger ones with liquid nitrogen (?). So far after 2 months, I still have NO visible results. The doctor suggested 1-2 complimentary IPL treatments in the fall but am concerned they won't work either. Additionally, my skin actually appears crepey which I don't recall before the fraxel. I spent $3000 which is not easy for me to come by. Any treament suggestions or alternatives?

Doctor Answers 6

Fraxel for Brown Spots

The Fraxel Restore is a great resurfacing device.  However, the best lasers to treat brown spots in the arms are Q-switched lasers such as a Q switched Nd:Yag or Alexandrite laser.  In my experience they are more effective and the treatments are less costly.

Danville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Results from Fraxel on arms can vary.

Fraxel Dual is the best laser that I have seen for treating brown spots on the arms and hands.  In fact it has replaced the IPL for this particular indication (I still love my IPL for redness).  Your lack of results may be due to sun exposure between treatments, settings on the laser used for your treatments or perhaps your doctor has the older laser (not the Dual).  It seems that you doc is trying hard to accomplish your goal with complementary treatments and Liquid N2 ( still an excellent way to remove a few big spots).  I think you are on the right track, not everyone gets the best results and your do is giving you good alternatives.

Susan Van Dyke, MD
Paradise Valley Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Fraxel for Brown Spots on Arms


Fraxel Restore is fractionated Erbium Laser which is set on varying densities or how close the dots of laser light are set together based on the patient's skin type.  What we do in our office is that we realize that since the dots of laser light are not set together, they will not completely remove a sun spot.  We add in a complimentaty IPL which removes any residual brown spots 3 weeks after a Restore treatment.   IPL is based on targeting brown and red pigment so any brown spots usually fall off within 4-7 days after an IPL. Patients are very happy with results. 

Grace Liu, MD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Treatment for Brown Spots

I think the the Alexandrite laser works best on brown, sun freckles or sunspots.  I use the Fraxel laser to improve texture, for tightening, and toning.  However, brown spots respond best to the Candela alexandrite laser.  Often, only 1 treatment is needed, and it is very effective.

Mandy Lynn Warthan, MD
Dallas Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Treating age spots on the arms

If you have flat brown age spots or freckles that you want to treat, the best option may be intense pulsed light (IPL). IPL is one of the best treatments for brown pigment.

Fraxel is a great treatment for texture and it helps lighten brown pigment to some degree, but pigment isn't the primary target for Fraxel like it is for IPL.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

There are treatment options that work

The q-switched alexandrite laser made by Candela is our favorite tools for treating age spots on the arms. If performed by a skilled dermatologist, you should see significant improvement in one treatment. Dr. Liz Tansey and Tina Alster are excellent and located close to you.

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 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.