Which Works Best for Age Spots, Broken Capillaries, Minor Wrinkles and Acne Scars?

...and redness, and minor loss of firmness? Affirm laser or IPL treatments? And, if you say Affirm -- how many treatments and how far apart? Affirm seems MUCH more expensive -- is it really worth it? And if you say IPL -- how many treatments and how far apart? Which mfg/brand/type? Thanks! I'm 46 with type II skin and I don't smoke. I can "see" my age spots more, lately, and my texture just isn't what it used to be... I want to invest in myself -- and I want the most bang for my $ and my time. Also, what treatments would you suggest as "compliments" to either Affirm/IPL? And, other than SPF 30 sunscreen, everyday, what else can I do to keep my complexion "ageless"?

Doctor Answers 3

Which Lasers for Multiple Issues

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We would not suggest the Affirm laser or IPL simply because the number of issues you are trying to address requires more than one piece of equipment to address them all effectively.

We refer to the IPL as the printer/fax/copier/scanner of the cosmetic world. It is the jack of all trades and master of none. Check into the following lasers for the conditions you mentioned. They are the gold standard for the conditions you are looking to treat.

  • Age Spots - q-switched lasers including the Hoya Conbio Medlite C6.
  • Broken Capillaries/Redness - Pulsed dye (redness/small capillaries) including the Cynosure V-Star and Candela V-Beam
  • Minor Wrinkles & Acne Scars - Fractionated lasers, full CO2 or Erbium resurfacing including Sciton (Erbium) and Fraxel (fractionated).

While we do agree that IPL is an option for you, it will not offer a change for acne scars and fine lines and will only create a temporary blanching of age spots, q-switched lasers can remove them permanently.

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Many options that all play a part

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Many options exist for all of your concerns. One treatment for all of them might be a little more difficult.

For capillaries, IPL can really help without much downtime. The V Beam, with its 585nm to 590nm wavelength, is specific for vessels that are superficial and small. Sometimes you can get bruises from this treatment, and that's why many clinicians like IPL instead.

For fine wrinkles, being on a Retinol complex can help. We have SkinMedica. Also, CO2 lasers and superficial peels can help for the fine wrinkles. Skin tightening can be carried out through any peels, but CO2 resurfacing can carry the most significant tightening. Affirm can improve skin tightening as well, but the results are more subtle and you need multiple treatments. Affirm can also help with acne scarring, but again, the results are more subtle.

CO2 resurfacing, dermabrasion, and deeper peels, along with adjunctive techniques can help with acne scarring. Age spots can be improved with CO2 resurfacing, and IPL. Co2 resurfacing has more downtime and so you would need to take some time off. IPL has little to mostly no downtime but takes multiple treatments.

Most importantly, you want to go to someone that wants to make sure that you are happy with the results. There are doctors out there that will really take care of you and finding that right doctor is the challenge.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

IPL for age spots and capillaries

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I think that your best value is the IPL. This will do a nice job on the "age spots" and also help reduce capillaries. It will not do much to increase the skin firmness. I recommend 3 treatments 4 weeks apart.

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