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 17


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 13 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

Brown Spots on Face Treatment

There are a number of treatments that you can use. The first step is to choose an experienced and expert board certified physician who can guide you.

1) A good sunscreen is a must - we prefer a broad spectrum at least 50 SPF for South Florida

2) Core Obagi which includes clear, blender, and Retin A

3) You may also benefit from a combination laser resurfacing treatment/intense pulse light (such as Halo Laser and BBL/ipl).

Consult with 3 experienced and expert board certified physicians to understand your options.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Treating Facial Brown Spots with Permea Technology

Perméa is the latest technology utilizing a low-power 1927 nm non-invasive fractional laser for rejuvenation and pigmentation. The Clear + Brilliant Perméa is designed to address early signs of aging and help to prevent them.The results of the treatment are both immediate and progressive. A few days after the treatment, your skin will start to feel softer, look brighter and show more even tone and reduction of brown spots.

#Permealasertreatments    #ClearandBrilliant    #brownspottreatments

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Make your decision based on the expertise of your provider, not on the machine and its settings

I would recommend a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist.  Choosing an appropriate treatment will depend on your skin type and the types of spots you have.  

The most important part of your decision-making process is choosing the right person, with enough knowledge and experience, to help you with your goals.  Choosing the right device and adjusting the settings is an art, as well as a science.

Treatment of Browns and Reds on face

Treatment of browns and reds on fair skin of the face, neck, chest arms, hands is easily done using BBL, a more sophisticated form of IPL.  This treatment is one of our treatments we refer as a 'WOW' treatment.  For those with pigment and texture we can progress beyond BBL and offer Halo Treatments which have become quite popular in our office.   Halo is a new hybrid fractional laser and is first in class in our modalities. 

Steven Swengel, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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 43 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 49 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 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.