Light Brown Spots on Face: IPL? (photo)

I am 35, half-Asian, half-Caucasian, so my skin tends to be more yellowish than pinkish and it scars brown. I have developed some brown spots on my cheeks, and one on my temple, no doubt from sun damage. I wear SPF protection daily but that started in my late 20s; before that, I wasn't so careful. After researching online, i realize that my spots are very light so I wonder if I should be considering IPL or if it'll make the condition worse. (My pics came out a bit reddish, sorry!)

Doctor Answers 9

Brown spots

For your skin type, you may be a better candidate for trying topical creams such as a combination of hydroquinone cream and tretinoin.  

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Lasers are safer than IPL for treating light brown skin

Though good results can be obtained using IPL to treat scattered dark spots on light brown skin it is generally a trickier process as the size of the treatment tip usually forces much larger ares to be treated, resulting in treatment of normal skin around the spot. Some newer IPL's have the capability of treating small spots, but not alldo. If the whole area is being treted then the settings have to be dialed back and several treatment sessions are necessary . I much prefer using the alexandrite laser,as a very small spot can be used to target just the unwanted spots.However since you "scar brown" even this needs to be done lightly in order to avoid stimulating brown pigment while healing.

Richard Fitzpatrick, MD (in memoriam)
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

IPL is good choice for brown sp

You could have an IPL treatment or a chemical peel.  Either one will give you nice results and remove your brown spots. As long as you are not tan or dark, you said half Asian skin type, the IPL is a goof choice.  For darker skin types I often prefer chemical peels.

Heather Haley, MD
Mobile Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

IPL is an option but you may consider chemical treatments.

Asian skin is treated more conservatively than caucasian skin with IPL.  Pre treating the skin with 4% hydroquinone for 4-6 weeks  is often necessary prepare Asian skin for IPL.  I recommend that you have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist  to assess your skin type and hyperpigmentation.  There are other options for treating your brown spots such as Cosmelan MD. Good luck!

Dan Mills, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Treating brown spots in Asian skin

Best to have your skin properly examined by a dermatologist to review the best treatment options. You may do sufficiently well with a chemical peel or some creams, although IPL is reasonable as well as liquid nitrogen. ~Dr. Benjamin Barankin, Toronto Dermatology Centre.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

IPL to reduce brown spots in Asian skin

Your complexion makes you an excellent candidate to achieve significant improvement with IPL.  Not all treatments are created equal, but in the right hands you will see very nice results IPL.  

Donald B. Yoo, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

IPL for brown spots

You can do IPL/BBL to improve your issues with facial pigmentation but given your skin type it will need to be done conservatively and will require several treatments. 

Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

IPL laser for Asian skin

You have some mild sun damage that needs to be improved.  Definitely use a high SPF in the future.  Due to the delicate nature of your skin I would stay away from IPL laser and would help treat your skin with TCA peels.  They will ultimately be easier, less tricky, and more effective with you combined with the proper topical creams.  You should have an excellent result.  Please remember to always use sun block so that you don't get new spots!

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews


Yes, IPL would be a great option for your sundamage.  Multiple treatments are usually necessary for optimal results. 


Dr. Grant Stevens          Marina Plastic Surgery Associates         Marina del Rey, CA        The Institute


Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 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.