IPL for the Treatment of a Facial Nevus?

I am a 26 yr old male patient, complaining of a facial nevus on the left beard area. i was once told its a Beckers nevus. Am undergoing IPL treatment now for depigmentation, wht results and side effects should i expect? Thanks

Doctor Answers 1

Lasers effective treatment for Becker's Nevus

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Becker's nevus, named after American dermatologist Sam Becker, not the co-founder of Steely Dan Walter Becker, is a pigmented nevus ( mole) which darkens and develops hair, usually with the onset of adolescence. It is unusual to develop a Becker's nevus on the face as most such lesions occur on the shoulder, scapula ( shoulder blade) or upper chest. Like you, most patients are male (5:1) and it is felt that androgens cause these growths to become more prominent. Interestingly, acne often develops in this unsightly patch. 

 Although there are reports that melanoma can develop in a Becker's nevus, their treatment is generally considered cosmetic. Lasers have dramatically improved the success rate and appearance of such treatment which was once limited to surgery. While the Q switched ruby laser was originally used, Velez et al ( British Journal of Dermatology, Feb. 2005)  showed that the erbium: Yag laser is superior. The long pulsed Alexandrite laser has also been successfully utilized ( Derm. Surg, July 2009). I am less familiar with the use of IPL for treating these lesions, but the pain should be minimal if a cooling device is used in conjunction with the treatment. This also should prevent burning or other side effects from the treatment.

The pigmentation in a Becker's nevus is lodged in the keratinocytes rather than the dermis so, it should respond to IPL treatment . Nonetheless, it seems to me that a laser would be preferable. 

   Incidentally, the American actor Richard Gere sports a Becker's nevus on his left upper back. This interesting lesion can be seen in American Gigolo or an Officer and a Gentleman. 


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