Laser Treatment or Fade Cream for Freckles?

I have many freckles on my nose. Are there any creams I can use to make them fade, or is laser treatment the only option I have?

Doctor Answers 5

Hyper pigmentation, treatment

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The creams rarely make dramatic improvement in freckles. Retin-A, Alphahdroxy acids and Hydroquinone may help decrease the color by 10-20% but patients are rarely happy with their improvement. I have found either the MedLite laser, the Ruby laser and the IPL lasers to be most effective usually with one treatment or so, it is more effective and cost less.

Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Skin lightening creams

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First use skin lightening creams and sunscreens, then a laser or IPL can be considered for better results. Many times, we combine these treatments for faster, quicker results. In the right hands, IPL & laser treatments are very effective.


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Creams do not make freckles fade. Some freckles fade with time over the course of many years, but if you don’t want to wait, then you should be treated either with a Q-Switch laser to remove the freckles in 2 treatments or an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) source, which will require from 3-5 treatments. With either the Q-Switch laser or the IPL, the sessions are generally spaced one month apart.

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

There are many creams you can try for freckles

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A laser procedure is certainly not the only option you have. There are many creams available to help. The most common is hydroquinone. In the US, there is a 2% cream available over the counter and a 4% cream that requires a prescription. Another product is called "TriLuma." It is a combination of hydroquinone, a steroid, and Retin-A. Both products are very effective. There are less "intense" treatments that are also available, such as Phyto Plus (from SkinCeuticals) and Lumixyl (from eMed). I am not sure what is available in India. Good luck.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Laser or IPL can lighten freckles but creams cannot

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True freckles, as opposed to sun spots, have a deep component. The pigment in a freckle extends into the deeper layer of the skin called the derrmis.

Skin creams work primarily for superficial pigment.

Lasers, laser resurfacing of IPL (Intensed Pulsed Light) can remove deeper pigment and thus can remove freckles.

Laser or IPL treatment of individual freckles will take 2 to 3 sessions.

Laser resurfacing is a deeper treatment and can remove freckles in one session.

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.