Are at Home Photofacial Units Effective for Dark Spots?

I'm Asian and have light-olive skin tone. Two years ago, I had a Photofacial done to get rid of a spot. This year, the mark came back bigger and darker. Why does the mark came back after a year? Does this mean I'm not a good candidate for Photofacial? I am afraid to try the treatment again, so I'd like to try the at-home LED (red + infra-red) light therapy treatment. The company claims that their unit would help on diminishing wrinkles, age spots, hyperpigmentation, and even pore size. Do you think this unit would help?

Doctor Answers 2


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It is important to know if there is enough contrast between your skin type and the color of the spot that is being treated.  If there is not too much contrast, then the results will be minimal to none.  Remember, the effects of photofacial treatments are not permanent, but rather to maintain. 

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Home LED best in combo with other treatments

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If you are Asian, even if light skin, there may not be enough contrast between your skin color and the brown spots for the home Photofacial unit to function at a level that is effective. A level that is too high may lead to a burn or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) which is darkness after a treatment or injury or rash.

The LED is likely very safe but may not do all you want in removal of the brown spots. Its role may be more in maintenance after a treatment such as photofacial or gentlelase for brown spots or a q-switched laser to remove brown spots. LEDs are reported to help skin texture and tone but probalby only to small degree.

The dark spot comes back each year as lentigos or brown spots in the skin commonly recur yearly with sun expsoure. If there is any change in a dark spot or any irregularity to the border or lack of uniform color, it is prudent to have the spot checked by a dermatologist prior to any treatment. Without extremely good sun protection including sun avoidance, brown spots are going to continue to occur on your skin. A topical skin care product regimen consisting of a broad spectrum sun block, retinol or tretinoin and an antioxidant, can help prevent sundamage.

Elizabeth F. Rostan, MD
Charlotte Dermatologist

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.