What's the most effective treatment for facial sun spots?

What is the most effective treatment for facial sun spots, and what is the best cream to prevent them besides SPF?

Doctor Answers 4

Treatments for Facial Sun Spots

We have different treatments for sun damage...

Dark Spots – If you are a patient who is interested in getting rid of dark spots on the face, chest, arms, hands or legs the Gentle Max Pro Alexandrite resurfacing treatment will quickly and easily eliminate them, leaving the skin clear and youthful. The number of treatments will depend on your skin—and how many brown spots you have. Expect that you might need one to several treatments over the course of several weeks to get rid of the dark spots entirely. Following the treatment, any spots treated by this laser will become darker in color, scab and gently flake off. Total downtime can vary from two to five days. This laser is brilliant! It’s quick, there is no scarring and very little downtime.

Discoloration, Melasma and Redness – To treat the whole face, especially freckles I recommend the IPL (Intense Pulse Light or Photo Rejuvenation) treatment. Focusing on achieving a beautiful even skin tone all over, this treatment will remove any superficial discoloration. There is no downtime with this treatment; you will walk out of the office with noticeable improvement in brown hyperpigmented areas, as well as a reduction in overall redness. A series of treatments may be recommended.

Anti-aging, Rejuvenation and Dark Spots – A few times a year I highly recommend doing a Retinol Peel. These are our deeper peels, which also go by names like the Vitamin A Peel or Retinoic Acid Peel. This peel treatment delivers a stronger concentration of acids than your professional in-office no downtime peel. It is followed by a high dose of retinol meant to maximize ingredient penetration and absorption of the anti-aging actives. A Vitamin A Peel is suitable for all skin types and will gently remove dead skin cells and promote a healthier looking skin. Your skin will be glowing, softer and with a smoother more even skin tone. Downtime is 5 to 7 days and involves facial peeling as well as staying out of the sun. Afterwards it is recommended to use gentle products (such as a moisturizer and face wash) with simple non-irritating ingredients.

Keep in mind, regardless of these amazing treatments, you should never go in the sun unprotected. Dark spots will return if you do not wear sunscreen or increase your level of SPF. Sun damage can happen all year-round. Dark spots, redness and freckles are all ways your skin is talking to you, and telling you that it has had too much UVA/UVB exposure.


New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Facial sun spots

There are so many treatments that help with brown spots that it really depends on your skin types and the types of brown spots you have. Chemical peels work very well for some forms of pigment while Photofacials work better for others. Antioxidants and Retinols are both crucial in preventing and correcting pigmentation. The best thing to do is to go see a plastic surgeon or Dermatologist for a consultation.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Sun Spot Treatment

There are many options for sun spots, if they are true sun spots and not melasma (which is much more difficult to treat).  See a cosmetic dermatologist because if you have a few sun spots, you will continue to get more no matter what you do to your skin.  You will need a good topical bleaching regimen and broad spectrum sunscreen that protects you against long wave UVA.  Peels, laser treatments, and pulsed light treatments are available and typically all work well.  But, it all depends on how experienced the person is with the treatment they are offering.  It is best to find someone you trust with a good reputation and who has advanced training in laser, peels, and light treatments.  I wish you the best of luck, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Laser for Sun Spots

Hi Ms. Petite.  If you have sun damage (freckles or sun spots) then a cream will likeley not do much for you.  You should consider q-switched laser treatments (we offer this method) or IPL (less desirable as it my not remove them completely). 

Make sure before you choose one of these methods that what you are seeing is not Melasma as if you do have Melasma (and are mistaking it for sun damage) then lasers would not be the best option and hydroquinone bleaching products would be preferable.

You can view some photos of before and after pictures for sun spots with laser treatments by clicking on the link below.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 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.