I am Asian and have dark aging sun spots. What treatment would you recommend for the removal of these?

I heard IPL will scar and it will return worse in time.

Doctor Answers 8

Melarase AM and Melarase PM for dark age spots

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Dark scars can be improved with a combination of Melarase AM and Melarase PM creams, Melapads, and light chemical peels. Best, Dr. KaramanoukianLos Angeles

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Fractional Laser or Picosure after Test Patch

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Thanks for your question.

Fractional laser or Picosure is advisable after a test patch, although you must be very cautious as with Asian skin types scarring is a greater risk.

Please note, medical advice is given as general advice only and is not a substitute for a full consultation and examination.

Wishing you all the best, Dr Murray from Absolute Cosmetic Medicine

Removal of dark spots with Asian

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In removal of dark spots for Asian patients, the choice of a treating physician is the key. Treating Asian patients are a challenge as there is hesitation about downtime and concerns about hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, hypertrophic scars are a concern. Broad Band Light applied properly in a series of four to 6 full face treatments may be useful.  The proper use of a good medical grade such as Obagi may also be useful. Consult with 3 experienced and expert board certified physicians to understand your options.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Pigmentation on Asian Skin

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Treating an Asian skin-type for pigmented lesions with lasers  is something that needs to be done very carefully to make sure not to cause any further damage. 
Where there is generally more melanin in the skin to start we need to make sure we are ONLY targeting the specific pigmented lesions.
If the patient is a candidate for laser treatment, this could be done with our Alexandrite Laser.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Age Spots on Asian Skin

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As you may know, these brown spots result from extensive sun exposure. This causes the skin to release large amounts of melanin as a form of protection from UV rays.

Since this pigment is below the skin’s surface, it would be most effective to target these layers.

The Fraxel Dual laser is an excellent choice for this purpose. It is safe for all ethnicities since it is not readily absorbed by the surrounding melanin that colors your skin. But rather it will target the unwanted age spots.

IPL uses many different wavelengths. Therefore, results are less predictable.

Fraxel Dual can be switched between the 1550nm and the 1927nm for more precise and focused action.

Many patients are able to achieve the results they want in just one or two sessions. 

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Fraxel 1927 or Q Switch lasers

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Asian skin types are harder to treat than type 1 or 2 skin. IPL in our hands can be effective and safe in lighter Asians. My treatment of choice is Fraxel 1927 laser with conservative settings and passes- this means you may require one or two additional treatments to receive the desired outcome. 

I also like QSL or Q switch laser- especially in the the 532 or 1064 wavelength. The later can be used as a form of 'dermal toning' and spot removal. 

Seeing a Specialist who treats ethnic skin on a very regular basis will decrease your chances of any PIH. Lastly I like to pre and post treat with HQ or Lytera prior to any laser- peel procedure. Of course, SPF and sun protection post laser is paramount. 


Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist
BRISBANE, Australia

Treating Pigment in Asian Skin

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Asian skin produces higher levels of melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color. Because of this, Asian skin can be more prone than other skin types to hyperpigmentation. IPL is most likely not the best treatment for you, being that results can be unpredictable with darker skin types, and may cause more pigmentation.

The appropriate treatment will of course vary from patient to patient, but generally I have found the Alex TriVantage laser and Cosmelan mask to be particularly successful for Asian patients.

If there are just a few specific sun spots you are concerned with, the Alex TriVantage laser may be best for you. The Alex TriVantage laser is a Q-switch laser made by Candela specifically for pigment such as sun spots, and is also used for tattoo removal. The laser energy shatters the pigment molecules into tiny particles, which are then absorbed by the body. More than one Alex TriVantage treatment may be needed.

If your sun spots are plentiful and all over your face, the Cosmelan mask may be a better option. The Cosmelan mask is a kind of chemical peel, consisting of a variety of acids such as salicylic, kojic, and azelaic acid. The Cosmelan mask is applied in a professional office, and worn home for 8-12 hours, depending on the physician’s recommendation. This treatment is generally done once, but does require application of a Cosmelan maintenance cream nightly.

Regardless of what treatment route you take, keep in mind that at-home maintenance is just as important to the clarity of your skin. Protect your face from the sun as much as possible, and always apply an SPF of at least 30. For patients prone to pigment, I also recommend a Vitamin C antioxidant product for the morning, as well as a pigment regulator such as hydroquinone at night. Consult with a board certified Dermatologist to see what kind of treatments and products may be best for you.

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Age spot treatment in Asians

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Hi and thanks for posting your question. Age spots are a common sign of aging in any race. However it is more difficult to treat in Asian skin. Asian skin or darker skin types are prone to hyper pigmentation after skin resurfacing such as with lasers or peels. Typically I would treat with multiple methods to get the most results. Hydroquinone bleaching cream will decrease the pigment. A series of light chemical peels such as a 15-20% TCA or the Perfect Derma Peel, and or possibly a light co2 fractional laser. I have seen patients with hyperpigmentation from IPL. It is very important to be treat dark skin conservatively to avoid hyperpigmentation. There are many ways to treat age spots and these are just a few so please see a board certified facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist to best address your needs. 

Raymond E. Lee, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 101 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.