Do I need IPL or Fractional CO2 Laser for my sun damage/freckles? (Photo)

I have sunspots/freckles/sun damage on my face (whole face but most of the sun damage is visible predominately on my nose and cheeks. Not sure what I need to do in order to have them removed completely - IPL or fractional co2 laser? Any help would be most appreciated!

Doctor Answers 4

IPL and Hyperpigmentation - Combination approach with Fraxel and/or microneedling/PRP

can work very well for freckles but doesnt help aging process and the freckles will come back.  Depending on the number and density,
I might do a combination treatment with lasers and/or microneedling for the best long term outcomes.
Please see an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Do I need IPL or Fractional CO2 Laser for my sun damage/freckles?

If you are only simply wanting r=to remove/lighten your sun spots and freckles, then IPL is going to be your best option. It simply targets pigmentation and can be done without any type of anesthesia or numbing treatment. IPL typically may require a series of treatments depending on the person, and the age and degree of pigmentation. CO2 is more for skin resurfacing, more invasive, has downtime and requires sedation. 

Lawrence Bundrick, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Freckle treatment

I would recommend you consider another option than either an IPL or co2 laser. I would recommend considering a laser such as an alexandrite 755 wavelength to treat this condition.  A brown spot treatment with  an IPL for brown spots might be able to do the same but I find these treatments to be less specific for the problem (since an IPL which is intense pulse light which uses filters to narrow the light to several hundred wavelengths to treat a problem) and usually take more treatments.  A brown spot laser treatment uses only one wavelength that is very specific for a  problem and can usually lessen a brown spot in 1-3 treatments. Most of the brown spot freckles can be lessened or removed. It is doubtful that all of the brown spots will go away and some can come back with time especially with exposure to the sun. Based on the picture you provided I would be less inclined to recommend a co2 treatment. This is better for fine lines, roughened skin texture, scarring and only superficial brown spots. Freckles usually would not be lessened to any significant degree with co2. Best of luck with your treatments.

Stephen Small, DO
Toms River Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

IPL with Fraxel.

CO2 is an over kill, sure, fully ablative CO2 laser (light to mid) can help, but a simple IPL treatment, with Fraxel can give great results. Also simple TCA with Jessners peel can treat freckles. No matter what treatment you have, they will recur. Sometimes simple treatments like IPL or TCA peels are the answer. All the best, 

Dr Davin Lim. Brisbane. Australia. 

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

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