Laser Treatment of “Sun Spots”

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Many patients complain of unwanted brown spots on their face, hands, arms, legs and back.  Some of these spots are darker in color while others are lighter.  It is always important to make certain that a brown spot does not pose a threat to your health so occasionally Dr. Biesman or his staff may suggest testing a suspicious appearing spot by performing a biopsy.


When treating brown spots that are not dangerous but simply unsightly, topical agents such as bleaching or fading creams alone typically are not effective in producing significant lightening of brown spots.  Lasers and light devices remain the treatment of choice for brown spots.   Q switched lasers are special lasers designed to treat unwanted color in the skin.  Examples of the types of conditions treated by Q-switched lasers include brown spots caused by aging or sun damage, some birth marks and tattoos.  Q-switched lasers can also be used in some situations to treat “blood staining”, the brown discoloration of the skin that can be left behind after a bruise resolves, dark circles under the eyes, and, in select cases, melasma.  Anesthesia is not required when Q-switched lasers are used to treat unwanted brown spots.  Following Q-switched laser treatment the skin may be rough and crusted for up to 2 weeks.  Brown spots typically resolve after 2-3 Q-switched laser treatments.  When there are many brown spots over a large area, treatment of the entire region with intense pulsed light (IPL) may be recommended.  Ironically, the darker the spot, the ease year that is to remove with lasers.  If there is very little contrast between the unwanted spot and the underlying skin color, removal of the undesired sun spots can be more challenging.  In these situations resurfacing lasers can be required in order to obtain best results.