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With age spot removal, there are multiple laser technologies that can help. There are resurfacing lasers like CO2 and Erbium, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), q-switched lasers, and even hyfrecators (that use heat to remove bumpy sun damage). Our preference for most flat age spots is q-switched lasers since they get rid of sun damage in 1 or 2 visits.
When reviewing before and after photos of sun spot removal, it’s important to note that some spots can be removed completely and permanently and others cannot. For example, your run-of-the-mill brown age spot in a Caucasian patient is often permanently removed in one treatment. Contrast this with freckles in an African American patient, which are difficult to remove permanently even after multiple visits.
Another issue to consider when reviewing sun damage before and after photos is that IPL (intense pulsed light) and lasers are dramatically different technologies. Lasers are much higher powered as evidenced by the fact that IPL cannot be used for any age spots, tattoos, and birthmarks, which are well suited for lasers. Lasers are a much purer, more concentrated form of light. With that said, IPL technology still has a very important role in our practice when it comes to removing sun damage.
Typically with those patients that have both sun or age spots as well as general discoloration, we get rid of spots that are clearly visible and easily discernable with our lasers and then move over to IPL for general discoloration and inconsistent skin tone. Both have a place and in tandem, they work extremely well.