Non-surgical Procedures

Laser treatments to remove freckles

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)

Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More

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Back in primary school having freckles on your face may have looked cute. But having to apply a few layers of concealer and makeup to cover your freckles now can become tiresome and annoying. While this common benign skin condition is not harmful, freckles can appear unsightly and embarrassing.

Dr Gavin Chan explains that freckles are a form of pigmentation that most commonly occurs in people with fair and lighter skin types. These small, circular marks on the skin are darker than normal skin tone and are reasonably uniform in shape. Freckles can become darker in the summer and become lighter or vanish in winter.

It is not unusual to be living in Australia and have freckles on your face, arms, neck, hands or body. The depleted ozone layer and increased surface UVB levels means the strength of sun damage is magnified. Freckles (also called ephelides) are caused by UVA and UVB radiation, which activates your melanocyte cells to increase production of melanin.

If freckles are a concern for you there are effective laser freckle removal treatments available. Since 2005, led by Dr Gavin Chan our highly trained Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses have helped thousands of people remove their freckles.

Patient with freckles preparing for treatment

Effective freckle removal treatment options

To treat and remove freckles, we offer a couple of laser procedures including Fraxel laser and PiQo4 laser

To determine the effectiveness for freckle removal, Dr Gavin Chan conducted a split trial of the Fraxel laser and PiQo4 laser on separate sides of the face. Prior to the procedure, numbing cream was used to anaesthetise the treatment areas. This significantly reduces any possible discomfort from the laser treatment. The laser treatment was then systemically applied.

It’s important to note that effective removal of freckles with laser treatment depends a great deal on the experience and training of the Cosmetic Doctors or Cosmetic Nurses. A uniform and successful result can only occur when the laser settings are tailored for each patient. This emphasises the importance of visiting a reputable medical clinic for your freckle removal procedure.

How does Fraxel laser treatment remove freckles?

Fraxel laser for freckle treatment

The freckle removal split trial started with using the Fraxel laser. The Fraxel hand held laser is attracted to water in the skin and fires microscopic columns of laser energy into it. By sparing the skin in between these columns, this treatment has less risk and less downtime.

Because the Fraxel laser heats up the skin, we always perform this treatment with a Zimmer cooler; a machine that blows refrigerated cool air over the treated areas during the procedure. This effectively reduces heat energy build up in the skin while reducing any discomfort. During the split trial, the patient reported the discomfort level was a 2 to 3 out of 10.

How does PiQo4 laser treatment remove freckles?

PiQo4 laser freckle treatment

The other laser used in the freckle removal split trial was the Q-switched ND: YAG PiQo4 laser

This laser is one of the most powerful lasers on the market and while it is often used for tattoo removal, it also effectively removes freckles.

With 4 wavelengths and both picosecond and nanosecond wavelengths, the PiQo4 laser has the ability to treat a large number of skin pigmentation concerns. The different wavelengths infiltrate and specifically target melanin (the pigment in the skin) over other parts of the skin. They essentially break down the pigment to allow the body’s immune system to remove it naturally. The PiQo4 laser provides a greater ability to match the type and depth of pigmentation concern with an appropriate wavelength than the Fraxel laser.

Results of split face trial of laser freckle treatment

Patient getting freckle removal treatment

In the weeks after the laser treatment split face trial the patient was asked about the recovery process and which laser was the ‘winner’. During the recovery process, the patient experienced quite a bit of different downtime on each side of her face. The Fraxel laser side of her face felt dry and tight and she noticed people staring at her when she was shopping. The PiQo4 laser side of her face felt smooth, but it was very dotty and obvious to others she had undergone a procedure.

At the 1-week mark, the Fraxel side of her face experienced a lot of skin peeling off. With this process, the pigmentation slowly faded. During the 2-week recovery period, the Fraxel side was tender and more care had to be taken when washing and drying the face. The PiQo4 laser side of her face was more comfortable and it was easier to apply sunscreen and moisturiser. In the patient’s opinion the clear winner for freckle removal treatment was the Fraxel laser. While the recovery took a lot longer than the PiQo4 laser, she noticed her overall skin quality improved more.

According to Dr Gavin Chan, in terms of evenness Fraxel laser would certainly be the winner because the hand held laser ensures the whole face is scanned without missing any spots. This can be an issue when inexperienced clinicians use the PiQo4 laser.

It is important to note that the specific laser treatment used for freckle removal will depend on:

  • The amount of downtime the patient is comfortable with
  • What the patient can afford
  • The patient’s expectations about their skin after the treatment.

Fraxel compared piqo4 freckle treatment

Skin care and sun protection products to reduce freckles and pigmentation

While freckles usually occur with recent sun exposure, you don’t need to have recent sun exposure to get them. Prevention of sun damage by wearing high SPF sunscreens and wearing a hat are important steps towards minimizing your chances of having freckles on your face and body. To help reduce sun damage and freckle production, it is important to use effective sun protection every day.

Synergie Uberzinc is a sunscreen, primer and moisturiser that delivers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. This sheer Zinc Oxide has a light natural base with pure green tea to neutralise free radicals.

Dermaceutic Mela Cream is specifically formulated to reduce the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation. This highly concentrated cream is composed of active ingredients including Salicylic, Phytic, Kojic and Mandelic Acids, Retinol and Liquorice Extract, Arbutin, Nicacinamide and pH 4.27.

Not sure about which sunscreen and skincare would suit you? Our team of highly trained and experienced Skin Therapists are here to help. Book a consultation in here or call us on 1300 863 824.

Get freckle removal and pigmentation treatment in Melbourne

You don’t need to put up with freckles or sun-damaged skin. Since 2005 our highly trained and experienced Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses have helped thousands of people with freckle removal laser treatments.

At your consultation, we take the time to discuss the concerns you have about your skin. View our freckle removal treatment before and after photos and case studies here. Find out how our laser freckle removal treatments can help you. Call us on 1300 863 824