As the laser passes through the skin, brown pigment absorbs the light preferentially. This creates a dark brown scab that falls off over the following 1-week (for faces) and 2-3 weeks (for hands or body), taking the brown spot with it.
Your eyes will be protected with goggles during the procedure and you will be fully awake. The laser makes a loud popping noise every time it is pulsed. Each pulse is stingy but should not be painful. Following the treatment, ointment and bandages will be placed over the treated sites to alleviate any stinging.
The area is initially white but then turns pink and scabby within 10-15 minutes. Ointment and bandages will be applied before you leave. You will be given a “goody” bag with ointments and bandages to cover your sites while raw (3-4 days). When the scabs become dry, makeup may be applied. The scabs usually fall off in 1 week on the face, and after 2-3 weeks on the hands and extremities. It is important to keep the areas out of the sun while healing to prevent “post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation” which can be triggered by small amounts of sun exposure on a healing wound.
Ideally, come into the office without any makeup or other products on the areas to be treated. If the spots are in the hair or near the hairline, avoid using hair products (such as gel, mousse and hairspray) on the day of treatment. Avoiding any sun exposure 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after the treatment.
For brown spots due to sun damage, 1 treatment is usually needed. Light brown birthmarks (such as café au lait spots) may require multiple treatments.
Treatment cost depends on the number of spots treated, and ranges from $250-$500.