Say Bye-Bye To Brown Spots With These Tried-and-True Treatments

Summer is officially over and as the seasons in the Bay Area change, you are likely noticing some changes in the color and texture of your skin. Our patients often ask what treatments work best to revitalize skin tone and reduce those pesky sun spots that oftentimes end up looking more pronounced with makeup or spray tans. We’ve got solutions (both in-home and in-office) for minimizing unwanted pigment that will suit your lifestyle and budget while restoring the vibrance and vitality to your complexion.

Topical Treatments For Brown Spots

The frustrating thing about brown spots is that they tend to make us look older than we actually are. Daily UVA/UVB sunscreen application protects against premature aging of your skin (, which includes things like, you guessed it, brown spots.

At 450Derm, Dr. MacGregor recommends coupling your broad-spectrum SPF with a medical-grade skincare product designed to lighten and exfoliate your skin. The most results-driven recommendations are listed below.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

Invented by the world-renowned dermatologist and scientist Sheldon Pinnell, MD, CE Ferulic is known as THE Antioxidant Authority in medical-grade skincare. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and Ferulic Acid team up to reverse signs of aging and protect your skin against future sun damage. In fact, the patented delivery system of CE Ferulic keeps Vitamin C working in your skin for a minimum of 72 hours after application.

Discoloration Defense

SkinCeuticals is an HQ-free serum that is safe for continual use and yields impressive results in the skin. It slides right into any existing skincare routine without a problem, and natural-skin lightener Kojic acid works with Tranexamic Acid and enzymes to lighten and slough off damage. When used correctly, you’ll start to notice changes as early as two weeks. Application is easy and the product is so light that you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything.


Hydroquinone or HQ is a prescription-strength skin lightener that is applied to the entire surface of the face or used as a spot treatment for brown spots. Dr. MacGregor determines what strength HQ is best suited for your skin type and the severity of your pigment. Our practice offers Obagi skincare for rejuvenation and blending, and in severe or resistant cases of melasma, Dr. MacGregor will prescribe a custom HQ compound to lighten and lift the pigmentation.

To order your sunspot skincare, click here now.

There’s a reason why we offer in-office treatments for patients who want to correct brown spots and facial aging. We have patients who can be faithful to a skincare routine and we have patients who need accountability and/or who want a greater return on investment.

Laser Skin Treatments For Unwanted Pigment

IPL (Photofacial)

IPL or Intense Pulse Light is fantastic for erasing discoloration and remains the gold standard for treating unwanted pigmentation. Photofacial is used to treat everything from mild sunspots and freckling to melasma on the face, neck, and chest. Think of your skin as a moist cake with a nice layer of frosting. Photofacial is treating the superficial brown discoloration in the frosting (or the surface of your skin called the epidermis) while it’s also treating the underlying sun damage in the spongy cake part, known as the dermis. Micro-beams of light target unwanted pigment and draw it to the skin’s surface where it subsequently sloughs off, revealing smoother and more even skin tone for more youthful results long-term. A series of 3-4 treatments are recommended every 4-6 weeks. Partner the photo facial with a skin-lightening product and you’re really going to love your skin, especially in photos and zoom conferences!

Click here to learn more about IPL.

Chemical Peels For Unwanted Pigment

Salicylic Acid Skin Peel

At 450Derm, chemical peels are reserved for severe and resistant pigmentation. Dr. MacGregor uses 30% salicylic acid to safely improve the appearance of skin discoloration like melasma and other hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) without causing more inflammation to the skin. Salicylic acid is safely used to treat all Fitzpatrick Skin Types, including patients with Mediterranean, Southern European, Hispanic, African-American, Indian, and those of Middle Eastern descent. Dr. MacGregor will often partner with prescription-strength topical tretinoin and hydroquinone to prepare the skin for the peel. After treatment, Dr. MacGregor recommends the daily use of maintenance topicals like Discoloration Defense and sunscreen like EltaMD SPF 50.

For more on chemical peels click here

So whether you’ve got a few bothersome facial freckles, or the summer sun has taken a significant toll on your melasma, we’ve here to help you make your skin look great again. After all, we love to celebrate clear and healthy complexions probably more than anyone else you know!

Schedule your skin evaluation with Dr. MacGregor.


Brannon, MD, H. (2020, April 6). Fitzpatrick Classification Scale for the Right Amount of Sun Exposure. Verywell Health.

Our Founder | SkinCeuticals. (n.d.). Skin Ceuticals. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from

SkinCeuticals. (n.d.). C E Ferulic. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from s_7mgipve51ii_control_0

Skinceuticals. (2019, October 1). Skin Care Routine – How To Apply Discoloration Defense [Video]. YouTube.

Sunscreen FAQs. (n.d.). Skincancer.Org. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from