Are Active FX Laser Treatments Safe for Use with Dark Skin or Ethnic Skin?

can Active FX Laser be used on dark skin types like latino males with shallow scars?

Doctor Answers (5)

Active FX for ethnic skin

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Asian and hispanic skin can do fairly well with Active FX or Total FX, but may require pretreatment to prevent hyperpigmentation. You must weigh the risk versus benefit, and your doctor can help you with that. Make sure you consult with a doctor who is very experienced with the laser, and also has a support staff including estheticians who can help you with before and after skin care.  


San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Active Fx for darker skin.

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Darker skin types do have more problems after CO2 lasers such as Active Fx.  We expect that there will be some increase in pigment as a reaction to the laser.  This is called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)and is temporary although it can last many months, even a year!  CO2 can be safely performed with pretreatment and post treatment with lightening agents, however there is still a high risk of PIH.

Susan Van Dyke, MD
Paradise Valley Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Laser resurfacing can be very tricky in patients with darker skin

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For patients with darker skin, laser resurfacing can be very tricky and so the key is to seek out a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist to perform your treatment.  Experience is essential here so do not let price be the determining factor in who you ultimately choose.  Dark skin can often respond in very unpredictable ways to laser or chemical peels and fractional lasers do not completely prevent this.  

As such, make sure that the practitioner who is performing your peel has adequate experience with the laser before moving forward.

I hope this helps!

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

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Get test spot first for Active FX on dark skin

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Active FX is safe to use on darker skin patients (Fitzpatrick type 4-5). However, there is some increased risk of pigmentation problems (ie hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation) that can be permanent. It is best to get a test spot first in an inconspicuous area to see if you have an adverse reaction. If the spot heals well, then Active FX performed by an experienced surgeon should get you nice results.

Corey S. Maas, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing can be done for Ethnic Skin by an experienced Dermatologist

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Thanks to the evolution made in Fractional CO2 Laser technology, ethnic skin with acne scarring is no longer excluded from laser resurfacing. All Fractional CO2 Lasers performed comparably (e.g. DeepFx, Mixto, Fraxel Repair). However, to maximize clinical benefit and minimize potential complication such as post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH), the procedure should be done by an experienced board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, preferably having performed greater than 50 cases of your skin type. The risk of PIH for ethnic skin is anywhere from 20-40%, typically does not manifest until 2-3 weeks after procedure, and can last several weeks. PIH can be minimized but it is critical that appropriate pre-treatment and post-treatment steps be taken involving combination of topical bleaching and retinoid creams as well as strict daily sun protection.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.