I had a fraxel C02 laser procedure on 12/23/11. I still have some discoloration on the left side of my face (the procedure did make it lighter). How long do I have to wait to use hydroquinone 4%? Will the hydroquninone get rid of this discoloration? Thank you, Mary Ann
When Can I Use Hydroquinone 4%?
Doctor Answers 5
Fraxel and hydroquinone
Once your skin has healed and is not sensitive, at about 2 to 3 weeks, you can use hydroquinone. Start using it slowly, every other day, until your skin becomes used to it and then use it daily. Always wear a sunscreen with an SPF 60. If you drive a fair amount, UVA penetrates through glass which may be the reason that your left side still has discoloration.
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HQ rarely “gets rid” of the color,, but controls it, minimizes the pigment, but rarely gets rid of it, and then only temporarily. Sunscreen is still needed, and management of the cycles of HQ are needed. You should not use it every day, all year.
Use of Hydroquinone after Fraxel Laser
Use of Hydroquinone 4% after Fraxel Laser may be started at approximately 10 to 14 days post treatment, particularly if used in combination with a retinoid cream. The key word has been mentioned already: re-epithelialization. If it has occurred, if your skin has healed post Fraxel, then you may start your creams. Only your doctor will determine if this process has taken place completely once she/he evaluates you in your Fraxel follow up visit.
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Resuming Hydroquinone 4% and Retinol After Fractionated Laser Resurfacing
You may begin using Hydroquinone 4% after laser procedures once the skin has completely healed. Following procedures such as the fractionated CO2 or YSGG the skin has usually re-epithelialized in about 7 days. Some individuals find the hydroquinone 4% a bit irritating and have to wait a few days longer. It is best to wait a few weeks before resuming your retinol, since this will be irritating if started too early. We typically have our patients resume their retinol about 4 weeks after their laser procedure; usually gradually by applying it every second or third day to make sure their skin is able to tolerate it. As always, sun avoidance is crucial to avoiding post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and strict sun protection behaviors will go along way in helping to maintain your results.
Best wishes, Ken Dembny
Hydroquinone for Hyperpigmentation After Fraxel
As long as your skin has healed from your Fraxel treatment, you can start hydroquinone anytime. Your skin barrier should be completely intact though without scabbing or peeling. Start slowly to avoid irritation and work up gradually to using it one or twice daily. Also don't forget to use a good sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more at all times.