Are Brown Spots and Freckling Permanent After Laser Hair Removal?

I have some brown spots on my face after a laser hair treatment a few days ago. Are these permanent? What remedies can I employ to reduce their appearance?

Doctor Answers 5

Pigmentation and laser hair removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a condition in which the pigment in your skin increases as a result of inflammation or healing.  This usually shows up not days but weeks after a trauma to the skin.  If some temporary bronzing or flaking occurs the dead skin cells can look darker than usual but the skin left behind normally is not pigmented.  You would need to be examined to tell better what your situation is and it would be helpful to know what laser it was and your skin type.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Brown Spots after Laser After Laser Hair Removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Seeing brown spots so soon after treatment means they most likely will disappear fairly quickly. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation does not usually occur so quickly but takes longer to resolve. Give it time and the color should fade.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Laser Hair Removal and dark spots immediately afterwards

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The spots appearing so early may mean that this represents bruising so it may go away in about a week. You should use sunscreen every day and wash your face gently with mild soap and cool water. Don't use skin lightening products on this. Your skin is more susceptible to  additional injury immediately after the LHR.

Hope you are better by now!

Beverly Johnson, MD
Silver Spring Dermatologic Surgeon

Brown spots a few days after laser hair removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The brown spots on your photo look like freckles that darkened after laser hair removal.  The brown spots/freckles also contain melanin, like hair does.  When a light source like IPL for example hits a brown spot, the pigment in the brown spot darkens initially, then breaks down into coffee grounds, then disappears.

I would wait probably two weeks or so before deciding whether anything needs to be done about the brown spots.  They may disappear on their own.

These don't look like laser burns because they don't correspond to the geometric shape of a laser piece that comes in contact with the skin.  If this would be post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, then a fading cream might help.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

You probably need to wait and see.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Brown spots this soon after laser hair removal probably represent treatment of pre-existing brown spots on the face.  The laser light is absorbed by the pigment within the freckle or other area of pigment, causing it to darken. On the other hand, you probably should be sure to follow up with your treating doctor to have him assess the situation and take a post treatment look at your pre-treatment photos to see what was there before the treatment.

Gregory S. Keller, MD, FACS
Santa Barbara Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 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.