Will Sun Exposure After Chemical Peel Cause Permanent Tanning?

I had a medium Chemical Peel, 7 weeks ago and I went out 10 days after the peel with sunblock on my face, but when I came back my face was kind of tanned. It got a lighter color after 2 weeks, leaving an erythema below my eyes until now.

The dermatologist gave me mometasone and hydroquinone, and suspended the hydroquinone after 2 weeks. Now I´m just taking the mometasone, I´ve noticed a light tan in my face and redness in some parts. My worry is if I´m going to be permanently tanned in my face, and if mometasone is the right treatment and for how long do I have to wait to fully recover? Thank You ! ! ! ! PS I´m white hispanic

Doctor Answers 5

Hyperpigmentation is very possible

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Sun exposure will cause skin damage, and work against what the peel is trying to accomplish. Eary exposure to sun after skin resurfacing can cause permanent hyperpigmentation, and therefore should be avoided until the area is completely healed. People with deep coloration to the skin such as hispanics, asians, etc. are particularly at risk for this problem.

You need to avoid further sun exposure until cleared by your doctor. Skin bleachers like Triluma are excellent. Only an evaluation of your current status can tell for sure what you should be on, as it will change as you heal.

Chemical peel and tanning

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My suggestion would be to discontinue mometasone at this time. Cortisone creams should not be used long-term on the face (or anywhere else for that matter). I would encourage strict sun protection/avoidance, using a sunscreen containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, SPF 30 or greater, daily.

Tretinoin cream can be applied over moisturizer in the evening, and hydroquinone over moisturizer in the morning. If irritation/redness occur, you should use these topicals less frequently (e.g. every other day or alternating days).

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

No such thing as a "permanent tan" from one exposure

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Sounds like your Dermatologist is doing just the right thing with a combination of a bleaching agent (hydroquinone) and a topical corticosteroid.

You need to be cautious about sun exposure soon after a peel to avoid prolonged redness which can then lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and if severe, (but unusual with a medium peel), permanent scarring.

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Pigmentation and Redness after Peel

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Be cautious with any further sun exposure.

It typically takes somewhere between 3-4 months for this to resolve. Some areas of hyperpigmentation may take longer (up to two years).

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Pigment shifts can be persistent after tanning

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After a medium strength or deeper peel, I keep patients out of the sun for several months. Deliberate tanning after a peel can cause pigment shifts that may take more peeling to correct particularly in darker skinned people. Follow your surgeon's advice carefully to get through this.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

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.