How can I effectively treat skin discoloration after a laser hair removal treatment? (photos)

I had a BBL laser hair removal treatment done to the bikini line about 2 weeks ago. A day or two after the treatment my skin turned red and I developed a bumpy rash, which resembled raised bumps after shaving. The redness and irritation subsided after using a cortisone cream but I now have skin discoloration in the lasered areas. I had a tan at the time of the laser treatment. Will this discoloration go away on its own or should I treat it with something?

Doctor Answers 5

Hyperpigmentation After Laser Hair Removal

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You have hyperpigmentation from the laser hair removal treatment. This came from having a tan before your treatment. It is mandatory to stay out of the sun before and after laser hair removal treatment. It is important to avoid the sun to help the dark areas fade. It will take 4-6 months for this area to fade away. When going outside apply a SPF 30+ sunscreen to protect the treated area.

Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

BBL is not a laser

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BBL is a light source, not a laser. This is a technology that was introduced two decades ago as the fotofacial or photofacial.  That doesn't help you now. But for others who might read this, avoid IPL, BBL and other similar light sources if what you need is a laser.

Often with time burns can go away. I would suggest visiting a highly trained and respected plastic surgeon or dermatologist who uses a lot of lasers to take a look and provide the appropriate treatment to help correct the problems you are dealing with now. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Pigmentation Porblems After Laser Hair Removal

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Thank you for your picture.  I am sorry to hear about your outcome.  At this point a good sunscreen at least SPF of 30.  I generally recommend SPF 50 plus zinc.  Additionally, a bleaching cream will help.  In my office when we see patients treated elsewhere with these issues then we compound our own bleaching cream.  The best prevention in these circumstances would be the right choice of laser wavelength for the right skin type.

Strict sun avoidance and possibly bleaching creams

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You have some hyperpigmentation from the laser hair removal.  This most likely came from having a tan before the treatment.  Strict sun avoidance before and afterwards is mandatory for laser hair removal.  

Now that you have some hyperpigmentation, it is critically important to avoid the sun to help these dark areas fade.  It may also be useful to use a hydroquinone product (prescription).  It will likely continue to fade in the next 4-6 months. 

In general my favorite hair removal devices are Alexandrite laser for lighter skin types and Nd-Yag for darker skin types.  IPL and BBL devices can be used, but they are a little more tricky.  

Jacquelyn Dosal, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon

Hyperpigmentation from BBL hair removal

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This is not the right "laser" for you. In fact, it is not a laser but an IPL. With darker skin type, you need a 1064 laser. You need to get prescription products for this, including a hydroquinone and Retin A. I wouldn't get treated again with a BBL.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

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