Will Dark Spots from Laser Hair Removal Lighten with Use of Bio Oil or Cocoa Butter?

5 weeks ago both my thighs were burnt from laser hair removal. The burns have now turned into dark spots but never crusted and is under the top layer of the skin. I have been advised by the technician to use bio oil as this is believed to help lighten the scars and should fade after a few weeks. This is not helping. I have an olive complexion and the dark spots have not changed in appearance. Please help!

Doctor Answers 5

Bio Oil and Cocoa Butter are not very effective in fading dark spots after laser.

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For the most part, it is a myth that these work to fade dark spots. They do work to moisturize the skin, and healthy skin will return to its normal color faster, but time and sun avoidance is probably the most likely way to fade these dark marks you have gotten after laser hair removal. Trying a hydroquinone bleaching cream SUPERVISED by a board-certified dermatologist is something else to consider. But it may not work, and does have risks of its own.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Dark spots on your thighs from laser hair removal should completely resolve with time.

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Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown spots) may occur in darker complected patients following laser hair removal. I have seen complete resolution of hyperpigmentation in all of my patients. I do not prescribe bleaching creams like hydroquinone. You must keep the area out of the sun, and they'll likely be barely perceptible in 6 months. 

All the best from NJ.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 432 reviews

Dark Spots from Laser Hair Removal

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You most likely have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  Because of your olive complexion you are more prone to this. I do not believe Bio Oil or Cocoa Butter will do much to lighten these areas.  Hopefully they will get better over time. In the meanwhile, you can try using a bleaching cream containing 4% hydroquinone which may be the only thing that will help.  This is a prescription-only cream here in the US.

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

Melaquin for laser hair removal dark spots

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I would recommend that you begin with a more therapeutic skin lightener.  In my office, I would place a patient on Melaquin AM and Melaquin PM for about 6 to 8 weeks. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal on olive skin

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You should see a board-certified dermatologist as you may have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This may self-resolve over many months to a year or more, but can be helped by prescription creams, such as tretinoin, hydroquinone or other lightening creams and you should maintain close follow-up with your doctor.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 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.