Darkening of Upper Lip After 8 Seesion of IPL for Hair Removal??

I had 8 seesions IPL on my upper lip for hair removal purposes only. (fair asian skin,dark hair). I had good results,after the last session on 6 OCT 2011, the next day I noticed darkening of my upper lip, I have only used aloe vera gel (can't get hydroquinine in UK it is illegal) now 1 month later the area is still SLIGHLTY darker, will this resolve with time? what should I do? I wear sunscreen every day and DO NOT want to have any more IPL sessions.

Doctor Answers 3

PIH after IPL

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It sounds like you have Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation... this is not uncommon.  If you can't get Hydroquinone then the second best topical would be products that have Kojic Acid, Mushroom extract and Alpha-Arbutin all have properties to inhibit tyronaise enzymes that produce melanin and cause hyperpigmentation.   We like IS Clinical's White Lightening Complex and Serum.  Glycolic medical facials can also aid in reducing the hyperpigmentation.  Check with your medical provider to see what they may have that is similar to this.  Continue using your sunscreen everyday.

Good luck.

 Dr. Grant Stevens        

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Sounds like PIH

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It sounds like what you have is post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can happen with IPL or hair removal with IPL (it doesn't happen as much with other lasers types like diode or alexandrite). But with IPL it is more prominent in skin types like yours. PIH resolves over time, but I know it's frustrating. You definitely need to avoid the sun, as that will make it last longer and could make it worse. Aloe vera won't do anything as it doesn't have the ability to affect pigment, so you can stop using that. You could try a Tretinoin gel, but really, PIH will resolve with time.

Darkening of the upper lip after IPL for Hair Removal

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You may try  other bleaching agents, such as Tretinoin and/or Azelaic Acid.

Also you may try a treatment with the Alexandrite Laser (done by an experienced operator)  for more prompt results.

It is extremely important to use sunscreen for a prolonged time to the treated area (and to the entire face).

In the future, if you desire further hair removal, it may be beneficial to use the Alexandrite Laser. It does an excellent job for hair removal.

Always make sure that you are being treated by an experienced,Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon.


Eugene Mandrea, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 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.