I Have Developed Dark Pigments on my Upper Lip, Where I Had Laser Hair Removal. What Do I Do?

I had laser hair removal on my upper lip a few years ago. About a month ago, the skin above my upper lip became darker, and now is "tanned" in the areas where I had the laser. I wear sunscreen everyday (100spf), but it is not fading. As you can imagine, it is quite embarrassing. What can I do?

Doctor Answers 5

Dark Spots After Laser Hair Removal

If you had laser hair removal several years ago, and it was uneventful, the darkening on your upper lip is from something else, not the laser hair removal procedure. I would suggest you find yourself a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon and let them explain to you what the term melasma means and how the best way to treat this kind of pigment. Some have told people that they can cure melasma, when in fact, there is no known cure – but we can successfully treat it, whether with topicals, peels, or appropriate light sources. Sunscreen is by far, the most important part of the treatment and sun avoidance is also crucial.

Your dermatologist will work with you to give you the best options and the best care, and understanding the nuances of this skin condition.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Hyperpigmentation on upper lip

If the laser treatment was several years ago, it is quite unlikely that the hyperpigmentation would show up now.  Another possible cause of hyperpigmentation on the upper lip is melasma. 

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes tan to gray-brown patches on the face and develops mainly in women. It affects people of all ethnic groups, but particularly those with Fitzpatrick skin types IV–VI.

It's not known why melasma forms, but it is commonly associated with hormones and sun exposure.  That is why we often see it form during pregnancy and in women on oral contraceptives.  

The first line of treatment of melasma is sun avoidance and a combination of a fading cream and retinoids.  None of these treatments are approved to use during pregnancy, so if you are pregnant, I would suggest waiting until afterwards.  

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal

Post Laser Hyperpigmenation can be permanent but it can also fade with time, you may want to speed up the fading process with some HQ Cream (Hydroquinone). Please ask your medical aesthetician or plastic surgeon or recommendations on which cream would be best for you.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Pigment after laser

It is unlikely to be from the laser since it was so long ago, it could be melasma.  You need to see a good board certified dermatologist to get a good diagnosis and treatment plan.
We have lots of things to offer to treat hyperpigmentation. 

Rebecca Baxt, MD
Paramus Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Darker pigmentation of the upper lip after laser hair removal

1. It is unlikely that the pigmentation of you upper lip is related to a laser treatment 3 years ago.

2. Most likely is either sun damage or melanoma.

3. If it is melanoma, it is commonly related to changes in your hormonal levels combined with a sun exposure. It is very comment during and after pregnancy.

4. Bleaching cremes and retinoids alone rarely give even a minimal improvement.

5. Combined therapy may work: e.g. bleaching creme and retinoids combined with microdermabrasions and IPL- intense pulsed light treatment.

6. If that fails, the next step will be a fractional non ablative/ablative erbium lasers.

7. If you are currently pregnant, wait and start to treat after you no longer breast feed.



David Evdokimow, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 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.