Is Hyperpigmentation After Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Its been 4 weeks since treatment. At first the areas treated on my stomach were red, some faded but then there are several trip marks from where she zapped me that have darkened to a brown color. I am wondering will this be permanent or will it fade away? How long does it usually take to fade away completely? Gentlease laser was used on me. I had to shave my whole stomach but I am worried that if I stop treatment, my stomach hair will darken or appear thicker.

Doctor Answers 6

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Is a Result of Laser Hair Removal and Is Temporary

We call this effect post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and this is an adverse event that is more common in darker-skinned individuals but surely can occur in all skin colors. Sometimes there is a precipitating side effect that leaves the skin discolored; sometimes it is related to improper laser settings, and sometimes it is just bad luck.To make PIH better, one needs to be patient first of all and work with your board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to use skin care products that will minimize this as fast and as safe as possible.And be comfortable that this is not a permanent event.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Hyperpigmentation from laser hair removal

Fortunately, hyperpigmentation is not permanent in most cases.  It is a result of your skin producing more melanin in response to the heat from the laser.  Your body will work to restore homeostasis and the pigmentation will fade. Protect yourself from the sun to prevent the dark areas from getting worse. Talk to your dermatologist to see what topical  treatments might be appropriate. 

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal

Hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal usually is not permanent.  It’s better for your doctor or dermatologist to evaluate your skin first, but the majority of the time, it is transient.  Using sunscreen on a consistent daily basis and staying out of the sun helps.  Other things that will help with hyperpigmentation are bleaching agents such as hydroquinone like Obagi #3 and Retin-A, but make sure you have a physician evaluate your skin condition to make sure you are treating it with the correct products. 

Timothy Jochen, MD
Palm Springs Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Transient hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal

Typically hyperpigmentation following laser hair removal is temporary and resolves within 4 to 6 weeks. It may be helpful to use low dose steroid creams and bleaching creams to hasten resolution since yours has persisted but I would discuss with your treating physician.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Treatment of hyperpigmentation from laser hair removal

Fortunately most instances of hyperpigmentation are temporary and tend to fade over time. We instruct all our patients to make sure the area has had no sun exposure for one month prior and one month after the laser procedure. Daily use of an effective sunscreen is key, regardless as to whether you are going outdoors. Also, make sure you are not taking any photosensitizing medications or over-the-counter supplements known to cause photosensitivity. You should consider applying prescription-strength 4% hydroquinone cream to the areas of hyperpigmentation to help them fade more quickly.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Laser Hair Removal and Hyperpigmentation

In most cases the hyperpigmentation should resolve.  You may want to try some bleaching creams and make sure to use sunscreen if that area will be exposed to the sun.  If your natural skin color is more olive toned, a different hair removal laser might be less likely to leave pigmentation.

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.