Hyperpigmentation After Alexandrite Laser Hair Removal Treatment

I had a full-face laser hair removal treatment done with Alex. laser about 2.5 weeks ago. About 5 days after the treatment I was exposed to the sun for around 10 minutes(without a sunscreen as I am v.sensitive to sunscreens).

The next day I noticed hyperpigmentation on my face and neck. The tech who had done the treatment said they are common and should go away in around 2 weeks- but no improvement yet. Is this permanent and how long should I avoid the sun now, as this was my LAST treatment?

Doctor Answers 2

Hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal on face

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See a dermatologist. Topical lightening creams with or without superficial chemical peels and UVA/UVB sunscreen and sunavoidance may help over many weeks to reduce your pigment. Avoid any irritating substance. Some people react to the hydroquinone which is the most commonly prescribed lightening cream but if the irritation persists, then cortisone may help as a topical therapy and often it is prescribed with the hydroquinone and tretinoin to lighten the skin. Other skin lighteners exist including Elure and Lumixyl, and others. Finally, Fraxel Dual may help, but with any laser a test spot could be considered prior to the full treatment. You would need a consultation to determine your candidacy for this treatment and to inform you of your risks.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

How to Treat Hyperpigmentation After Laser Hair Removal

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We remind all of our patients of the need for strict sun avoidance for a minimum of four weeks before and after each treatment. The hyperpigmentation should fade in time but you may want to hasten things by using prescription-strength 4% hydroquinone cream. Also, if you are very sensitive to sunscreens as you say, you should try using a pure "physical" sunscreen that contains no chemicals. Physical sunscreens are opaque formulations that reflect and scatter ultraviolet and visible radiation. They contain two major sunblocks (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) which are very effective because of their ability to scatter and absorb both UVA and UVB radiation. They are hypoallergenic and have a good safety profile. The major drawback in the past has been their physical appearance. Recently, micronized formulations (smaller particles) of these two ingredients have allowed for greater cosmetic acceptance. For a pure physical (chemical-free) sunblock, I recommend either Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories UVA/UVB Chemfree Superblock or SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense. 

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 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.