Is Hyperpigmentation Due to Alexandrite Laser Permanent?

I had a full-face Alexandrite laser treatment done for hair removal (skin type #3). After only 1 treatment I have patches of hyperpigmnetation on my face and neck (lighter on face and darker on meck) which appeared about 5 days after the treatment.

Could you PLEASE let me know if these are permanent or will they fade away with time? I would appreciate if you could also let me know till when do I have to be avoid the sun? Thank you so much!

Doctor Answers 5

Hyperpigmentation From Laser Hair Removal is Usually Temporary

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Potential risks of laser hair removal include temporary or permanent hypo-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation. This can occur even when optimal laser treatment parameters are used. 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.


South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Is hyperpigmentation from laser permanent?

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Before you spend $$ on peels or IPL, try these topicals.

This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). 

I recommend Melarase AM and Melarase PM creams from Kare Skin as well as a broad spectrum sunblock like Spectrase. Bothe are from Kare Skin. Scler-x post inflammatory hyperigmentation relief complex is a great supplement to take as well. See link below. 

Spectrase is a wide spectrum sunblock SPF 50+that is also recommended to prevent ongoing inflammation. 

Hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal

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usually, hyperpigmentation, an increase in your true melanin, or pigment, occurs longer than a week after trauma, such as a burn.  If skin starts to exfoliate it may turn darker sometimes and look like pigment but in reality there is no post inflammatory hyperpigmenation.  When there is such pigmentation, it is often temporary but can last even more than a year.  Sun protection is very important and several prescription creams can help lighten this pigment. See a dermatologist for evaluation and treatment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Pigmentary changes after laser hair removal

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Even though most of the time the pigmmentary changes (hypo or hyperpigmentation) are temporary, there is always a small risk that they may be permanent.

The skin typing of the patient must be done carefully, through a detailed questionnaire and any sun exposure to the area to be treated must be avoided for a month before and a month after each treatment.  The closer the color of the skin is to the color of the hair the more chances of complications.  Tanning makes the skin darker and must be avoided.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Hyperpigmentation and Alexandrite Laser

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Usually not.  I most cases, it is a temporary problem known as post-inflammatory yperpigmentation.  Best treatment is a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF that blocks both UVA and UVB.  Using a bleaching cream with 4% hydroquinone is often helpful as well.  In some cases it could take a year or longer, but eventually the hyperpigmentation usually fades.

Deborah Sarnoff, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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.