Hyperpigmentation from Laser Resurfacing for Tanned Caucasian?

I am highly considering laser resurfacing (Pearl Fractional) but I'm very worried about hyperpigmentation. I'm a tanned caucasian. Should I fear?

Doctor Answers 2

Do not have laser resurfacing if you are tan

You are correct to be worried about hyperpigmentation after laser resurfacing when you have a tan.

Although laser resurfacing will remove most of the superficial tanned skin cells., the treatment will not be entirely uniform and blotchy pigmentation after the laser resurfacing is likely.

Because the sun tan has activated the melanocytes in your skin (melanocytes are pigment cells), there is an increased risk of hyperpigmentation after laser resurfacing when you have a tan.

Wait until your tan has gone away.

Hyperpigmentation from Pearl Fractional

Hi Waldo,

Generally speaking, the incidence of hyperpigmentation for caucasians for this type of ablative procedure is low. There is normally just not enough melanin in the skin to create a visible (brown) traumatic response.

With that said, depending on what your Fitzpatrick skin type is I, II or III will make a big difference in how predisposed to this type of trauma response you are after the treatment. Your physician should give you the skin typing questionnaire or talk to you about your heritage to determine what skin type you are.

For safety's sake, make sure you are NOT tanned when you have the procedure and stay out of the sun for at least 4 weeks afterward or until complete healing has taken place. Hope this helps.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 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.