Hypopigmentation from Laser Hair Removal Burns

I had laser hair removal on my arm almost 6 months ago. The burn areas have healed, but now I am left with white areas that will not fade or tan. Is there anything that can be done to fix this embarrassing mistake?

Doctor Answers 2

Unfortunately your options are limited.

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Thanks for your question.

It is unfortunate that you went through a burn experience with laser hair removal and have been left with what we term, "post-inflammatory hypopigmentation" and possibly some scarring. It is very common to be left with some hypopigmentation after this procedure if there is a degree of burning involved, but if there was scabbing and wound healing involved, then it is very possible that some degree of scarring has resulted.

In the case of post-inflammatory hypopigmenation without scarring, it will return to its normal color with time and some degree of sunexposure. However, with scabbing and possible scarring, only time will allow this area to fade as much as possible. There is really nothing you can do if this is the case, only covering up the area. I wish there was advice I could give you to easily help you improve the appearance of these areas.

Give it time. Most areas will become unnoticeable to the naked eye. Also, for future laser procedures, warn your physician that you are somewhat sensitive and alert him to this past experience.

Good luck!

Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Fixing white scars after Laser Hair Removal

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Hi MSM. "Hypopigmented" or white are an unfortunate potential side effect of laser hair removal treatments that occurs when the laser or settings are not correct for your skin type. Although these types of scars are tough to treat, there is hope and we do have a suggestion for you.

We're not sure if any dermatologists in your area have the "Excimer" laser, but call around as much as you can to find it. The Excimer laser is used to repigment the skin patients that have Vitiligo, which is a condition where the pigment in the skin starts going away without cause. It is fairly effective at repigmentation and this is why we think you should search a physician out that has it.

It should be noted that it's possible that you skin color may return to normal over time, but there's also a chance it may not. It all depends on how bad the original burn was. Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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