Hypopigmentation on Upper Lip from Laser Hair Removal is It Most Likely Permanent?

had laser hair removal and down the line noticed my upper lip paler than the rest of my face. It's been a while and it seems to not tan when im exposed to the sun...could this be permanent by the way the hair still grows.

Doctor Answers 6

Skin colr change after laser hair removal

Skin color change is possible after laser hair removal. Darkening is much more common than lightening. Pigmentary changes often, though not always resolve over a few weeks to months. It would be worth checking in with your provider to see if they feel it's related.

Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Hypopigmentation from Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal can cause hypopigmentation (white spots) by destroying the pigment making cells in the skin which are "innocent bystanders". Fortunately this is usually temporary but it may take quite some time to re pigment. In the meanwhile, be care to use a sunblock to prevent a burn, especially in Texas.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Skin color change following laser hair removal

In my experience, it is more likely to have increase in pigment following laser hair removal.  If inflammation following treatment occurs pigment can be stimulated resulting in darker coloration of the treated area.  In the absence of inflammation or a burn following laser hair removal a drop in pigment would be unlikely.  However, if there was a reduction in the number of darker hairs on the upper lip visually that would cause the lip to appear lighter.

Pamela Carr, MD
Sugar Land Dermatologic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Post inflammatory loss of pigment is often permanent after laser hair removal.

Post inflammatory loss of pigment is often permanent after laser hair removal. This is because the heat of the laser destroyed the melanocytes in the skin that produce pigment.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
2.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Lighter skin color after laser hair removal

There are multiple variables that need to be considered to determine if pigmentation will return after treatment with laser hair removal.. If a patient has dark skin color, the wavelength of the laser needs to be considered. Longer wavenlengths penetrate deeper and spare the epidermal melanin target.  If someone tans prior to the treatment that can increase the epidermal absorption of the energy and decrease the effectiveness of the laser from reaching the hair follicles.  The diameter of the hair shaft and color of the hair also determines the absorption of the energy.  The longer the time in months after the procedure is an indication of the possible long term hypopigmentation or permanency.  A dermatologist may be able to examine the skin with a Wood's light to see if there is some pigment (hypopigmentation) or no pigment (depigmentation). There is hope but don't try to tan to improve the light color as it will accentuate the difference by darkening the surrounding skin and subject you to long term risks of ultraviolet damage. Sunscreen is important.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Discoloration and Laser

Hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin is much more likely a result from laser hair removal due to thermal damage to the skin from the intensity of the laser energy.  However, just like sun damage, the effects can be darkening or lightening of the skin.  While usually temporary, hypopigmentation is notoriously difficult to treat and may require a wait-and-see approach.

Corey L. Hartman, MD, FAAD
Birmingham Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.