What Laser Treatment Would Be Beneficial for Facial Hyperpigmentaion for African American? (photo)

I am 20 yrs old an have struggle a while with hyperpigmentation. Several years ago I had a bad case of chicken pox an went through procedure to remove the darker spots. While the procedure was a success it made my forehead, cheeks, an neck significantly a shade darker. I have finish a great deal of research an was recommended an combination of a laser treatment following a brightening serum silk peel in a series to optimize results. I'm wondering what laser would be beneficial to use ?

Doctor Answers 4

Hyperpigmentation may be difficult to treat

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I'm glad you're doing much research as it is extremely important not to rush in to having treatment that can worsen, rather than improve your results.  The photographs of the gentleman you included that had laser are unfortunately not a true depiction of the actual coloration improvement as the after photograph has a lot of light reflection and is brighter than the before picture.  Although I'm sure this was not done intentionally (it is difficult to take exactly the same photograph with the same settings before vs. after unless you're a professional photographer) the more bright and light-reflected "after" will create the appearance of lighter skin color.

Hyperpigmentation occurs as the pigment, melanin, in the melanocytes are released and drop in the dermis. When I see patients in consultation I use a Wood's light to determine if it is a epidermal, dermal or combined pigmentation, which tells me if topical creams and peels will help of if it is too deep.  Deep pigmentation may need laser such as the Fraxel Dual laser.  ANY treatment however, that risks irritation (even over the counter lightening creams can cause this) or inflammation such as laser, can induce hyperpigmenation. It is an unfortunate paradox that trying to lighten the skin with a peel, topical cream or laser, that are designed for such use, can actually darkent the skin with post inflammatory hyperpigmenation.  Pretreatment of the skin with lightening creams and Retin A and compliance with using sunscreen and sun avoidance are crucial to help the procedure produce the best results. Furthermore, I suggest doing test spots with laser prior to doing so. If the test spots produce post inflammatory hyperpigmentation then the treatment is not done to the whole face. If however, the tests are done and no hyperpigmenation occurs, it doesn't mean it wouldn't after the whole face is done, and this is very important for all patients to understand. The risk is there, despite taking all precautions.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Laser Treatment for Facial Hyperpigmentation

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Until recently, aggressive laser resurfacing of the face (ablative laser treatment) was the only way to achieve superior cosmetic results in rejuvenating significantly aged or sun-damaged skin. Unfortunately, this treatment is associated with open healing, with prolonged recovery time and redness. With the advent of fractionated laser resurfacing (non-ablative laser), specifically the Fraxel laser, significant results can be achieved through a series of “fractional” treatments whereby multiple tiny columns of skin are aggressively treated, with surrounding areas of skin untouched. This enables faster healing than if the entire area were treated at once, and since there is no skin surface disruption, healing times are very short. This treatment eliminates irregular skin discoloration, and stimulates new collagen production, tightening the skin without prolonged recovery. After a series of 2 to 4 Fraxel treatments, the cumulative cosmetic improvement is near more aggressive lasers, but unlike more aggressive lasers, redness and swelling eliminated within 2 to 4 days after each treatment. Fraxel is outstanding for  irregular pigmentation. 

There are many different treatments for hyperpigmentation.

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The are many different treatments for hyperpigmentation.  The difficult part is deciding which one is going to give you the results that you really desire.

This is often easier after a face-to-face consultation.  You may also not need a laser treatment, but rather medications which can help with bleaching or a good skin car regimen.

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 297 reviews

Best laser treatment for hyperpigmentation for African American

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  The question to ask is not which laser is right for you.  Try not to believe all of the hype advertising the latest greatest laser.  IMHO, the question you should ask yourself is how you should choose a physician who can give you the results that you desire.

I think you may be able to get by with a home skin care program and a series of light peels.  You can save a lot of money this way and use it to celebrate your improved appearance.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 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.