I had a botched laser resurfacing treatment that left facial skin patchy light and dark. Any suggestions?

Please advise

Doctor Answers 5

Patchy Skin after resurfacing

Laser Skin Resurfacing can stimulate the melanocytes (pigment cells) in the deeper skin.
They can respond by producing pigment in the new healing skin.

This can be treated with Hydroquinones and Retin-A but will often take 2 months to improve.

Talk to your practitioner about putting you on these compounds if they feel you have post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

I hope this was helpful.


Tampa Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Avoid the sun

Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is not rare after laser resurfacing. Avoid sun exposure and wear a good sunscreen at all times while outside. Creams like Kojic acid, hydroquinone and Lytera can help. If it doesn't go away after 3 months I would consider adding Intense Pulse Light to the regimen. Follow up with your surgeon is recommended.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Avoid the Sun

Sun exposure can cause pigmentation problems.  Always wear sunscreen and avoid the sun when possible.  Your surgeon can recommend a good skin care program to aid in the healing of the laser procedure.  An exam will help determine the next step. Follow up with your surgeon.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Pigmentation problems following laser resurfacing

Hello.  Thank you for your question.  Hyperpigmentation (darker areas) and hypopigmentation (lighter areas) are risks of laser skin resurfacing.  The risk of these complications is higher in individuals with darker skin.  The fact that you have some pigmentation problems following your procedure does not necessarily mean that your procedure was "botched".  All cosmetic procedures have risks.  Complications can occur even in the hands of the most experienced surgeons performing procedures with perfect technique.  Hyperpigmentation generally responds well to treatment, while hypopigmentation is a little more challenging problem.  I would suggest that you follow-up with your provider, if you have not already done this, and make them aware of your concerns.  They need to be aware of the complication and may be able to advise you on a treatment plan to correct the pigmentation problems.  If they are not willing or able to advise you and manage the problem, then I would suggest getting a consultation with a Facial Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist with experience in managing pigmentation problems.  I hope this information is helpful.

Michael Boggess, MD
Nashville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Discoloration after laser

My most important recommendation is sun avoidance. You should be wearing sunscreen (at least SPF 30) every day and wearing wide brim hats when outside. Excessive sun exposure after laser treatment can lead to prolonged discoloration of the skin. In terms of further treatments for the discoloration, depending on the appearance, I might recommend bleaching creams, chemical peels, or possibly further laser treatments. A consultation is very important to determining the next step.

Anne Marie Tremaine, MD
Naples 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.