Hypopigmentation after 6 Fraxel Treatments: Was this caused by Fraxel? (photos)

I wanted to reach out because I have noticed a trail of white dots along my forehead and down my hairline since receiving 6 fraxel treatments. I've never noticed these spots prior to laser treatments and I'm not sure how this happened? When confronting the Dr. (not dermatologist), she said it's not actually hypopigmentation, but rather my true skin tone since the fraxel targeted/removed the hyperpigmentation . I'm very worried about the damage to my skin and wanted to get a second opinion.

Doctor Answers 4

Hypopigmentation treatment

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Hypopigmented spots are an uncommon but possible side effect after various skin laser treatments. However, it is unlikely from the Fraxel Restore, and there are other causes that could have contributed to this condition. Because of that, it is difficult to say whether or not the laser specifically caused these spots. I would recommend being examined by a board certified dermatologist. Depending on the type of pigment alteration there are other treatment options that you might explore.

There are three types of Fraxel Lasers: Fraxel Repair, Fraxel Restore 1550 and 1927. Hypopigmentation is possible.

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Multiple treatments with Fraxel Repair would be more likely to cause hypopigmentation than treatments with the Fraxel Restore Laser even though hypopigmentation could rarely occur with almost any skin laser treatment depending on the settings used and the type of treatment that is performed.  Check with a dermatologist for an expert opinion. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Hypopigmented spots on the skin and Fraxel

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Hypomelanotic macules (white skin spots) can be solely due to sun damage, as is most likely the case from your photo.  In fact, many people have them on arms, legs and upper chest, where they have had the most sun damage.  It is hard to know how your treatment did or didn't affect your sun damage without knowing exactly which Fraxel treatment you had, though if it was repeated six times it sounds like it was a pretty gentle one.  Too much sun within six months of a Fraxel treatment would also put you at risk of this kind of pigment problem.  If the Fraxel helped your fine wrinkles but you still have discoloration or if you accidentally got too much sun after Fraxel and regained some discoloration, then I recommend either Fraxel 1927 treatment or a few IPL treatments.

Karen Stolman, MD
Sandy Dermatologic Surgeon

Fraxel and hypopigmentation

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Fraxel is a great laser for sun damage, hyperpimentation, age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. It would be very helpful to post a before photo so that I could see your pigmentation. Do you know what settings you had done.  I would consult with a board certified dermatologist for an evaluation. 

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.