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Hyperpigmentation After Laser Treatment - Help!

laser hyperpigmentation

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#1 Meg M

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

I was very nervous about having any sort of lasering done to my skin for a very long time. Finally, after much research and reading this board, I decided to take the leap. I had it done by doctors experienced with treating darker-skinned patients. I'm Asian.

While I only have scars on my cheeks, I also decided to have my entire face lasered to get rid of uneven skin tone and what was probably sun damage. I'm 2.5 weeks out and I have severe hyperpigmentation all over my face. Needless to say, I'm terrified. I'm not an extremely dark-skinned Asian, but I do have a lot of hidden melanin (my mother is very white, and my father very tan). If there are any Asians who have experienced this (hopefully, temporary) phenomenon after lasering, please tell me whether it resolved for you and how long it took. Please feel free to message me privately as well.

Thanks so much!

Edited by Meg M, 04 November 2012 - 02:39 PM.


#2 LoveGreenSmoothies

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

I am not Asian nor have I had laser, br during research I've heard they treat it with certain methods, like maybe hydroquinone?

Did you tel your md about this? What did they say?

#3 Meg M

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:12 AM

During the consultation, I spoke to them about the possibility of hyperpigmentation given my skin color. They sent me home with 8% hydroquinone. I know that hydroquinone has become a very controversial ingredient over the years. I did some Google searches just to learn more about it. The U.S. may be the only country that still permits the ingredient to be used in products sold to the public. 2% you can get OTC. Anything more must be by prescription. I've heard many say that their doctor prescribed 4%. I have never heard anyone mention using 8%. (Doctors talk frequently about prescribing hydroquinone, but you'll find a lot of U.S. cosmetic companies that sell skin-lightening products have long since stopped manufacturing products which contain it.)

I called the doctor's office and spoke to a nurse. She answered some questions, but had the doctor return my call. The voice message he left for me was a standard professional answer - that hyperpigmentation in patients with darker skin tones are usually treated with hydroquinone. I had asked the nurse whether there was a safer alternative that might be just as efficacious as hydroquinone (she recommended a skin care line they sold at the office) but, when the doctor returned my call, he did not address this. Right now, I'm applying a product called Meladerm. Only time will tell. It's a highly distressing experience.

I know a number of people on this board have had lasering and hope that they can offer some reassuring words. Thanks for the response, LoveGreenSmoothies.

Edited by Meg M, 04 November 2012 - 11:13 AM.


#4 *Inspired*

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

I used hydroquinone for several months. If you're not allergic to it, it's your best option, and will work the fastest. Just don't use it for more than 3 months at a time, and you should be fine. You must also use sunblock when using hydroquinone.

#5 blahblah82

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:41 AM

Same situation I'm dealing with now. I got the 8% hydroquinone from a compounding pharmacy. I was told to use it twice a day for two weeks, and if that doesn't work then I would need some sort of light therapy to help the hyperpigmentation.

#6 *Inspired*

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:36 PM

Same situation I'm dealing with now. I got the 8% hydroquinone from a compounding pharmacy. I was told to use it twice a day for two weeks, and if that doesn't work then I would need some sort of light therapy to help the hyperpigmentation.


Hydroquinone normally takes time to work because it only inhibits the production of melanin in your skin. Although it's frequently called a bleaching cream, it doesn't actually "bleach" your skin or treat existing hyperpigmentation. Are you using a retinoid, like Retin-a? If not, you might want to use both. The retin-a will accelerate cell turnover and shed,your existing hyperpigmentation faster.

Also, if I were you, I would start slowly with 8% Hydroquinone to be sure it doesn't irritate your skin. I only used 4% HQ and it caused redness at first. While I was told to use it twice a day, I applied it once a day. I used 0.01% Tretinoin at night, and HQ mixed with moisturizer in the morning. I would then apply sunblock over the HQ after waiting 1-2 hours.

Also, I just remembered this -- try to avoid products with benzoyl peroxide or other peroxides when using Hydroquinone. That pretty much eliminates most drug store OTC products and "The Regimen". It can cause temporary dark spots on your skin. The spots fade pretty quickly after you wash the product with peroxide off your face. It took a little while for me to figure this out. At first, I walked around with a grayish tint to some areas of my skin. Once I stopped using products with peroxide, the problem went away. If you Google HQ, I am sure you can find plenty of warnings about this, as well.

#7 Meg M

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

Thanks for the replies, ToykoGirl and blahblah.

I opted to use the Meladerm I had purchased online rather than the 8% HQ. I've seen some pretty substantial improvement since I posted, but there's still a long way to go. I even went several days w/o using the Meladerm - instead, opting to use a moisturizer at night containing ingredients which are "direct tyrosinase inhibitors" (i.e., skin whiteners). I don't apply the Meladerm during the day at all due to all the scary stories about HQ and direct sunlight exposure. I figure I should try to play it safe with the Meladerm, too.

I was told by the nurse at the doc's office that HQ would (1) lighten existing hyperpigmentation, as well as (2) prevent further hyperpigmentation.

The yucky brown/dark color my skin is experiencing appears as a grayish tint underneath makeup. I hate it.

#8 blahblah82

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:45 AM

From what I've read HYPERpigmentation almost always resolves with bleaching cream therapy. If you have HYPOpigmentation, that's where you run into trouble because that can be permanent.

I got only my cheeks treated so I have two patches of hyperpigmentation. Even though I am southeast asian, my skin is very white. The contrast between my white face and the red / brown patches was pronounced.

Here's a trick I tried though....Don't laugh, but I bought some self tanner from CVS to tan the rest of my face and neck to blend in the color. Surprisingly, it worked quite well to camouflage the odd contrast in color on my face.

#9 jbird12

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 07:28 PM

I'm a fairly white guy so I'm not sure how much my advice will help, but after my first Mixto treatment, I had a small patch of brown hyperpigmentation develop. It looked pretty awful and noticeable because it was almost a perfect square like the laser hit that area a little too hard.

Anyway, I did three things which cleared it up pretty quickly:

1) I applied lemon juice via cotton ball to the area at night.

2) I picked up a product called Neutrogena Retinol SA from my local Walgreens and used this nightly after applying the lemon juice.

3) I made sure to use a sun block on the area every day.

Using this combination, I saw noticeable results in about 2 weeks and the spot disappeared completely in about a month. Not sure if this was due to the method of my madness or just time, but the patch cleared up.

#10 Meg M

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

Thanks for all your responses. I'm sorry that I've been away; I've been very busy.

Blah, I hope your hyperpigmentation resolved. Mine has. It took a good 1.5 mos. I didn't use the Meladerm (or any other whitening product) for more than 5-7 days simply bc I was too busy. I also wanted to be sure that it was the laser, and not the whitening product, that actually helped with the melasma. I had lasering for both my acne scars (isolated, on cheek areas only) and my uneven skin tone.

Just to provide a little reassurance to those out there doing lasering... hyperpigmentation is to be expected, but should resolve. How long it takes can depend upon your skin color. I'm a fair-skinned Asian, but one who can tan quite a bit under prolonged sun exposure.

As for the acne scarring, there is a noticeable improvement, according to my mother (who saw me over the holidays (approx. 2.5 mos. later). Please note: She's one of my biggest skin critics and she wouldn't play it up or down. I agree - there is noticeable improvement, but not all the scars are entirely gone. It was my first laser procedure. I hope to return for my second treatment in late Feb., but not looking forward to the hyperpigmentation again.

Edited by Meg M, 06 January 2013 - 05:14 PM.


#11 dragonn

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:36 PM

Hey Meg, thanks for coming back and updating! Not sure if I missed it but what laser was used and what type/severity of scars did you have?
I'm glad you got improvement!

#12 Meg M

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:11 AM

Hi dragonn,

Four different lasers were used on my face, but only one was used on my entire face; the rest were used on isolated areas. If my memory serves me, only one of the four lasers was used for the acne scarring and I was told it was some type of YAG. I can tell you for sure it was NOT Fraxel, MiXto, Deep or Total FX - the ones most people have been talking about on this board. They do not own those, but they do own approx. 30 lasers and the doctor is highly skilled at using them. You can send me a private msg if you'd like to know the doctor who treated me. It is in Southern California and I flew in from the east coast.

I'd like to say that my scars looked somewhat like Tokyo Girl's (I think she goes by Inspired now) after she had treatment (don't know if she still has those pictures up). They were not as severe as many on this board, and in fact are even less intense after this first laser treatment. However, they are noticeable to someone having a face-to-face conversation with me. Believe me. Btw, they are best described as boxcars on my right cheek and icepicks on my left. I definitely don't have the type called "rolling" scars.

I hope this helps. Sorry I don't post pics like many here. I'll consider doing so after my next treatment, but no promises.

Edited by Meg M, 07 January 2013 - 12:17 AM.


#13 blahblah82

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:08 AM

Perhaps you are referring to erbium? This was an ablative laser correct? Meaning there was crusting and peeling. Where did you get treated? A doctor's office? I'm STILL dealing with some hyperpigmentation 3.5 months after my Mixto laser. I will say though that only within the last month have I been treating it diligently with hydroquinone, retin-a, and a topical steriod. It's lightened a bit, and I'm not as self conscious about it anymore. I also want to do another laser session, but also not looking forward to months of this again. UGH....

#14 austra

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

Hi dragonn,

Four different lasers were used on my face, but only one was used on my entire face; the rest were used on isolated areas. If my memory serves me, only one of the four lasers was used for the acne scarring and I was told it was some type of YAG. I can tell you for sure it was NOT Fraxel, MiXto, Deep or Total FX - the ones most people have been talking about on this board. They do not own those, but they do own approx. 30 lasers and the doctor is highly skilled at using them. You can send me a private msg if you'd like to know the doctor who treated me. It is in Southern California and I flew in from the east coast.

I'd like to say that my scars looked somewhat like Tokyo Girl's (I think she goes by Inspired now) after she had treatment (don't know if she still has those pictures up). They were not as severe as many on this board, and in fact are even less intense after this first laser treatment. However, they are noticeable to someone having a face-to-face conversation with me. Believe me. Btw, they are best described as boxcars on my right cheek and icepicks on my left. I definitely don't have the type called "rolling" scars.

I hope this helps. Sorry I don't post pics like many here. I'll consider doing so after my next treatment, but no promises.

I'm very happy to hear you got improvement - I have just the same type of scarring and am considering laser treatments. If you can do follow-ups later or post further details about your treatment (type of laser, settings, recovery period etc), that would be very much appreciated. But thank you in any case and I hope your results improve even further over time. :)

#15 Meg M

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

Yes, blah, it was definitely ablative. (I just responded to a private msg from someone who asked the same thing.) I know that "erbium' is associated with "YAG" - I don't know by which name to call it. With regard to the laser used to treat my scars, the doc referred to it as "YAG" and he didn't refer to the names of the other lasers.

3.5 mos. out after Mixto? I'm sorry to hear that. I think those who are considering this laser should take note. My hyperpigmentation resolved in approx. 6 weeks, w/ very minimal use of a topical lightening agent - as I said, I used the Meladerm only 4 or 5 times.

When you say you're still experiencing hyperpigmentation, do you mean that the uneven skin tone which resulted from the lasering still persists or is your entire complexion darker (but evenly dark) than it was before lasering? I think that's an important distinction. And if the latter, my best advice is to just be patient. If the former, I hope you made your treating physician aware of the issue. I felt like I was still dealing with an overall darkened complexion when I went home for Xmas (I had the lasering in mid-Oct.), but my mother didn't notice anything and later I too felt like it was mostly my imagination.

I will msg you privately with my doctor's info, and will be happy to do the same for anyone else.

Thanks, austra. I will definitely do that. I expect to return for a second treatment in late Feb. so look for further updates then. Posted Image

Edited by Meg M, 11 January 2013 - 07:40 PM.


#16 no_hope

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 03:09 PM

mega m since you have box car/ ice pick scarring laser will not help your type of scars. laser is a more of a finish off type of procedure. i also have the same type of scarring. i think you would get a great result if you combine a invasive treatment like subcision or excision with a laser . this seems to be the best way to go for deep box car and ice picks.



#17 vaschetan

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:17 AM

hey everyone,

 

Ive had 4 sittings of dermaroller and 1-2 subcision treatments. I have ice pick acne scars........a lot of em......im asian too.........i have a tan on me not that im dark nor am i as fair as most koreans or japanese people :)

I recently.....infact today had a laser treatment done on my scars which are mostly on my cheeks. i wanted some tips about post laser treatment care......

i am actually planning to go on a bike ride for a whole day....day after tomo that is the second day after my treatment.....

Can i do this if i take enough care to cover myself up properly?? what do you guys think? (from your experience ofcourse).....



#18 mrsrobinson

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:26 AM

can you wear a hat broad enough to cover everything?  that would be best....if not is your skin ready for sunscreen?

 

You didn't mention what type of laser, I'm assuming not ablative, but you need to be very careful about not irritating the skin with sunscreens, and you absolutely need to avoid the sun without it.

 

so broad hat if you can to completely shade your cheeks...if not spot test sunscreen on those spots today...and I would avoid 10 am to 2 pm sun if at all possible

 

 

but we have to keep living and keep active, just be smart about it