Why is There Temporary Discoloration of the Skin After Laser Hair Removal?

Brian Lett
By Brian Lett
9 Min Read

Why is there temporary discoloration of the skin after laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a popular solution for anyone seeking to rid themselves of unwanted hair, as it offers a safe, fast and efficient alternative to more invasive forms of removal.

However, laser hair removal can produce side effects like discoloration of the skin that are usually temporary, but in rare instances can become permanent if an error was made during treatment.


Hyperpigmentation is a side effect of laser hair removal treatments for all skin types, with darker complexions being particularly susceptible. Discoloration from laser treatment may last from several days up to several months depending on severity, but usually won’t be permanent if administered by experienced and certified medical professionals such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC.

Hyper-pigmentation occurs as a result of inflammation of the skin due to laser treatments. When this happens, melanocytes produce additional pigment (melanin). This leads to dark spots on the skin which may be permanent or fade over time; they often look similar to acne scarring but usually only lasts permanent damage.

Laser treatments often cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH refers to an excessive buildup of pigmentation following inflammation or trauma to the skin, including injury from medication reactions or sun damage, inflammation from skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema or even treatments such as chemical peels or dermabrasion.

Symptoms of PIH typically include red, brown or purple spots appearing on the face and neck as well as on other parts of the body such as chest, shoulders and arms. Dark circles or puffy eyes may also occur due to this condition while itching or burning sensations may also accompany symptoms of PIH.

Left untreated, PIH can become permanent. Therefore, it is imperative that it is addressed as soon as it appears with topical treatments like tretinoin, hydroquinone and lightening creams to fade the blemishes; while for severe cases additional treatments may be required.

Other strategies to help avoid or reduce PIH from laser treatments include protecting yourself from UV radiation by wearing broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily, limiting sun exposure and avoiding tanning beds. Also recommended is using moisturizer with peptides and vitamin C that keeps skin healthy while stimulating collagen production.


Laser treatments use intense beams of light to alter or eliminate skin conditions; however, they may also have unwanted side effects, including hypopigmentation – characterized by lighter patches on skin that contrast with its surroundings due to melanin deficiency in your cells – leading to hypopigmentation in areas treated by laser hair removal, dermabrasion or cosmetic procedures; it may also occur as the result of chronic skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.

Laser hair removal typically leaves temporary hyperpigmentation that will fade over the course of one to two months, but if you want to expedite this process further, using a hydroquinone-free skin lightener such as tranexamic acid may hasten its recovery. Always wear sunscreen with SPF 30 protection on any areas vulnerable to sun damage such as these sensitive spots.

Laser hair removal often leads to leukotrichia, an appearance of white or gray patches on the skin caused by damage to melanocytes in hair follicles that destroy melanin production in skin melanin production. Although temporary in most cases, permanent melanin loss could occur.

Hypopigmentation may also be caused by limited sunlight exposure, certain medications, and infections; it can affect people of all races and genders but most frequently affects those with dark skin tones. Furthermore, hypopigmentation has been observed among patients living with autoimmune conditions like Lupus or diabetes.

Dermatologists can provide expert guidance to reduce and treat unwanted side effects from laser treatment. They may suggest products containing antioxidants and vitamins to protect your skin and lower risk of hypopigmentation; advise against harsh chemical products; hydrate your skin to improve appearance; as well as suggest treatments such as antifungal medication for tinea versicolor or vitiligo, taken orally as pills or applied topically as ointments.


Laser hair removal can cause scarring if its heat damages the skin too severely, and is more likely among people with darker skin tones as their pigment absorbs laser energy used to target hair follicles. However, proper patient selection and laser selection can significantly lower this risk.

Laser treatment results in scars that either hypopigment or hyperpigment, depending on its mode. Hyperpigmentation occurs when laser light breaks up pigment particles on the surface of skin and darkens it, usually lasting about one month post-treatment; however, your cosmetic surgeon can recommend lightening creams that will help address persistent discolorations issues.

Purpura is an uncommon side effect caused by laser hair removal treatments irritating blood vessels in the treated area, resulting in purple spots or scabs which usually heal within days after laser treatments have taken place. Although generally not related to laser treatments themselves, laser hair removal should not be undertaken if you are tanned as this increases chances of purpura development.

Be mindful that laser hair removal requires multiple sessions in order to produce results you desire, and try not to use other forms of hair removal such as waxing or shaving during this time period. If using such methods, make sure they are performed in a clinic or office that has been authorized by your physician.

Overdoing laser hair removal, particularly on a large area, can damage skin surfaces and reactivate dormant follicles that should remain dormant. Be sure to follow your physician’s instructions regarding pre- and post-treatment care; such as using broad spectrum sunscreen daily and limiting sun exposure. You should also discuss any concerns with your laser technician and address them directly as soon as possible. Also be wary when getting it from nonmedical facilities or individuals without medical licenses to perform the procedure


Laser hair removal is a highly popular dermatological procedure that helps people remove unwanted hair. This treatment uses small, high-heat lasers to target and destroy pigmentation in hair follicles without harming surrounding skin or causing any side effects – however some people do experience temporary discolorations after treatment, although this should not cause alarm as these changes could have many different causes.

One common cause of temporary discoloration after laser hair removal is skin irritation caused by laser heat. If your skin becomes red and flaky after laser therapy treatment, apply some ice to reduce skin inflammation after your session or use a topical anesthetic beforehand to decrease discomfort.

If you have darker skin, laser hair removal can lead to hyperpigmentation in some instances. This occurs because pigment in your skin absorbs laser energy and becomes damaged, potentially leading to dark spots or even melasma. While hyperpigmentation may only be temporary, lightening creams, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels may help treat this temporary effect.

At times, temporary discoloration after laser hair removal treatments is caused by pregnancy or hormonal fluctuations, or selecting a clinic with experienced practitioners and top-of-the-line laser equipment. If you experience discoloration concerns after laser hair removal treatments, reach out to your clinic of choice; they should arrange for you to come in for consultation and assessment to assess whether they believe your symptoms may be related to laser treatment or not.

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