Pigmentary Changes

There is a remarkable variation in the reported incidence of postoperative pigmentary changes after laser hair removal. Unfortunately most studies have not been carried out under standardized conditions. In different studies, varied laser parameters have been used, follow-up periods have varied from 90 days to 2 years, and the preoperative skin characteristics were not standardized (hair color, skin pigmentation, anatomical region). Finally, the majority of studies estimate the incidence of side effects by subjective clinical evaluation.

In general, laser-induced pigmentary changes depend on the degree of preoperative pigmentation. Lighter skin types potentially experience more postoperative hyperpigmenta-tion. Darker skin types experience more sub-clinical hypopigmentation. This finding is in accordance with the fact that laser light in dark-skinned types is strongly absorbed by the epidermal melanin, leading to potential mela-nocytic damage (Anderson 1994). Conversely, thermal effects in lighter skin may provoke postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

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