Cooling Skin After Laser Treatments Could Cause Discoloration

Darker-skinned patients who undergo laser treatments are already at greater risk for hyperpigmentation. And now, it appears that a cooling technique commonly used to protect skin after laser treatments may actually increase the likelihood of discoloration.

Bangkok researchers used a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser on 21 women to treat Hori's nevus, which are bluish-brown spots that sometimes develop with age on Asian skin. While only 5% of participants experienced new hyperpigmentation on the uncooled side of their faces, 62% saw new discoloration on the side that had been cooled after treatment.

The researchers are unsure why cooling would cause such a dramatic increase, but they are hoping for future studies about epidermal cooling and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.