Pigmented Lesion Post-Treatment Guidelines

The treatment of pigmented lesion removal is based upon selective destruction of pigment containing skin cells. Some crusting, darkening, and epidermal damage is expected, which typically resolves within a one to four (1-4) week period.


Treatment Expectations

  • A mild sunburn-like sensation is expected. This usually lasts two to twenty-four (2-24) hours but can persist up to seventy-two (72) hours.
  • Mild swelling and/or redness may accompany this, but it usually resolves in two to three (2-3) days.
  • Apply wrapped ice or gel packs to the treatment area for ten to fifteen (10-15) minutes every hour for the next four hours, as needed. Never apply ice directly to skin. An oral, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen such as Advil®) or an analgesic (acetaminophen such as such as Tylenol® may be taken to reduce discomfort. Use medicine according to manufacturer’s and/ or doctor’s recommendations.
  • Bathe or shower as usual. Treated areas may be temperature-sensitive.
  • Pigment may temporarily appear darker, this is normal and is a desired result.
    • The lesion may initially look raised and/or darker with a reddened perimeter.
    • The lesion will gradually turn darker over the next twenty-four to forty-eight (24-48) hours. It may turn dark brown or even black.
    • The lesion will progress to darkening and/or crusting and will start flaking off in an average of seven to twenty-one (7-21) days. Do not to pick or pull at darkened lesions as scarring may occur.
    • The lesion is usually healed in twenty-one to thirty (21-30) days. It will continue to fade over the next six to eight (6-8) weeks.


AVOID the following (until redness resolves):

  • Cosmetics to treated areas (unless directed by doctor).
  • Swimming, especially in pools with chemicals, such as chlorine.
  • Hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and saunas.
  • Activities that cause excessive perspiration or any activity that may raise core body temperature.
  • Sun exposure and tanning in treated areas.
  • Apply a SPF 45 or greater sunscreen to prevent skin color changes.
  • Do not pick or scratch at treated area.
  • Aggressive scrubbing and use of exfoliants on the treated area.


  • Prolonged itching, redness, and blistering.
  • Hair removal in treated area.
  • Bruising, peeling, rash, lightening or darkening of skin color, ingrown hairs, crusting, swelling, infection, and removal or lightening of freckles.
  • Removal or lightening freckles.
  • Scarring.

Please contact Julie, R.N. at Barnard Dermatology, 831-648-8005, with any questions or concerns.