Microdermabrasion leaves dark lines on black client's skin... why?

I have been working with a traditional crystal microdermabrasion machine for over seven years.  I have used it on all skin types without ever having a problem.  Two weeks ago I treated a client I have been working on for over a year.  She now has dark lines along her temples and onto the cheeks where I treated her.  After two weeks they have not faded.  I did not turn the machine up and she did not complain of discomfort during treatment.  I have used digestive enzymes and fruit enzymes in the past on her with good result.  I am concerned and unsure of how to treat her when she returns in a couple of weeks.  She has decided to use  a HQ in the mean time to fade the dark lines (I asked her to get permission from a dermatologist before she treats the pigmentation, but she did not agree with me).  Does anyone know what I should do to help her skin return to normal?

Tags: micordermabrasion, pigmentaion

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You may want to try red light therapy to help fade the dark areas. I have used microdermabrasion for years, I am a dark skin woman, and nothing like that has ever happened to me. Good luck. Lemon juice also lightens the skin.

This is a first for me too, and I really appreciate having this forum to go to for advice.

I don't do much microdermabrasion, but it sounds like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

The girls with darker skin seem to think that they don't need to use sunscreen...but it is mandatory to be diligent with your protection after any facial procedure.

And do not use lemon juice on your face!

there are many properly formulated serums with melanin suppressors that would be better.

Cindy, didn't mean to imply anything about the lemon juice... It helps for my hyperpigmentation

no problem Gladys - but we need to get you off that lemon juice! A vit c serum is much more stable with predictable percentage and natural lighteners (including vit c) and melanin suppressors would have a much more gentle pH for your lovely skin!

What we are willing to do on our own skin isn't always good for clients.

I am thinking that since Jennifer's client is familiar with HQ then she has had some PIH/HP issues in the past.  Maybe you could alternate a good peel or your enzymes with the microdermabrasion. And I think the LED is a great idea - helps with healing and hp.

Thanks Cindy, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me.

Cindy, Vitamin c is the best! Skinsudicals has CE serum that I use everyday good for hyperpigmentation and fine lines. Expense but totally worth it. Dark skin should not pigment with microdermabrasion. Lemon juice for me with honey:)

So Im going to ask some direct questions here to get a better understanding.

1. Did you not pre-treat her skin for hp before doing the micro?

2. Within the year how many treatments were specifically for hp?

3. Do you have homecare that is for hp?

I agree with Cindy and this sounds like post-inflammatory hp. I dont use crystal micro on my skin and dont on any ethnic skin tones for this same reason. You are going to need to start treating her in clinic and home care for pigmentation. I use Pamela Springers Global Skincare line in my clinic and for my personal homecare. Her backbar peels and cookbook are the best!

She presented with congested skin, which we successfully treated. She had in the past used HQ for pigmentation under the jaw where she had picked and tweezed ingrown coarse hairs that left dark marks.  I had never treated her for pigmentation.  This is the second microderm I preformed, the first not having any adverse reaction.  After her skin was cleared she wanted to address the large pores and some pitting that remained.

I would have to say that the hp was from the 1st micro. Because she had hp in the past that means she is prone and micro would not be the treatment for her. If you did opt for that she needs to be on homecare that incorporates hp products to inhibit that. Do you not offer lactic peels? What skincare do you use. Do you have a full consulation on her for meds, burn factor, etc?

I have offered lactic peels in the past, however the smell was so caustic I discontinued them.  I use France Laure, Decleor, and some UltraCeuticles.  I specialize in natural skincare and do not use chemicals or lasers.  I did what I felt was a full consultation, I guess I was not educated enough about pigmentation risks with microderm.  I was very cautious with the strength of the treatment and I'm glad I didn't turn it up like she requested. I love what I do and I put my heart into it, I am distraught that I have caused this damage. I will have to be even more careful in the future. Thank you for your advice.

omigosh Jennifer, don't beat yourself up so much.  PIH happens...this could have happened to any one of us.  If you have a good consultation/consent form you can at least have a head's up next time. If client didn't share this info with you how would you have known? 'Course NOW you do know that is is a possibility...and that it can be fairly common with darker skin. That is why a lot of experienced estheticians are overly cautious...slow and steady treatment protocols are the way to go here.

I don't find lactic peels to be too smelly - I am wondering if it was the particular one that you had.  I am using Skin Script RX 20% Lactic with Kojic Acid and it is a fabulous introductory peel. Very easy to use.

But there are a lot of very good peels and peel blends that you could try out - they aren't necessarily as strong as you might be using - but if you have at least one entry level peel that is safe for most people it will be a great addition to your backbar.

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