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April 1963

Hyperpigmentation of Unplaned Skin

Author Affiliations


From Departments of Dermatology, University of California Medical School and Highland-Alameda County Hospital.

Arch Dermatol. 1963;87(4):493-494. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590160085019

Many authors have mentioned cutaneous hyperpigmentation of the abraded skin as a complication of dermabrasion.1 While depigmentation has been common in my experience, this has seldom been stressed in the literature. As we reexamine patients who underwent this surgical procedure years ago, it is evident that a not uncommon complication is hyperpigmentation in the unabraded portion of the skin. Just as in vitiligo, the surrounding skin may become darker than normal. In addition, there may be areas of markedly increased, irregular, streaky brownish pigmentation in the untreated portions. Furthermore, this type of discoloration has a different prognosis than that occurring in the planed regions, since it does not disappear spontaneously with the passage of time. Two such cases are reported briefly to illustrate this previously unrecognized complication.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.—  A 25-year-old white man had acne on his face, chest, and back some ten years previously. This

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