Get access

Topical antioxidant application augments the effects of intense pulsed light therapy


  • Presented at the ASLMS Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, April 1–5, 2009.

Bruce M Freedman, MD, 8180 Greensboro Drive #1015, McLean, VA 22102, USA. E-mail:


Background  There has been great interest in improving the efficacy of nonablative technologies by combining them during facial skin rejuvenation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the addition of topical polyphenolic antioxidants to an intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment regimen augmented the effects of facial IPL treatments.

Methods  Thirty female volunteers, ages 34–52, with skin phototypes 1–3 were randomly assigned into three groups: group A (n = 10) received three full-face IPL treatments spaced 3 weeks apart; group B (n = 10) underwent 6-weekly full-face treatments of a pneumatically applied topical polyphenolic antioxidant solution; group C (n = 10) received the combination of the three full-face IPL treatments and the six full-face topical antioxidant applications. Skin biopsies, skin polyphenolic antioxidant levels, and skin moisture content levels were obtained and clinical efficacy variables were noted prior to and following the treatment period.

Results  Compared to group A, group C demonstrated significantly greater epidermal and papillary dermal thickness, decreased lipid peroxide concentration, increased skin moisture content, and increased polyphenolic antioxidants levels (P < 0.05). There was qualitative improvement in hydration, texture, and pore size. Compared to group B, group C demonstrated significantly greater papillary dermal thickness (P < 0.05), and qualitative improvement in reduction of fine lines, reduction of hyperpigmentation, and skin dullness. group B and group C had equivalent polyphenolic antioxidant levels, lipid peroxide concentration, and epidermal thickness.

Conclusion  The addition of polyphenolic antioxidants to an IPL regimen improved the clinical, biochemical, and histological changes seen following IPL treatment alone. These data support the use of multimodal therapy to create synergy and to optimize clinical outcomes in nonablative facial skin rejuvenation.