Treatment of Melasma in Asian Skin Using a Fractional 1,550-nm Laser: An Open Clinical Study

Authors

  • HYOUN SEUNG LEE MD,

    1. Gowoonsesang Dermatology Clinic, Seoul, Korea
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  • CHONG HYUN WON MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Asan Medical Centre, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Ulsan
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  • DONG HUN LEE MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology
    2. Laboratory of Cutaneous Aging Research, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Institute of Dermatological Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
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  • JEE SOO AN MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology
    2. Laboratory of Cutaneous Aging Research, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Institute of Dermatological Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
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  • HANG WOOK CHANG MD,

    1. Ami Clinic, Seoul, Korea
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  • JONG HEE LEE MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Boramae Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • KYU HAN KIM MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology
    2. Laboratory of Cutaneous Aging Research, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Institute of Dermatological Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
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  • SOYUN CHO MD,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Boramae Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • JIN HO CHUNG MD

    1. Department of Dermatology
    2. Laboratory of Cutaneous Aging Research, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Institute of Dermatological Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jin Ho Chung, MD, Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University Hospital, 28, Yongon-dong, Chongno-Gu, Seoul 110-744, Korea, or e-mail: jhchung@snu.ac.kr

Abstract

BACKGROUND Melasma is a common hyperpigmentation disorder that can cause refractory cosmetic disfigurement, especially in Asians. Fractional photothermolysis (FP) has been reported to be effective for the treatment of melasma, despite small study populations and short follow-up periods.

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the efficacy and safety of FP for the treatment of melasma in Asians.

PATIENTS AND METHODS Twenty-five patients with melasma received four monthly FP sessions and were followed up to 24 weeks after treatment completion. Efficacy was evaluated using objective and subjective ratings, Melasma Area and Severity Index (MASI), melanin index tracking, and skin elasticity measurements.

RESULTS Investigators observed clinical improvements in 60% and patients in 44% at 4 weeks after treatment, but the figures decreased to 52% and 35%, respectively, at 24 weeks after treatment. Mean MASI scores decreased significantly from 7.6 to 6.2. Mean melanin index decreased significantly after the first two sessions, but it relapsed slightly in subsequent follow-ups. The treatment did not alter skin elasticity. Hyperpigmentation was observed in three of 23 subjects (13%).

CONCLUSION Treatment of melasma with FP led to some clinical improvements, but it was not as efficacious as previously reported at 6-month follow-up. We recommend judicious use of FP for the treatment of melasma in Asian skin because of its limited efficacy.

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