Treatment of nonmelanotic hyperpigmentation with the Q-switched ruby laser

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Aug;43(2 Pt 1):272-4. doi: 10.1067/mjd.2000.105555.


Hyperpigmentation of the skin is often refractory to conventional therapies, but has significant cosmetic implications if located on visible areas. Because laser systems are capable of removing pigment deposits caused by selective photothermolysis, we addressed the issue of whether the Q-switched ruby laser could be a useful alternative in the treatment of nonmelanotic hyperpigmented skin lesions. We report the successful treatment of a patient with hyperpigmentation caused by iatrogenic human herpesvirus 8-associated Kaposi's sarcoma and a patient with hyperpigmentation caused by long-term antimalarial therapy for cutaneous lupus erythematosus. In both patients, clinical lightening of the darkly pigmented lesions was seen after a single treatment, and a significant improvement was observed after 3 laser applications. The patients tolerated the laser therapy well without any short-term side effects and did not experience either scarring or considerable textural skin changes. Histologic examination was performed before and after laser treatment to confirm the reduction of the pigment deposits. Our data indicate that treatment of nonmelanotic skin hyperpigmentation with the Q-switched ruby laser might be a safe and powerful therapeutic method.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / pathology
  • Hyperpigmentation / radiotherapy*
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged