Usefulness of a narrow-band reflectance spectrophotometer in evaluating effects of depigmenting treatment

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2001 Mar-Apr;25(2):129-33. doi: 10.1007/s002660010109.


As a depigmenting treatment, combined topical applications of all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) aqueous gel and 5% hydroquinone, 7% lactic acid ointment were used for Oriental patients with hyperpigmented skin lesions such as senile lentigines and nevus spilus. A narrow-band reflectance spectrophotometer and a tristimulus colorimeter were used to evaluate objectively the intensity of pigmentation and erythema at each clinical visit. L*, a*, and b* values measured with a tristimulus colorimeter (Chroma Meter CR-300) enabled the evaluation of erythema but not pigmentation. On the other hand, the melanin and hemoglobin values measured with a narrow-band reflectance spectrophotometer (Mexameter MX-16) expressed both erythema and pigmentation well. It was revealed that, in our bleaching protocol, the narrow-band reflectance spectrophotometer was quite useful for estimating accurately the intensity of pigmentation and erythema and determining the best time point for the cessation of atRA treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hydroquinones / administration & dosage
  • Hydroquinones / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperpigmentation / drug therapy*
  • Lactic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Lactic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Spectrophotometry / methods
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage
  • Tretinoin / therapeutic use*


  • Hydroquinones
  • Lactic Acid
  • Tretinoin