Background: Q-switched laser treatment for pigment disorders commonly leads to postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) in Asians.
Objectives: To evaluate the effect of spot size and fluence on Q-switched alexandrite laser (QSAL) treatment for pigmentation in Asians.
Methods: Ten patients with freckles, 18 with lentigines, and 8 with acquired bilateral nevus of Ota-like macules (ABNOM) received 1 session of QSAL treatment for a 3-mm spot on one cheek and a 4-mm spot on the other cheek. The lowest fluences to achieve a visible biologic effect were chosen.
Results: The patients with freckles experienced the highest improvement rate (83-84%), followed by those with lentigines (52%) and ABNOM (35%). Similar efficacy was observed for both cheeks (p > 0.05). PIH developed in 10% (1/10), 44% (8/18), and 75% (6/8) of the patients with freckles, lentigines, and ABNOM, respectively. The severity of PIH was lower in the 4-mm spot with a lower fluence than in the 3-mm spot with a higher fluence in patients with lentigines (p = 0.03), but not in those with freckles or ABNOM.
Conclusions: Using a larger spot to achieve the same biologic effect at a lower fluence is associated with equal efficacy and less-severe PIH in patients with lentigines.