The effect of fractional carbon dioxide lasers on idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis: a preliminary study

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Feb;27(2):e243-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2012.04597.x. Epub 2012 May 31.


Background: Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) is a commonly acquired leucoderma that is characterized by discrete, round or oval porcelain-white macules ∼2-5 mm in diameter that increases in number with age. A variety of therapies with variable success rates, including cryotherapy, superficial abrasion and topical retinoids are currently being used.

Objectives: The effects of fractional CO(2) laser therapy on IGH were investigated in this pilot study.

Patients and methods: A total of 40 patients with IGH were enrolled. The hypopigmented lesions were treated using a 10 600-nm carbon dioxide fractional laser (CO(2) FL). Two months after a single treatment, physicians' clinical assessments were performed and the patients' overall satisfaction was evaluated.

Results: The mean age of enrolled patients was 57.5 ± 10.9 years and the gender ratio was 7 : 33. The face was the most commonly treated area, although the extremities are epidemiologically the most frequently affected areas. Two months after treatment, objective assessments performed by two independent dermatologists indicated more than 50% improvement in 36 patients (90%), compared with baseline. In addition, 33 patients (82.5%) were very satisfied or satisfied with just one session of CO(2) FL treatment. Although a few patients complained of long-standing erythema and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, these problems spontaneously resolved within 2 months after the assessments. No other noticeable side effects were observed.

Conclusion: CO(2) FL might be a very convenient and effective modality for treating IGH without significant side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carbon Dioxide*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Lasers, Gas*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigmentation Disorders / surgery*


  • Carbon Dioxide