Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2012 Dec;139 Suppl 4:S159-65. doi: 10.1016/S0151-9638(12)70129-1.


Lasers are a very effective approach for treating many hyperpigmented lesions. They are the gold standard treatment for actinic lentigos and dermal hypermelanocytosis, such as Ota nevus. Becker nevus, hyperpigmented mosaicisms, and lentigines can also be successfully treated with lasers, but they could be less effective and relapses can be observed. However, lasers cannot be proposed for all types of hyperpigmentation. Thus, freckles and café-au-lait macules should not be treated as the relapses are nearly constant. Due to its complex pathophysiology, melasma has a special place in hyperpigmented dermatoses. Q-switched lasers (using standard parameters or low fluency) should not be used because of consistent relapses and the high risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Paradoxically, targeting the vascular component of the melasma lesion with lasers could have a beneficial effect. However, these results have yet to be confirmed. In all cases, a precise diagnosis of the type of hyperpigmentation is mandatory before any laser treatment, and the limits and the potential side effects of the treatment must be clearly explained to patients.

MeSH terms

  • Cafe-au-Lait Spots / surgery
  • Facial Dermatoses / pathology
  • Facial Dermatoses / surgery
  • Facial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Facial Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / etiology
  • Hyperpigmentation / pathology
  • Hyperpigmentation / surgery*
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Lasers
  • Lasers, Solid-State
  • Lentigo / pathology
  • Lentigo / surgery
  • Melanins / radiation effects
  • Melanocytes / radiation effects
  • Melanosis / surgery
  • Nevus, Pigmented / pathology
  • Nevus, Pigmented / surgery
  • Skin Diseases / etiology
  • Skin Diseases / pathology
  • Skin Diseases / surgery*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery


  • Melanins