Nonablative Fractional Laser Resurfacing for Acne Scarring in Patients With Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes IV-VI

Dermatol Surg. 2016 Mar;42(3):392-402. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000640.


Background: There is a paucity of studies investigating laser resurfacing in Fitzpatrick skin phototypes (SPT) IV to VI.

Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of fractional nonablative laser resurfacing in the treatment of acne scarring in patients with SPT IV to VI.

Methods and materials: The authors conducted a randomized, investigator-blinded and rater-blinded, split-face comparative study of adults with SPT IV to VI and facial acne scars treated with 2 different density settings and the same fluence.

Results: Quantitative global scarring grading system (QGSGS) scores were significantly improved from baseline at 16 and 24 weeks (p = .0277). Improvements in QGSGS scores after higher and lower density treatments were statistically similar (p = .96). The live-blinded dermatologist, the blinded dermatologist photoraters, and the patients rated scars as being significantly more improved by visual analog scale at weeks 16 and 24 compared with baseline (p < .001) for both treatment densities. Five of 7 and 3 of 7 patients in the higher and lower density group, respectively, experienced mild or moderate hyperpigmentation as an investigator observed site reaction.

Conclusion: The nonablative 1550-nm fractional laser is safe and efficacious in treating acne scaring in Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI. Self-limited postinflammatory hyperpigmentation was a common occurrence, especially with higher treatment densities.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / radiotherapy*
  • Cosmetic Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Dermatoses / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / etiology
  • Lasers, Solid-State / adverse effects
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / adverse effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Pigmentation