Background: The nonablative, fractional, 1,927-nm diode laser is theoretically a safe and effective treatment for hyperpigmentation and melasma in darker skin and may potentiate topical cosmeceutical delivery.
Objective: To evaluate the use of a nonablative, fractional, 1,927-nm diode laser with and without topical 2% hydroquinone (HQ) cream for moderate-to-severe facial hyperpigmentation in Fitzpatrick skin Types III-V.
Methods: Forty adults underwent 4 laser treatments at 2-week intervals and were randomized to daily application of 2% HQ cream or moisturizer. Follow-ups were conducted 4 and 12 weeks after the final laser treatment.
Results: Hydroquinone and moisturizer groups demonstrated Mottled Pigmentation Area and Severity Index improvements of approximately 50% at post-treatment Weeks 4 and 12. Blinded investigator-assessed hyperpigmentation and photodamage improved significantly for both the groups at post-treatment Weeks 4 and 12. Subject satisfaction improved significantly in both the groups by post-treatment Week 4. Although investigator-rated Global Aesthetic Improvement Scale scores were significantly better in the HQ group at post-treatment Week 12, satisfaction was higher among those using moisturizer. No adverse events were noted.
Conclusion: The nonablative, fractional, 1,927-nm diode laser produced significant improvement in hyperpigmentation in Fitzpatrick skin Types III-V by 4 weeks, with maintenance of results at 12 weeks after treatment even without HQ.