Laser and laser compound therapy for melasma: a meta-analysis

J Dermatolog Treat. 2020 Feb;31(1):77-83. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2019.1577544. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


Background: Treatment of melasma is challenging because its pathogenesis is unclear and it is prone to recurrence. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of laser and laser compound therapy for melasma.Methods: We searched the Cochrane, Embase, and Medline databases for all relevant studies published from inception to July 2018. All randomized controlled trials of melasma describing treatment with lasers or laser compound therapy were included.Results: A total of 346 patients were enrolled in nine RCT studies. Laser therapy and laser compound therapy had better PGA (MD: 1.96 (95% CI: 0.17, 3.75); I2 = 0%) and mMASI scores (MD: -1.57 (95% CI: -3.08, -0.05); I2 = 19%) than drug and laser therapy, respectively. Four studies were assessed to be of low risk of bias. Subgroup analysis was consistent with the results of the meta-analysis, reflecting the reliability of our results.Linking evidence to action: The results of this meta-analysis provide evidence that laser and laser compound therapy can improve the area and severity of melasma. Further high-quality clinical studies should be carried out in the future to confirm this conclusion. Abbreviations: MASI: Melasma Area and Severity Index; mMASI: modified Melasma Area and Severity Index; PGA: patient global assessment; MI: melasma index.

Keywords: Compound therapy; laser; lasers; melasma; meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy
  • Melanosis / pathology
  • Melanosis / radiotherapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index