Concomitant use of isotretinoin and lasers with implications for future guidelines: An updated systematic review

Dermatol Ther. 2020 Nov;33(6):e14022. doi: 10.1111/dth.14022. Epub 2020 Aug 14.


It is generally believed that intervention on skin while on isotretinoin or within 6 to 12 months after treatment can lead to prolonged healing and abnormal scarring. The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate the body of evidence on concomitant use of isotretinoin and lasers for adverse events as a consequence of treatment. A PRISMA-compliant systematic review (Systematic Review Registration Number: CRD42017056492) of 12 electronic databases was conducted for the terms "laser" and "isotretinoin" or associated brand names from inception until June 2020. Subsequent reference search of studies meeting predefined inclusion criteria were conducted, and all articles were evaluated for bias and assigned levels of evidence to facilitate data synthesis. The search strategy produced 29 studies. Of 871 patients included in the studies of interest, 12 experienced transient adverse effects that resolved spontaneously, and only two presented with keloid formation, both from case reports. This systematic review suggests the risk associated with concomitant isotretinoin and laser use is small to absent. Further studies are needed, but these results suggest that current contraindications may be overly cautious.

Keywords: concomitant treatment; isotretinoin; lasers; safe and effective; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cicatrix
  • Dermatologic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin* / adverse effects
  • Lasers
  • Wound Healing


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Isotretinoin