Can we predict postinflammatory hyperpigmentation after laser treatment based on dermoscopic findings of solar lentigo?

Lasers Med Sci. 2023 May 29;38(1):130. doi: 10.1007/s10103-023-03790-6.


Solar lentigo (SL) commonly occurs as hyperpigmented macules in areas exposed to ultraviolet radiation. It typically shows an increased number of melanocytes in the basal cell layer of the skin, with or without elongated rete ridges. This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the characteristic dermoscopic patterns, reflecting different histopathological features, which might be valuable in predicting the possibility of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) occurring after laser treatment. In total, 88 Korean patients diagnosed with biopsy-proven SL (a total of 90 lesions were diagnosed) between January, 2016 and December, 2021 were included. Histopathological patterns were classified into six categories. Dermoscopic features were classified into six categories. Pseudonetwork pattern and rete ridge elongation showed a statistically significant negative correlation. This means that a flatter epidermis is likely to manifest as a pseudonetwork pattern. The erythema pattern showed a significant positive correlation with interface changes and inflammatory infiltration. Bluish-gray granules (peppering), a characteristic dermoscopic finding, showed significant positive correlations with interface changes, inflammatory infiltration, and dermal melanophages. Clinicians considering laser treatment for patients with SL should perform dermoscopic tests before treatment. The pseudonetwork relates to flattened epidermis and fewer Langerhans cells; thus, a lower remission of PIH after laser treatment might be expected. If bluish-gray granules or erythema are observed, inflammatory conditions are likely to be involved. In such cases, regression of the inflammatory response through drug therapy, such as topical corticosteroids, should be a priority option before laser treatment.

Keywords: Dermoscopy; Laser; Pigmentary disorders; Solar lentigo.

MeSH terms

  • Dermoscopy
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation* / etiology
  • Lasers
  • Lentigo* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultraviolet Rays