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Dermatol Surg. 2003 Oct;29(10):1001-7.

Combined therapy using Q-switched ruby laser and bleaching treatment with tretinoin and hydroquinone for acquired dermal melanocytosis.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Tokyo, Japan.



Acquired dermal melanocytosis (ADM; acquired bilateral nevus of Ota-like macules) is known for its recalcitrance compared with Nevus of Ota, and we assume that one of the reasons is a higher rate and degree of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) seen after laser treatments.


Topical bleaching treatment with 0.1% tretinoin aqueous gel and 5% hydroquinone ointment containing 7% lactic acid was initially performed (4 to 6 weeks) to discharge epidermal melanin. Subsequently, Q-switched ruby (QSR) laser was irradiated to eliminate dermal pigmentation. Both steps were repeated two to three times until patient satisfaction was obtained (usually at a 2-month interval for laser sessions). This treatment was performed in 19 patients with ADM. Skin biopsy was performed in six cases at baseline, after the bleaching pretreatment, and at the end of treatment.


All patients showed good to excellent clearing after two to three sessions of QSR laser treatments. The total treatment period ranged from 3 to 13 (mean of 8.3) months. PIH was observed in 10.5% of the cases. Histologically, epidermal hyperpigmentation was observed in all specimens and was dramatically improved by the topical bleaching pretreatment.


QSR laser combined with the topical bleaching pretreatment appeared to treat ADM consistently with a low occurrence rate of PIH and lessen the number of laser sessions and total treatment period and may also be applied to any other lesions with both epidermal and dermal pigmentation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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