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Improved post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in patients with darker skin

Study finds a low energy fractional laser can safely and effectively improve increased pigmentation in darker skin patients.

By Emilee Green | Nov 20, 2019


Wausau, WI (November 20, 2019) – Patients with darker skin color have a greater tendency to be left with increased pigmentation following any type of injury including cosmetic and medical procedures, trauma and burns. Effective treatment of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is lacking, especially in patients of darker skin types. Multiple topical therapeutic options have been utilized and reported, albeit with their limitations. This study found that a low energy fractional laser can safely and effectively improve increased pigmentation in patients with darker skin.

The clinical report of this study, published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine (LSM), the official journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS), was selected as the November 2019 Editor’s Choice.

The study, led by Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD, is titled “Treatment of PostInflammatory Hyperpigmentation in Patients with Darker Skin Types Using a Low Energy 1,927 nm Non-Ablative Fractional Laser: A Retrospective Photographic Review Analysis.”  

“Until now, there has been a dearth of studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of lasers treating patients with darker skin types. Due to this lack of evidence, many physicians cautiously approach this patient population, which may ultimately exclude patients with darker skin types from receiving treatment that they may benefit from,” said Bae. “Topical medicines have historically been used to improve the darkened skin with limited success. The use of low energy fractional laser treatment for hyperpigmentation can reach a large segment of the world’s population.”

The successful treatment of PIH using lasers has not been as commonly reported. This study presents the use of the 1,927 nm low energy, low density non-ablative fractional diode laser, which resurfaces the skin producing shallow microthermal treatment zones (MTZs). These MTZs stimulate epidermal exfoliation improving unwanted pigmentation. This study presents a retrospective photographic review of patients of darker Fitzpatrick skin types with PIH responding to this non-ablative approach.

Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD, is a Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating as a UC Presidential Scholar. She earned her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and completed a surgical internship at Weill Cornell New York Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Dr. Bae completed her residency training in dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine and her laser, cosmetic and MOHS surgery fellowship at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.

Dr. Bae has authored several book chapters, topics including laser surgery and scar revision. Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including but not limited to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Dermatologic Surgery, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Journal of Dermatopathology, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine and Dermatologic Clinics.

Editor’s Choice is an exclusive article published in LSM, the official journal of the ASLMS. View the complete manuscript.

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) is the largest multi-disciplinary professional organization, dedicated to the development and application of lasers and related technology for health care applications. ASLMS promotes excellence in patient care by advancing biomedical application of lasers and other related technologies worldwide. ASLMS membership includes physicians and surgeons representing multiple specialties, physicists involved in product development, biomedical engineers, biologists, nurses, industry representatives and manufacturers. For more information, visit

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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