|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 50-51
Laser-induced mottled hypopigmentation successfully treated with a combined regimen of topical calcineurin inhibitors and fractional CO2 laser
Se Hoon Lee1, Minah Cho1, Yu Jin Han1, Yu Ri Woo1, Sang Hyun Cho1, Jeong Deuk Lee1, Hei Sung Kim2
1 Department of Dermatology, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
2 Department of Dermatology, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital; Department of Biomedicine and Health Sciences, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
|Date of Submission||16-Jul-2021|
|Date of Decision||11-Jan-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||17-Jan-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Mar-2022|
Dr. Hei Sung Kim
Department of Dermatology, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-Gu, Seoul 06591
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Lee SH, Cho M, Han YJ, Woo YR, Cho SH, Lee JD, Kim HS. Laser-induced mottled hypopigmentation successfully treated with a combined regimen of topical calcineurin inhibitors and fractional CO2 laser. Dermatol Sin 2022;40:50-1
|How to cite this URL:|
Lee SH, Cho M, Han YJ, Woo YR, Cho SH, Lee JD, Kim HS. Laser-induced mottled hypopigmentation successfully treated with a combined regimen of topical calcineurin inhibitors and fractional CO2 laser. Dermatol Sin [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 29];40:50-1. Available from: https://www.dermsinica.org/text.asp?2022/40/1/50/341353
Postinflammatory hypopigmentation is one of the most significant complications caused by laser toning. The excessive amount of energy exerted on a pigmented lesion can destroy melanosomes and even melanocytes. Therefore, unlike other complications, some hypopigmented lesions are refractory to treatment. Herein, we report our experience treating laser-induced hypopigmentation with a combined regimen of topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) and a fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser.
A 58-year-old woman visited our department with mottled hypopigmentation of the face [Figure 1]. The patient had undergone laser toning 4 years previously to treat diffuse hyperpigmentation of the face. Laser toning was performed more than 20 times at weekly intervals, and erythema and petechiae were used as endpoints. After the mottled hypopigmentation occurred, the laser treatment was continued at a local clinic in an attempt to correct it, but there was no improvement. The patient visited our hospital when no improvement had taken place after 3 months. A skin biopsy from a white spot demonstrated the absence of melanin and melanocytes along with inflammatory cell infiltration and confirmed the diagnosis of laser-induced postinflammatory hypopigmentation. The hypopigmented macules were irradiated with a fractional CO2 laser (COPRO2, AMT Engineering Co., Ltd., Gyeonggi, Korea). The initial dosage was 7 mJ and was gradually increased to 11 mJ. Topical tacrolimus (0.03% Protopic®, LEO Pharma, Ballerup, Denmark) was applied to the hypopigmented macules twice daily. Soon after, the patient complained a mild burning sensation, and the tacrolimus was replaced with topical pimecrolimus (Elidel® Cream 1%, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp, East Hanover, NJ, United States). To decrease the contrast between hyper and hypopigmented areas, we used a low-fluence 1064-nm Q-switched neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser treatment at 0.8–1.4 J/cm2 with an 8-mm spot size. A combination of hydrocortisone, hydroquinone, and tretinoin cream (Melanon cream, Dong-A Pharmaceutical, Seoul, Korea), was applied over the hyperpigmented lesion once daily. The patient received 22 total sessions of this combined regimen of lasers at an interval of 4 weeks. The hypopigmented macules markedly decreased in size and blended well into the surrounding skin. The patient was satisfied with the outcome after the 22nd laser treatment [Figure 2].
|Figure 1: Hypopigmentation that initially presented as multiple, mottled macules on the entire face.|
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|Figure 2: Improvement in the hypopigmentation following 22 sessions of laser treatments.|
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Laser-induced hypopigmentation is one of the most challenging laser complications due to its persistence and resistance to treatment. The cumulative phototoxic damage caused by repetitive laser treatment to melanocytes eventually results in melanocytopenia such as vitiligo., Various therapeutic modalities have been attempted, including laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, skin grafting, and phototherapy. As with vitiligo, combined therapy is thought to be necessary for these patients due to the melanocytopenic histology and treatment-refractory nature.
TCIs have also been widely used in hypopigmented conditions, including vitiligo. TCI possesses a dual mechanism of action. First, TCIs inhibit cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells by blocking calcineurin-mediated phosphorylation of the nuclear factor of activated T-cells. They also induce repigmentation by stimulating melanocyte proliferation and migration and melanin synthesis.
Fractional CO2 laser is a well-known device for laser resurfacing. This device creates microscopic holes in a pixilated pattern using thermal energy surrounded by a thin layer of coagulated tissue called the microscopic treatment zone. Collagen coagulation immediately induces tissue contraction, so the size of the irradiated area can be seen. The microscopic holes can also enhance the percutaneous delivery of topical agents. During the wound healing process, various cytokines are secreted that can promote the differentiation and migration of melanocytes. Therefore, despite concerns about the Koebner phenomenon, fractional CO2 laser treatment has been applied to both vitiligo and laser-induced hypopigmentation with promising effects.,
In conclusion, a combined regimen of TCIs and fractional CO2 laser was an effective means of treatment for postinflammatory hypopigmentation, even in melanocytopenic lesions. The excellent cosmetic results achieved in this case support the use of this particular modality. However, further controlled studies are necessary to determine the true efficacy and to establish the optimal treatment settings.
Declaration of patient consent
The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate consent forms for the use of patient images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understands that her name and initials will not be published and also that due efforts will be made to conceal her identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2]