Topical Corticosteroids Minimise the Risk of Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation After Ablative Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing in Asians
Nutjira Cheyasak, Woraphong Manuskiatti, Pitchaya Maneeprasopchoke, Rungsima Wanitphakdeedecha
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is the most common adverse effect of laser treatment in dark-skinned individuals. Little is known whether PIH can be prevented or minimised. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of short-term application of topical corticosteroids on the incidence of PIH after ablative fractional resurfacing in Asians. Forty subjects with skin phototype IV and atrophic acne scars were treated with a fractional CO2 laser on both sides of the face. Post-operatively, clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment was applied to one randomly selected side of the face for the first 2 days, followed by an application of petrolatum jelly for the rest of the week (petrolatum was applied to the other side for 7 days). Assessments on the clinical outcome, the wound healing process and the occurrence of PIH were obtained once weekly for the first month and at 2 and 3 months post-treatment. The side of the face treated with petrolatum alone had significantly (p < 0.001) higher incidence of PIH (75%) after laser irradiation than the side of the face treated with topical corticosteroids and petrolatum (40%). The PIH occurring on the petrolatum-treated sides had significantly higher intensity (p < 0.001) and was spread over a significantly larger area (p < 0.001), compared with the corticosteroid- and petrolatum-treated sides. In conclusion, a short-term application of topical corticosteroids postoperatively is associated with a decreased risk of PIH after ablative fractional resurfacing.