The Use of Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light Sources for the Treatment of Pigmentary Lesions

H.H.L. Chan, MD, FRCP; T. Kono, MD


Skin Therapy Letter. 2004;9(8) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Lasers and intense pulsed light sources are frequently used for the treatment of pigmented lesions, and the appropriate selection of devices for different lesions is vital to achieving satisfactory clinical outcomes. In dark-skinned patients, the risk of post-inflam-matory hyperpigmentation is of particular importance. In general, long-pulse laser and intense pulsed light sources can be effective with a low risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) when used for the treatment of lentigines. However, for dermal pigmentation and tattoo, Q-switched lasers are effective, with a lower risk of complications. In the removal of melanocytic nevi, a combined approach with a long-pulse pigmented laser and a Q-switched laser is particularly applicable.

The cutaneous application of lasers and intense pulsed light sources for the treatment of pigmented lesions can be divided into the following categories:

  • a) Tattoos

  • b) Epidermal pigmentation such as lentigines and café au lait patches

  • c) Dermal pigmentation such as nevus of Ota, acquired bilateral nevus of Ota, and melanocytic nevi


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