[3 min read] Which laser therapy is best for treating melasma?

With recent research suggesting that melasma may have a vascular component, vascular-targeting lasers and light therapies may be a therapeutic option that will benefit patients who suffer from the skin condition in which brown patches appear on the face.

Carrying this in mind, a study undertaken by Egyptian researchers compared the efficacy and tolerability of pulsed dye laser and intense pulsed light in the treatment of melasma.

In the study, 28 Egyptian female patients with melasma were treated with pulsed dye laser on the right side of their face and with the intense pulsed light on the left side of their face. Clinical assessment was performed according to the Melasma Area and Severity Index score and tissue biopsies were taken from patients for immunohistochemical staining with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody.

The study found that the Melasma Area and Severity Index score was significantly reduced on both sides of the patients’ faces after treatment with no statistically significant difference.

Areas of the face treated with intense pulsed light showed better response to treatment than areas treated with pulsed dye laser in the epidermal melasma and in melasma lesions which had a vascular component.

Furthermore, the expression level and intensity score of VEGF were significantly reduced after treatment with both laser types.

The researchers concluded that both pulsed dye laser and intense pulsed light therapies are effective and safe treatment modalities for lightening of melasma.

The study also suggests that VEGF can be proved as a possible mechanism underlying the action of both pulsed dye laser and intense pulsed light therapies on melasma.

Read more research on melasma.


Arwa M. Hassan, Nashwa N. Elfar, Omnia M. Rizk & Nahed Y. Eissa (2018) Pulsed dye laser versus intense pulsed light in melasma: a split-face comparative study, Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 29:7, 725-732, DOI: 10.1080/09546634.2018.1441487

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