BACKGROUND Ablative resurfacing lasers are effective for treatment of acne scars, but they have a high risk of complications. Fractional lasers have less severe side effects but more moderate efficacy than ablative devices. Studies were performed in individuals with Fitzpatrick skin type I to VI. OBJECTIVE To determine the efficacy and safety of an erbium 1,550-nm fractional laser in the treatment of facial acne scars in Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI. METHODS We conducted a prospective, single-blind, randomized trial in patients with acne scars (n=15), skin type IV to VI, with a 1,550-nm erbium fractionated laser. Patients were divided into two groups; one was treated with 10 mJ and the other with 40 mJ. Five monthly laser sessions were performed. A patient questionnaire was distributed. RESULTS There was a significant improvement in the acne scarring and overall appearance (p<.001). No significant difference was found between 10 and 40 mJ. Patients were highly satisfied with their results. Significant postinflammatory hyperpigmentation was seen; pain was significantly higher in darker skin. CONCLUSIONS Fractional photothermolysis is effective for the treatment of acne scars, but practition-ers should be aware of the higher incidence of pain and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation in individuals with skin types IV to VI. The study was funded by Reliant Technologies, Inc., which participated in the study design. Galderma (Ft. Worth, TX) provided Tri-luma cream and GlaxoSmithKline (Research Triangle Park, NC) provided valacyclovir (Valtrex).
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