BACKGROUND: Laser treatment for photoaging of the hands should ideally address pigmentary alteration as well as associated skin roughness and wrinkling. Fractional resurfacing has been previously shown to effectively treat facial rhytids and dyschromia.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the effect of fractional resurfacing for photoaging of the hands.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Ten patients (skin phototypes II to IV) with hand photodamage were randomized to receive five treatments with a 1,550-nm diode-pumped erbium fiber laser (Fraxel SR, Reliant Technologies) laser on either the right or left hand. Treatments were performed at settings of 8 to 9 mJ/microscopic treatment zone and density of 2,500 microscopic treatment zones/cm2. Subjective assessments by the patients and investigator were performed for skin roughness, wrinkling, and pigmentation using a 5-point scale. Skin biopsies were taken at baseline and at 1 and 3 months.
RESULTS: Patient subjective assessment and physician clinical assessment at 1 and 3 months revealed a mean 51% to 75% improvement in skin pigmentation and 25% to 50% improvement in skin roughness and wrinkling. Biopsies of the skin showed increased density of dermal collagen. Patients experienced transient erythema and edema and none had scarring or other adverse effects.
LIMITATIONS: This was a small study.
CONCLUSION: Fractional resurfacing appears to be an effective and safe treatment modality for correcting both the pigmentary and the textural aspects of photoaging of the hand.