An industry-funded study suggests that picosecond lasers, touted for their effectiveness at tattoo removal, can safely and effectively treat perioral and periocular wrinkles.
Six months after treatment with picosecond 755-nm alexandrite laser with a diffractive lens array, subjects reported high levels of satisfaction and blinded physicians rated the treated wrinkles as improved or much improved over the same time period (
The laser “is very useful for treating fine lines and other visible signs of premature photoaging,” said study coauthor David H. McDaniel, MD, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach, Va., and codirector of the Hampton University. “These types of lasers have great potential benefit for patients and minimal risk of any significant adverse events.”
According to, picosecond 755-nm alexandrite lasers are commonly used to treat wrinkles, acne scars, and pigment dyschromia, while picosecond 532- and 1,064-nm lasers are used to remove tattoos and treat some pigment dyschromia.
He and his coinvestigators sought to “better define the parameters that are uniquely contributing to wrinkle reduction and dermal matrix remodeling and also define the actual clinical benefits and treatment protocol,” Dr. McDaniel said in an interview.
At four 1-month intervals, they used a picosecond 755 nm alexandrite laser with diffractive lens array to treat the full faces of 40 women with wrinkles caused by photodamage. The subjects were all healthy white nonsmokers, whose average age was 58 years.
At 6 months following treatment, the average Fitzpatrick wrinkle score improved, dropping from 5.48 to 3.47 (P less than .05). Also at 6 months, blinded physician evaluators rated the average degree of improvement from baseline as “moderate” (for fine lines) “less than mild” (for erythema), “high moderate” (for dyschromia) and “mid moderate” (for global improvement).
The evaluators successfully identified posttreatment photos in 82% of cases. As for patients, 36.8% said they were extremely satisfied and 57.9% said they were satisfied at 6 months. Adverse effects were reported as mild: One patient reported 2 days of erythema, another reported 4 days of edema, and one experienced bruising. Serial punch biopsies obtained at 6 months after the last treatment in six patients revealed increases in dermal collagen and thicker, denser elastin fibers.
The picosecond 755- nm alexandrite laser produces “very little thermal effect, which reduces both treatment discomfort as well as the risk of adverse events,” Dr. McDaniel said in an interview. “It typically leads to shorter recovery time socially, as erythema is very mild and quite transient.”
He noted that the laser can be used in conjunction with other lasers. “Some of the other gold standard fractional lasers are still used in our practice, and they still deliver good results when properly indicated,” he said. “For example, we may use – or even combine with the picosecond laser – a fractional erbium laser to reach deeper into the dermis for severe acne scarring or for deep wrinkles. Or we may use a fractional thulium laser for people with early actinic keratosis or also combine it with the picosecond laser.
Cynosure, a maker of picosecond lasers, funded the study and provided a discounted price for the laser. Dr. McDaniel and another author report serving as consultants, researchers and speakers for Cynosure.