Objective: To assess the safety and efficacy of the 308-nm excimer laser in pigment correction of hypopigmented scars and striae alba. Design: Institutional review board-approved randomized controlled trial. Setting: Private research center. Patients: Volunteer sample of 31 adult subjects with hypopigmented scars or striae alba distributed on the face, torso, or extremities. Interventions: Lesions were randomized to receive treatment or not, with site-matched normal control areas. Treatments were initiated with a minimal erythema dose minus 50 mJ/cm2 to affected areas. Subsequent treatments were performed biweekly until 50% to 75% pigment correction, then every 2 weeks thereafter until a maximum of 10 treatments, 75% increase in colorimetric measurements, or 100% visual pigment correction. Main Outcome Measures: Pigment correction by visual and colorimetric assessments compared with untreated control lesions and site-matched normal skin before each treatment and at 1-, 2-, 4-, and 6-month follow-up intervals. Occurrence of erythema, blistering, dyspigmentation, or other adverse effects was monitored. Results: The percentage pigment correction by both assessments increased in direct proportion to the number of treatments. The mean percentage pigment correction by visual assessment relative to control of 61% (95% confidence interval [CI], 55%-67%) for scars and 68% (95% CI, 62%-74%) for striae was achieved after 9 treatments. The mean percentage pigmentation by colorimetric measurements relative to control of 101% (95% CI, 99%-103%) for scars and 102% (95% CI, 99%-104%) for striae was achieved after 9 treatments. Both sets of values gradually declined toward baseline levels during the 6-month follow-up. No blistering or dyspigmentation occurred. Conclusions: Therapy with the 308-nm excimer laser is safe and effective in pigment correction of hypopigmented scars and striae alba. Mean final pigment correction rates relative to control sites of approximately 60% to 70% by visual assessment and 100% by colorimetric analysis were observed after 9 treatments administered biweekly. Maintenance treatment every 1 to 4 months is required to sustain the cosmetic benefit.
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