DOI: 10.1097/dss.0000000000004111 ISSN: 1076-0512

Review of Fractional Nonablative Lasers for the Treatment of Dermatologic Conditions in Darker Skin Phototypes

Ishita Aggarwal, Marcus Rossi, Carolina Puyana, Maria Tsoukas
  • Dermatology
  • General Medicine
  • Surgery


Fractional nonablative lasers (NAFLs) have demonstrated efficacy and safety for treating dermatologic conditions in patients with darker skin phototypes. Nonablative lasers are preferred in darker skin tones due to lower risk of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.


This review aims to identify the ideal laser options and parameters for treating common dermatologic conditions in patients with skin types IV-VI.


A comprehensive literature search was conducted on PubMed in May 2023. Of 1,065 articles were identified, and 40 articles met the inclusion criteria. The studies were classified based on design, dermatologic condition, and skin phototype of patients, and assigned levels of evidence according to the Modified Criteria of the Oxford Center of Evidence Based Medicine.


Strong level 1 evidence supports the treatment of melasma and atrophic scars using NAFL. Moderate level 2 evidence was found for using NAFL in acne vulgaris, striae, and skin rejuvenation; 45% of the studies examined skin types III-IV, 20% III-V, 7.5% II-IV, 5% II-V, 5% IV alone, and 2.5% I-IV.


Further research is needed to determine the optimal treatment modalities and parameters for skin types V and VI. Appropriate device selection and conservative treatment settings are crucial for optimizing outcomes and minimizing adverse events.

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