Laser-Assisted Drug Delivery in the Treatment of Scars, Rhytids, and Melasma: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Ahava Muskat, Yana Kost, Eliza Balazic, Joel L. Cohen, Kseniya Kobets

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although broad reviews on laser-Assisted drug delivery (LADD) have been published in the past, an updated focused examination of its utility in the context of common, treatment-resistant, dermatologic conditions has not been published. This article reports a comprehensive scoping review of the potential benefits of LADD compared to laser or drug monotherapy for the treatment of 3 such conditions: scars, rhytids, and melasma. A PubMed (National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD) search was conducted for keywords including "laser-Assisted drug delivery,""scar,""rhytid,"and "melasma."Out-of-scope studies were excluded. To evaluate the efficacy of LADD for the treatment of scars, relevant articles were categorized by scar type: hypertrophic/keloid, atrophic, and hypopigmented. LADD, with both ablative and nonablative laser types, was studied in combination with corticosteroids, botulinum toxin-A (BTX-A), 5-fluorouracil, 5-Aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy, stem cells, platelet-rich plasma, and prostaglandin analogs for the treatment of scars. Some randomized controlled trials demonstrated the efficacy of LADD, whereas others showed no significant differences in clinical outcomes but demonstrated reduced adverse effects. Regarding rhytids, laser treatment has been combined with various cosmeceuticals, including poly-L-lactic acid, topical retinaldehyde, and topical BTX-A. The studies reviewed supported the use of LADD with these drugs over monotherapy. Some studies showed that LADD was effective for the absorption of drugs such as poly-L-lactic acid and BTX-A which are often not effective topically. For melasma treatment, LADD with tranexamic acid and hydroquinone was superior in some studies, but not significantly different than monotherapy in other studies. LADD with certain drugs could be considered to treat scars, rhytids, and melasma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP181-NP198
JournalAesthetic Surgery Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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