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Treatment of exogenous ochronosis with a Q-switched alexandrite (755 nm) laser.

BACKGROUND: Exogenous ochronosis is a cutaneous disorder characterized by blue-black or slate-gray hyperpigmentation resulting from the prolonged use of certain topical agents, most commonly hydroquinones. It is notoriously difficult to treat.

OBJECTIVE: To report the effectiveness of a quality-switched (QS) 755-nm alexandrite laser in treating hydroquinone-induced exogenous ochronosis.

METHODS: Hydroquinone-induced exogenous ochronosis in two patients was treated with a QS alexandrite laser. The first patient received six treatments (average fluence=7.8 J/cm(2)) at 2-month intervals. The second patient received four treatments (average fluence=6.9 J/cm(2)) at 4-month intervals. Biopsies of lesional skin were obtained before and after laser treatment for histologic evaluation.

RESULTS: Significant lightening of the pigmented skin areas was achieved in both patients without scarring or textural changes. Decreased dermal pigmentation was observed on histologic examination of treated skin specimens.

CONCLUSION: The QS alexandrite laser can effectively treat exogenous ochronosis without untoward side effects.

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