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Safeguarding Your Skin: Nonablative Lasers Could Lower Risk of Common Skin Cancer

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Skin cancer is a prevalent concern, with Keratinocyte Carcinoma (KC) being the most common nonmelanoma type. Unfortunately, preventive options are currently limited. However, a promising treatment using Nonablative Fractional Lasers (NAFL) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating sun damaged skin. The question now is whether this treatment can also play a role in preventing KC.

Non-ablative laser treatments shown to reduce risk of common skin cancers
Keratinocyte Carcinoma (KC)

To find the answer, researchers conducted a study at the Massachusetts General Hospital Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center. They looked at patients who had previously dealt with facial KC between 2005-2021 and investigated whether those who received NAFL treatment experienced a decrease in subsequent facial KC development.


The study involved 43 patients who received NAFL treatment and had a history of facial KC. Additionally, they included 52 matched control subjects for comparison. The results showed that the rate of subsequent facial KC development was significantly lower in NAFL-treated patients compared to the control group. Specifically, 20.9% of NAFL-treated patients developed new facial KC, while 40.4% of control subjects did. This indicates that the risk of developing new facial KC was reduced by half in those who underwent NAFL treatment.


Furthermore, control subjects tended to develop new facial KC much sooner than those who had NAFL treatment. When the researchers considered factors like age, gender, and skin type, they found that control subjects were more likely to develop new facial KC compared to those who received NAFL treatment.


In conclusion, the study suggests that NAFL treatment may play a role in lowering the risk of subsequent facial KC development and could be beneficial as a preventive measure for this common skin cancer. If you have a history of facial KC, discussing the potential benefits of NAFL treatment with your dermatologist could be a prudent step to protect your skin health.

Reference: Benson TA, Hibler BP, Kotliar D, Avram M. Nonablative Fractional Laser Treatment Is Associated With a Decreased Risk of Subsequent Facial Keratinocyte Carcinoma Development. Dermatol Surg. 2023 Feb 1;49(2):149-154. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000003672. Epub 2022 Dec 6. PMID: 36728065.

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