Is Photosensitivity a Contraindication of Laser Skin Resurfacing?

My daughter takes a maintenance dose of sulfasalazine which makes her skin photosensitive. She would like to undergo laser resurfacing to try to revise some mild/moderate acne scars on her cheeks. She has consulted two dermatologists. One advised against laser resurfacing because of her photosensitivity, but the other felt that a non-ablative method should be fine and will provide excellent results. I would really appreciate your opinions about this. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 4

Laser resurfacing and photosensitivity

There are two issues in this situation.  If a laser involves a wavelength of light to which the patient's disease is sensitive and to which it reacts, then the laser should be avoided.  If the laser induces smoother skin and the patient is sensitive to ultraviolet light, then regardless of the wavelength of the laser, the smoother skin will allow more ultraviolet penetration. This doesn't preclude the patient from having the resurfacing but it means that they must be extremely prudent about avoiding unprotected sun exposure. They should avoid the hours of the day in which the sun's rays are most intense and should use a good sunscreen with ultraviolet A and B protection.  Reapply the sunscreen frequently and especially after sweating and exposure with water.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Laser Resurfacing and Photosensitivity

Thank you for your question. Being on medications that are photosensitive does not rule you out as a candidate for laser procedures. The sensitivity usually arises from ultraviolet radiation, and lasers do not utilize UV, so you should be fine to have lasers performed.  Be certain to seek the advise and be under the supervision of a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with expertise in laser surgery for the most effective and safe treatments. I hope this helps.

Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD
Bay Area Dermatologist
3.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Photosensitivity is not a contraindicaton to laser resurfacing.

People who are photosensitive typically need to be more careful to avoid the sun during the healing period.  Light-skin type photosensitive patients will stay red longer; however this is not a contraindication to the procedure.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Photosensitivity and Laser Resurfacing

 Photosensitivity is absolutely not a contraindication to ablative resurfacing. Please check with a dermatologist or laser surgeon who does this procedure.

William M. Ramsdell, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.