Light and laser therapies for the treatment of sebaceous gland hyperplasia a review of the literature

B. J. Simmons, R. D. Griffith, L. A. Falto-Aizpurua, F. N. Bray, K. Nouri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Sebaceous gland hyperplasia (SGH) is a benign cutaneous condition that presents primarily on the face and increases with UVB exposure and ageing. These lesions are a common cosmetic concern but are difficult to treat, as the entire sebaceous gland needs to be destroyed to prevent recurrence. Traditional methods of treatment include: cryosurgery, electrodessication, curettage, shave excision and topical trichloroacetic acid. These methods have an increased risk of skin discoloration and scarring to the area of treatment that may lead to inferior cosmetic outcomes. Alternatively, oral isotretinoin can treat SGH, but is a known teratogen in pregnancy and has high relapse rates with discontinuation. A systematic review of the literature was performed to look at photodynamic therapy (PDT) and laser treatment for SGH. According to the results of this study, PDT, lasers and combinations of the two treatments were found to offer alternatives to the more conventional techniques with better outcomes. In particular, the use of wavelength-specific laser for the sebaceous gland of 1720 nm were found to have better outcomes and provide minimal damage to surrounding tissues. Additionally, combination PDT with aminolevulinic acid and pre-treatment with carbon dioxide laser ablation or pulse-dyed laser offered higher cure rates over stand-alone laser or PDT treatments in a shorter number of sessions with similar transient side-effects. However, further large-scale prospective studies with adequate follow-up are required to confirm these findings and those for sebaceous gland-specific lasers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2080-2087
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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