A question about the use of carbon solution to enhance laser skin treatments was recently raised at a medical panel discussion.

Years ago there was a belief that if a physician applies carbon based solution to the patient’s skin, an enhanced result can be achieved in any laser skin rejuvenation treatment. Some practitioners even claimed being successful in removing grey and blonde hair by the application of a carbon gel.

I have not seen any conclusive clinical or anecdotal evidence that the technique may work. A quick review of latest research on the subject has produced a report on a study by a Chinese group (LEE, MEI-CHING et al) in Taiwan, which shows that the carbon gel application does not make any difference in laser skin rejuvenation.

The researchers used the 1064-nm Q-switched neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) laser with and without exogenous topical carbon solution application for facial skin rejuvenation, which has become very popular in Southeast Asia in recent years.

The group evaluated the efficacy of the YAG in improvement of pore size, sebaceous secretion, skin texture, and skin tone of Asian patients. They also observed whether there is any enhancement of application of topical carbon solution applied to the right side of the face before the laser therapy.

This split-face study showed significant improvement in skin rejuvenation effect. However, there was no difference in improvement of the skin texture between the side with the carbon solution and the side without it. The study concluded that topical carbon solution application did not enhance laser efficacy.

I can only add, that the treatment of the right cheek – the one with the carbon gel on – must have been a lot more painful for the Chinese ladies.