Background Topical treatment with vitamin C has been used to treat photoaged skin and as a skin whitener, but no standard procedure exists for percutaneous delivery. Objective To compare skin histology and the permeation of ascorbic acid 2-glucoside (AA2G) after fractional and conventional carbon dioxide (CO 2) laser pretreatment. Methods The effect on porcine skin of treatment with different strengths of fractional and conventional CO 2 laser treatment was examined using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Permeation of AA2G through porcine skin was tested in vitro using a Franz diffusion chamber. In vivo changes in fluorescein thiocyanate permeability in nude mice were examined using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Results Fractional CO 2 laser treatment with four or fewer passes caused less disruption than conventional laser treatment at the same fluence. AA2G permeation using four passes of fractional laser treatment was similar to that seen with conventional CO 2 laser treatment of the same fluence. Changes in permeability and in depth of permeation were higher with conventional than fractional laser treatment. Conclusion Fractional CO 2 laser treatment can cause similar transdermal delivery of AA2G to conventional laser treatment with less skin disruption and a different pattern of histologic change.
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