Treatment of AKN with Long Pulsed Alexandrite Laser

AKN: Long pulsed Alexandrite as an option


Acne keloidalis nuchae is a scalp condition that commonly affects the back of the scalp. Patients develop what they frequently term 'bumps' at the back of the scalp. These frequently are associated with hair loss and the bumps themselves may stay and enlarge. In advanced cases the areas coalesce to form a large plaque. 

Treatments for AKN include topical steroids, antibiotics, retinoids, steroid injections. A variety of laser treatments may also be possible.  In previous studies the 810-nm diode laser and 1,064-nm Nd:YAG laser have been used for treating AKN with promising results.

Tafnik and colleagues set out to study the benefits of the 755-nm alexandrite laser in 16 male patients with AKN. Their study showed a significant decrease in the mean papule, pustule count, keloidal plaque size, and pliability at the fourth and sixth laser sessions when compared with baseline. The main complication was a temporary reduction in hair density in the treated area in 4 of 16 patients as a result of the laser treatment. This was accepted by the patients because of its reversible course.  No lesional recurrence was detected in the follow-up period.



This study provides evidence that the 755-nm alexandrite laser may provide options for treating AKN. The laser appears safe and effective in the condition and recurrence rates are fortunately low. 



Tawfik A, et al. A Novel Treatment of Acne Keloidalis Nuchae by Long-Pulsed Alexandrite Laser. Dermatol Surg. 2018.


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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