To analyse the effectiveness of tofacitinib for the treatment of refractory skin thickening in dcSSc.Data from 10 patients with dcSSc treated with tofacitinib (5 mg twice daily) were analysed. A total of 12 dcSSc patients treated with intensive conventional immunosuppressants were selected as the historical comparator group. A clinically relevant response was defined as a decrease in the modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) of >5 points and ≥25% from baseline. Clinical indicators were compared between the two groups to evaluate the effect of tofacitinib.The mRSS significantly improved the first month after tofacitinib treatment, with a mean change in the mRSS of -3.7 (95% CI -5.52, -1.88; P = 0.001) and greater than the comparators at 6 months [-10.0 (95% CI -14.74, -5.26) vs -4.1 (95% CI -7.49, -0.73), P = 0.026]. Tofacitinib-treated patients had a significantly shorter response time than the comparators (P = 0.015 by log-rank test), with overall response rates of 20% (2/10) vs 0% (0/12) and 60% (6/10) vs 16.7% (2/12) at 1 and 3 months, respectively.Our results indicate that tofacitinib may be as effective as or even better than intensive conventional immunosuppressants, with a quicker and higher response rate in refractory dcSSc patients with progressive skin thickness.