Acne Scar Treatment - Laser Resurfacing
There are many options for acne scar treatment using lasers. Laser treatments not only stimulate collagen production, but also galvanize the skin to generate healthier tissue. For shallow to moderately shallow acne scarring and discoloration, fractional non-ablative lasers can offer patients results with little downtime. For more deep pitted scars, a more invasive fractional ablative laser will offer significant results in fewer treatments.
Acne Scar Treatment - Laser Resurfacing
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Laser resurfacing treatments can help treat a range of scarring caused by acne depending on the type of laser used. From superficial and discolored, to deep and pitted, laser resurfacing sessions can be customized to every individual. Some treatments can be more invasive with recovery times as long as a few weeks, however if your scarring is less concentrated and you desire a minimally invasive option, dermal fillers or subcision may be a better suited treatment. There are two main categories for lasers: either fractional or non-fractional, and ablative or non-ablative. Acne scars will most likely be treated with a fractional laser, which means the lasers are targeted. However, depending on the severity of the scarring, the laser can either be ablative, which is more aggressive, or non-ablative, which is less aggressive and does not penetrate the skin as deeply. Fractional ablative lasers remove dead surface cells and imperfections layer by layer to reveal new, radiant skin. The wounding laser causes the body to initiate a healing response which creates the production of collagen and helps to elevate depressed scarring. Ablative lasers can also remove uneven pigmentation from acne scars as well. New skin will be created during the healing process, erasing signs of previous scars. Fractional ablative treatments are aggressive and typically require a longer recovery time, however less treatments will be needed for desired results. Laser skin resurfacing with fractional non-ablative lasers is more gentle. Non-ablative lasers typically require more treatments but have a shorter recovery period. Energy from the laser heats up the skin without breaking the epidermis. The heat promotes collagen production and the eventual improvement of minor acne scars. Non-ablative treatments are better suited for candidates with less severe scarring or slight skin discolorations.
The goal of acne scar treatment with laser resurfacing is to reduce skin imperfections caused by acne such as scars and discoloration.
What to Expect
Laser skin resurfacing is a technique used to smooth uneven skin tone and texture, thereby improving the complexion. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after treatment with laser skin resurfacing.
- Avoid sun exposure
- Avoid harsh exfoliating products for 1 week
- No alcohol 1 week before and after treatment
- Artificial tanning and tanning products should be stopped
Immediately After Treatment
Depending on the type of laser used during treatment, patients may experience:
- Raw, swollen, and itchy skin
- Pain and discomfort
With non-ablative laser resurfacing treatments, recovery is minimal as most patients can return to normal activities the same day. After ablative laser resurfacing, the treated skin will be raw, swollen and itchy. Usually after one or two weeks new skin will completely cover the treated area. Skin may remain pink or red for up to several months. Avoid unprotected sun exposure for one year to prevent irregular pigmentation. New sun damage can also reverse results.
The ideal candidate for acne scar treatment with laser resurfacing is in generally good health and has acne scarring or discoloration caused by acne.
Not Recommended For
Not all laser resurfacing methods are recommended for all patients. Some candidates with darker skin tones, history of keloid scarring, skin infections, or current acne breakouts may not be ideal candidate for certain patients.
Side effects from laser resurfacing for acne scarring can include scarring, skin discoloration, exacerbation of cold sores. Side effects can vary depending on the type of laser used. Be sure to ask your provider about all potential risks.