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Acne Scar Treatment: Laser Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing treatments can be used to lessen the appearance of acne scarring, smoothing skin texture and tone.

Acne Scar Treatment: Laser Resurfacing

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The Skinny

Average Recovery

2 weeks




Laser/Light Therapy




$200 - $3400

Before & After Images by Provider

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The Specifics

What is laser resurfacing for acne scars?

There are numerous treatment modalities for acne scarring. Laser resurfacing utilizes laser heat energy to destroy damaged skin cells causing scarring, and promote new, healthy skin. Depending on the severity of scarring, different lasers may be used.

Shallow to moderate acne scars may be treated with fractional non-ablative lasers, which are more gentle with less downtime. For deeper, pitted scarring, more invasive fractional ablative lasers will be needed for better results in fewer treatments, albeit with more recovery time.

Generally, lasers can be categorized as fractional lasers (targeted) or non-fractional lasers (generalized), and ablative lasers (aggressive and penetrative) versus non ablative lasers (less aggressive and more shallow). Common laser treatments include CO2 Laser (carbon dioxide), Erbium lasers, and IPL.

What cosmetic concerns does a laser resurfacing procedure treat?

  1. Acne Scars: Utilization of laser heat energy in laser resurfacing allows for removal of damaged skin cells causing scarring, and rejuvenation for healthier, fresh skin.

Who is the ideal candidate for a laser resurfacing for acne scars procedure?

The ideal candidate for an Acne Scar Treatment: Laser Resurfacing is in generally good health with acne scars or skin discoloration from acne. Acne Scar Treatment: Laser Resurfacing is not recommended for those with darker skin tones, certain skin types, a history of keloid scarring, active skin infections (like cold sores), or current acne breakouts.

What is the average recovery associated with a laser resurfacing for acne scars procedure?

The recovery time following a laser r esurfacing procedure will vary by the type of laser used. Non-ablative lasers will have little downtime with many patients returning to activities the same day. Ablative lasers will create raw, swollen, and itchy skin at the treatment area that can be lessened with ice packs and will require a week or two to heal.

In some cases, skin may remain red or pink for months. Limiting sun exposure and diligent skin care after any laser skin resurfacing procedure will enhance results and lessen side effects.

What are the potential side effects of a laser resurfacing for acne scars procedure?

Possible side effects from a laser resurfacing treatment include skin discoloration, scarring, exacerbation of preexisting skin conditions, thermal burns, infection, prolonged edema, and pain.

What can someone expect from the results of a laser resurfacing for acne scars procedure?

The results of laser resurfacing for acne scars will be dependent on the type of laser used, however, generally, candidates can expect permanent improvements to appearance of acne scars and irregular skin pigmentation. The results of these laser skin resurfacing treatments will develop over weeks as skin rejuvenates.

What is the average cost of a laser resurfacing for acne scars procedure?

Laser resurfacing for acne scars can cost anywhere from $200 to $3,400. The actual cost of the procedure is dependent upon location, provider, and length and involvement of the cosmetic procedure.


effectivelong lastingless invasive methods available


longer recovery timepossible multiple treatments

Invasiveness Score


Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

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.

The Takeaway

Laser resurfacing for acne scars is a cosmetic surgery procedure to reduce the appearance of acne scars by removing old damaged skin cells and promoting new skin growth and new collagen at the treated area. Acne Scars: Laser skin resurfacing can be performed with a variety of laser treatments.

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Source List


AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Yanhan Wang, Tissa R. Hata Yun, Larry Tong, Christos C. Zouboulis, Richard L. Gallo, Chun-Ming Huang The Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Propionibacterium acnes CAMP Factor-Targeted Acne Vaccines ; 2018-11-11


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