Laser Acne Scar Removal

Laser acne scar removal is a common cosmetic procedure right now given how successful it can be in treating a problem that many people have.  That said, laser acne scar removal may have uneven results, depending on how deep and widespread your scarring is, your skin type in general, and other factors.  You should be sure to get a comprehensive evaluation of your condition and an estimate of exactly what you can expect from your laser treatment for acne scars so that your hopes are realistic and you can balance the cost/benefit of this cosmetic procedure.  Laser acne scar removal does work, but for many it is a matter of degree as opposed to a compete resolution.

Laser Acne Scar Removal Assessment

The first step in laser treatment for acne scars is a comprehensive assessment of your scars and you skin as a whole.  The practitioner will ask you questions regarding how long you’ve had this skin condition, when it started, and the course of the problem.  She or he may ask you what else you’ve tried, if anything, to get some positive effects.  And finally, she or he will need to know your general medical condition, any medications you are on, and specific issues you’ve had with your skin.  The goal is to assess your likely response to laser acne scar removal as far as the treatment needed, duration of treatment, likely results, and recovery period.

At the end of your assessment your cosmetic practitioner should be able to give you an idea of what to expect, and some may even be able to use computer imaging technology to show you computer mediated pictures of your own skin before and after your acne scar removal.

Laser Treatment for Acne Scars: Types of Scars

The types of acne scars that exist, along with the likely effects of treatment include:

Rolling scars are the most subtle type, sometimes not visible except in natural or bright light.  These types of scarring are easiest to treat though the large surface area they can involve can make things a little challenging.  Often a combination approach involving fillers and laser therapy ca be used for the best effect.

Boxcar scars are usually small but much more defined indentations.  They may cluster in certain areas such as the cheeks.  This type of scarring often responds well to laser acne scar removal if they are shallow, but deeper scarring often requires surgical intervention first.

Ice pink scars almost always need surgical intervention first since they are much deeper and defined.  Then, once that procedure has been completed, the laser therapy can help smooth and rejuvenate the new skin.  This type of scarring is usually well-defined in certain areas so the scars can be individually addressed

Laser Acne Scar Removal Procedure

Laser acne scar removal  is growing in popularity due to its increasing effectiveness and decreasing cost.  While laser treatment for acne scars does not work for everyone, it has a broad enough range to appeal to many.  This cosmetic procedure basically involves thin layers of your skin being removed by the laser until the scars are no longer visible.  Your skin naturally tightens where the laser was used which also helps to flatten things out.  Many times other cosmetic procedures and even surgery are used prior to the acne scar removal in order to give the fullest effect.  Laser acne scar removal works best for those that are the “boxcar” type, shallower than others, but it can be used for deeper blemishes when combination approaches are used.

Non-ablative laser acne scar removal

Recently cousins of laser acne scar removal have emerged that are less damaging and require less down time than traditional approaches.  These new procedures include “non-ablative” skin resurfacing that uses what are called Fraxel lasers. There is also a new type of laser called “Fractional” which is gentler and destroys fewer layers of skin.  This new type of laser treatment for acne scars does require more individual treatments, often performed once monthly for up to six months.  Fractional therapy only requires a day of downtime after each treatment.

Types of laser acne scar removal

  • Laser treatments for acne scars involve the destruction of the outer skin layers so that when new skin grows it looks healthier and smoother.  Different types and settings can be used depending on the severity of the condition and your skin type.  Depending on the strength of the laser used for this type of acne scar removal you may need additional treatments.
  • Radiofrequency treatments produce a similar effect as laser treatment for acne scar removal but they do not damage the skin.  They merely work to reduce the blemish itself.  Often radio frequency as a choice for acne scar removal does not fully remove acne scars, but it can help them fade a little.
  • Dermabrasion is exactly as it sounds – a brush destroys the top layers of skin which can remove small surface scarring by taking away the top layers of the skin.  Deeper scarring will not be removed with this type of acne scar removal.
  • Fillers can be used that literally cover up the scarring.  The best known and perhaps most widely used filler in acne scar removal is collagen.  Fillers work in two ways for acne scar removal, either literally filling in the scars or stretching the skin a little bit.  Fillers do not provide a permanent fix, so you may need to go back for repeated treatments.

Laser treatment for acne scars process

Laser acne scar removal  is basically a skin resurfacing process that smooths out the skin where the scarring took place.  This layers of skin are removed through the therapy until the acne scars either look less prominent or disappear.  A related effect of laser treatment for acne scars is that the skin tightens which further helps smooth things out.  In many cases acne scar removal is done by itself, but in others adjunctive treatments can enhance the effect such as fillers or even surgery.  Laser treatment for acne scars alone is good for shallow “boxcar” scars, and may help smooth other types as well.  The downtime after these treatments will depend on how much surface was treated and how deep the laser had to go.  You may need multiple treatments a few months apart to get the maximum effect.  As mentioned above, you may have a choice between a less invasive approach called “fractional” that requires less downtime.

Laser Treatment for Acne Scars Summary

Laser acne scar removal  may not work for everyone, and the initial assessment with a qualified practitioner who gives you an honest assessment and maybe even a computer-generated model of what the outcomes will be is vital.  For many, this cosmetic procedure will not completely take the blemishes away, but there can be a dramatic reduction.  Having a realistic idea of the likely results and balancing that against the cost, side effects, and down time is vital.  There are also alternative treatments that can be considered either instead of or in conjunction with laser treatment for acne scars, so you should make sure you see a doctor who is proficient in a wide variety of techniques.  And again, ideally your doctor can use computer imaging to give you an accurate picture of what the results will be.

The Mayo Clinic describes Laser and Other Treatments for Acne Scars and WebMD also covers this procedure in detail including minimizing and preventing acne scars

Best of luck if you choose a laser treatment for acne scars.  If you have had a laser acne scar removal procedure and want to share your results with others we welcome that in our comments section.

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