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Laser Treatment for Acne Scars: What You Need to Know

Laser Treatment for Acne Scars What You Need to Know

Did you know approximately 95% of individuals who’ve had acne deal with at least some residual scarring? 

If you’ve tried resurfacing treatments, serums, and other treatments to eliminate acne scars, it may be time to entertain laser treatment. 

It works by focusing high-frequency light waves onto the skin’s top layers to break up that scar tissue while encouraging the growth of healthy skin cells. 

Before you decide this option is for you, here’s what you need to know about laser treatment. 

What types of acne scars are most suitable for laser treatment?

Raised (hypertrophic) and sunken (atrophic) scars are just a couple types of acne scarring. For those sunken scars, they’re often classified by the scar’s shape. Both cobblestone and box-car scars are generally easily corrected. However, icepick scars, which have narrow openings with extensive scarring beneath, are tougher to treat with laser treatment.

What devices are used for treating acne scars?

Advances in technology mean you have multiple high energy devices available to help treat acne scars. Pressure injection devices, resurfacing lasers, radio-frequency devices, and color lasers are some of the options available to you.

How do these lasers work to remove acne scars?

  • Ablative lasers – Tissue is vaporized, which stimulates the formation of collagen.
  • Full beam lasers – The entire surface is addressed with a full beam laser, and while treatment requires more downtime, it does provide excellent results.
  • Radio-frequency devices – Energy is used to heat tissue, stimulating elastin and collagen production.
  • Non-ablative lasers – Energy is imparted to tissue, and head stimulates collagen production.
  • Color lasers – Color lasers work on targets based upon the color, so if a scar is purple, then the laser is set to target only this color of skin.
  • Fractional lasers – The laser beam splits into small dots so skin is between the areas lasered. This allows for faster healing and also reduces the risk of side effects.

What are the risks of laser acne treatment?

The light energy used during laser treatment does make skin more sensitive to the sun as the skin heals. This means it’s even more essential to be diligent about using sunscreen, and SPF 50 is recommended. Certain types of skin may need advance treatment to prep skin, particularly those who might be prone to hyper or hypo-pigmentation issues.

How does laser treatment for acne feel?

With non-ablative lasers, treatment usually feels like an elastic band is snapping skin with added heat. However, patients may be given a topical anesthetic to provide comfort during the procedure. Ablative lasers can be more painful and often require more powerful topical anesthetics or, in some cases, a local anesthetic. Of course, it’s always difficult to predict how laser treatment for acne scars will feel, since it depends on the individuals and the type of laser being used.

How long will my laser acne treatment last?

This is something that will be discussed during the treatment consultation. In some cases, results may not be permanent and you may require multiple sessions. While individual results may vary, you can generally expect a full regimen of treatments to last for 6-18 months.

What is the cost of laser treatment for acne scars?

Once again, this is something to discuss in your initial treatment consultation. The cost will vary depending on the type of lasers used, the number of sessions, and the size of the area being treated.

At the Valley Skin Institute, we specialize in laser treatment for acne scars. Request an appointment today for a consultation to determine what treatment plan will reduce your scars and give you the beautiful skin you desire.


Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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