- Laser skin resurfacing uses powerful light to remove scar tissue and encourage new skin growth.
- Depending on the type of laser used, it is an effective way to treat both atrophic and hypertrophic acne scars.
- The procedure can cost between several hundred and several thousand dollars depending on the treatment area.
Laser skin resurfacing is a skincare procedure that uses a strong beam of light to improve the appearance of the skin. Depending on the type of treatment, laser resurfacing can be used to burn off damaged, outer layers of the skin — reducing the appearance of wrinkles, scars, and other blemishes — or warm the skin to encourage growth.
Since the procedure involves powerful lasers, it should only be performed by a qualified dermatologist.
Laser resurfacing is a popular way to treat acne scars. Acne scars are formed as the result of permanent tissue loss (atrophic scars) or excess collagen production (hypertrophic scars) following a breakout. Although acne scarring is difficult to reverse entirely, laser treatment is a promising way to rejuvenate the skin.
Can Laser Skin Resurfacing Treat Acne Scars?
Studies have shown that laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat acne scars of all types. However, the way in which laser resurfacing heals the skin, and thus the types of scar it is most effective against, depends on the type of laser being used.
Ablative lasers such as the CO2 laser or erbium laser work by burning off (ablating) the outer layers of skin. They are particularly effective in the treatment of shallow atrophic scars. Ablative lasers can also be used to combat general skin texture problems associated with acne scarring.
Since ablative lasers are more invasive than other laser treatments, they have a longer recovery time.
Non-ablative lasers like the pulsed dye laser (PDL) do not ablate skin cells. Instead, they stimulate the production of collagen in deeper skin layers.
The pulsed dye laser is considered the laser of choice for treating hypertrophic scars, especially when redness is present.
Fractional or not?
Instead of targeting the entire surface of the skin, fractional lasers apply light to the skin in a pattern of dots. This makes them slightly less effective, but improves recovery time.
Fractional lasers come in both ablative and non-ablative forms.
Laser resurfacing is an appropriate scar treatment for most individuals. However, it is not recommended for those who are highly prone to scarring, as it may cause more harm than good.
What to Expect During Treatment
Before beginning the procedure, an eye cover is put in place to protect the eyes. Then, the surgeon will administer an anaesthetic to numb the skin.
The treatment itself involves lying down for up to two hours while the surgeon directs the laser light onto the scarred areas. You may feel some discomfort in your skin during this time.
Depending on the type of laser used, it can take up to two weeks for your face to recover following laser therapy. Recovery times for smaller, less invasive procedures can be as short as three days.
You’ll also need to limit sun exposure to a minimum for up to one and a half months after treatment.
Results and Reviews
Patients are usually satisfied with laser treatments. Almost all patients report feeling some discomfort during and following the procedure, but the improved appearance of the treatment area makes up for this.
Before and Afters
The cost of laser skin resurfacing depends on the area being treated. Treatment of a single scar can cost as little as $200; however, larger procedures can run for more than $3,000.
At Home Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatments
There are several devices designed to mimic laser resurfacing at home, such as the Tria laser. These devices are significantly less powerful than their clinical counterparts; as a result, they can only make small improvements to the appearance of acne scars. Instead, they are recommended for the treatment of small wrinkles and fine lines.
Laser resurfacing is an effective treatment option for acne scars of all types. Generally speaking, non-ablative lasers like the pulsed dye laser are recommended for the treatment of hypertrophic scars. Ablative lasers like the erbium laser can be used to treat atrophic scars when other treatments (such as IPL) are not used. Recovery time ranges from several days up to two weeks, and can be reduced with the use of fractional lasers.