Laser Treatment for Acne Scars

Aug 18

Laser Treatment for Acne Scars

Laser treatment for acne scars involves the targeted use of focused light therapy to reduce the appearance of scars. Although acne scars cannot be entirely removed, research has demonstrated how to fix acne scars with laser treatment can markedly reduce the visibility of scars.

Categories of Laser Treatment

Broadly speaking, the lasers used to treat acne scars fall into 2 distinct categories


Ablative lasers break down the surface of a scar while also working to tighten subcutaneous collagen fibers.


Unlike ablative lasers, non-ablative lasers do not remove any damaged skin. Instead, they increase collagen development and thereby prompt skin tightening.

Types of Laser Treatment

There are numerous different types of laser treatment which are used to reduce the visible effects of acne scars.

Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing  

This form of laser treatment can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a given patient. As such, in order to deliver optimal results, a medical practitioner is free to select the ideal combination of microbeam size and density.

This form of treatment has been shown to deliver emphatically positive results in terms of reducing the appearance of acne scars. Moreover, as an added bonus, this treatment can also help guard against new scar formation.

Intense Pulsed Light 

This process uses high-intensity polychromatic light to tackle acne scars. Such treatment is effective at combating a range of acne scars, including hypertrophic scars and keloid scars.

Pulsed Dye Laser 

Pulsed dye laser treatment has been shown to markedly improve the depressed appearance of acne scars.

Smoothbeam Laser Treatment    

The treatment process begins with cooling the epidermis. A laser beam is targeted on the portion of the upper dermis. The heat generated by the laser beam serves to promote collagen development. This form of treatment has delivered somewhat mixed results, with a longitudinal study reporting a satisfaction rate among patients of only 55.3%. Moreover, the same study revealed that 66.7% of patients suffered hyperpigmentation following treatment.

Erbium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Treatment    

Infrared rays are targeted at acne scars. The process works on the principle that infrared rays can penetrate the scars and thereby cause ablation. This process has the advantage of vaporizing and desiccating comparatively few tissue cells. Since the skin’s collagen actively absorbs the infrared rays it can also serve to promote the regeneration process.

Advantages of Laser Treatment

Laser treatment can deliver long-lasting and noticeable improvements to the appearance of acne scars. Part of this success can be apportioned to the targeted nature of laser treatment itself. Moreover, this form of treatment incurs markedly less tissue damage than surgery.

Disadvantages of Laser Treatment

laser treatment for acne scarsLaser treatment can be both very expensive and hugely difficult to access. Ablative forms of laser surgery can have significant short term and long term postoperative effects. For example, in the short term, patients may experience increased susceptibility to fungal and bacterial infections, while over the longer term, hyperpigmentation and erythema can develop.


Generally, the recovery period following laser treatment for acne scars should last no longer than 3-10 days. However, in order to maximize the long term benefits of the procedure, patients are advised may be advised to;

  • Avoid direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks.
  • Take over the counter pain relief medicines when necessary.
  • Apply moisturizer on a daily basis.
  • Avoid skincare products which contain glycolic acid or retinoids for 2-4 weeks.

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