Acne scars develop when inflamed acne heals. Today’s advanced lasers can now improve the appearance of acne scars in many cases through laser acne scar removal. It is a popular treatment for both men and women.
Picking or squeezing pimples can increase the risk of scarring. If you have active acne, it is important to receive early treatment, which will prevent scars from forming. Please visit Dr. Goodlerner’s acne treatment page for information.
Types of Acne Scars
Not all acne scars are the same.
- Raised scars are a result of too much collagen as the acne heals. They are best treated with injections of cortisone that help to reduce scar tissue in 3-4 treatments. The VBeam pulsed dye laser can flatten the scar further and reduce redness.
- Indented or pitted scars usually occur as a result of severe acne. Sometimes called “ice pick scars,” these indentations in the skin can look like deep pores or be saucer-shaped. . These scars respond well to laser treatment, which stimulates new collagen in the deep skin layers.
For very deep scars, Dr. Goodlerner sometimes recommends a dermal filler, which is an injection that adds volume to the skin and stimulates new collagen. The results of fillers are usually temporary but may last longer for scars than for wrinkles.
In extreme cases, surgical acne scar repair may be recommended.
What is Laser Acne Scar Removal?
Both the Fraxel Laser and the CO2 Fractional Laser are effective for acne scar removal. A handheld device is used to resurface the top layer of skin and stimulate new collagen production. The hand piece has a “smart” scanner that allows the laser beams to penetrate the skin while ensuring maximum safety.
If your scars are red, the pulsed dye laser may also be used to reduce the discoloration.
A treatment session takes 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the treated area. For optimal improvement, most patients receive 1-2 treatments if the CO2 laser is used and a series of 4-5 treatments every 3-4 weeks if the Fraxel laser is used. Dr. Goodlerner will advise which laser is best for you.
Is Acne Scar Removal painful?
A topical anesthetic or numbing cream is used, and most patients report that while somewhat uncomfortable, the laser treatment is not painful. After treatment, there is no discomfort. The skin is red, and there is peeling for 3-7 days, depending which laser is used.
What are the results?
While your skin will look and feel immediately smoother, the new collagen production over the weeks following treatment will gradually result in scar reduction.
Most patients experience 50-75% improvement in scarring after the prescribed number of treatments, depending on the severity of their original scars.
How soon can you return to work after Laser Acne Scar Removal?
Swelling after laser acne scar removal is minimal and usually resolves within a few days. You can expect a pinkish or sunburned appearance, and some peeling will occur for approximately 5-7 days.
After a Fractional CO2 laser treatment, most people need to take a week off from work and outdoor activities.
You can return to work sooner after Fraxel treatment (usually within 3 days), but you will require more sessions to achieve satisfactory results.
If you have acne scars, contact Dr. Goodlerner’s office in Torrance to schedule a consultation for acne scar removal.