Laser treatment for acne scars is a treatment designed to reverse the scarring commonly seen is people with cystic acne that can physically disfigure a person. Scarring can have a significant psychological impact as acne scars can last a lifetime.
According to one study on the prevalence of acne scarring, the kind and degree of the scarring is directly related to the location, severity, and length of time the acne was present before receiving successful treatment. In up to 95% of cases, facial scarring affects both sexes equally.
Ready to see your face without acne scars? Get ready to love mirrors again! To see and touch your acne scar free face, smoother, healthier and happier! Our advanced laser treatments for acne scars, combined with non-laser modalities, will forge a natural partnership between our advanced science and your skin’s own natural physiology to return your skin to vibrant beauty and health.
The 3 Different Types of Acne Scars
Depending on the level hyper-proliferation and/or loss of collagen, acne scars can be classified as atrophic, hypertrophic or keloid. A person may have one or more of these that affect the same area of skin.
Atrophic scars are by far the most common with 80% to 90% of people having this type and therefore we are going to focus this article on Atrophic acne scars. These appear as indentations in the skin as a result of inflammation deep in the dermis causing damage and collagen loss followed by contraction when the acne resolves. Atrophic acne scars can further be classified into 3 subtypes.
- Ice pick scars occur in 60% to 70% of people and are V-shaped epithelial tracts with a sharp margin that can extend deeper in the skin.
- Boxcar scars occur in 20% to 30% of people and are round to oval scars with sharp vertical sides.
- Rolling scars occur in 15% to 25% of people and are irregular scars with a rolling or undulating shape that can be up to 5 mm in diameter. It can be challenging to distinguish between these three subtypes of acne scars because they are all frequently present in the same individual.
Scars that are hypertrophic and keloidal are treated differently than Atrophic scarsand therefore will be discussed in a separate article.
How Laser Treatment for Acne Scars Works
Every individual acne scar is different from all others with its own unique internal structure. This makes them difficult and complicated to treat. Every acne scar needs to be individually assessed and requires customized treatment protocols according to each patient’s specific needs.
Our advanced laser treatment protocols for acne scars are very comprehensive. They typically include numerous types of lasers specific for working with collagen and other scar tissue. Acne scar tissue is remodeled into smooth healthy collagen and new growth of young, healthy collagen is generated. Skin that has been damaged by acne cysts is smoothed and resurfaced.
Of course, any discoloration, such as dark pigmented spots, vascular lesions and broken capillaries that are common with acne scars are also treated. Your skin will return as closely as possible to an even and consistent tone, to what it was before the cystic acne caused the acne scars.
Multiple-Modality Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
The reduction of acne scarring includes various types of lasers combined with non-laser modalities that produce a far better clinical outcome than any one method alone.
Laser Modalities Used in Acne Scar Removal
- Collagen Neogenesis – New collagen remodeling and production is stimulated deep in the dermis. This will fill the acne scars from the inside out.
- Contraction of Acne Scars – A lateral contraction of the acne scar is caused by deep fractionated micro columns of energy. This causes them to simply become smaller from side to side. This is done at the deepest as well as the shallow layers of the dermis. When compared to ablative resurfacing, this method is faster to recover from and more efficient than non-ablative resurfacing.
- Sublative Dermal Remodeling – A geometrically reversed pulse of energy is introduced deep into the dermis with this technique. This causes maximal contraction of the acne scarred tissue.
- Ablative Resurfacing – Enables collagen reformation and re-epithelialization by removing the epidermis and a portion of the dermis. This smoothes the outer layers of the epidermis leaving the skin smooth to the touch. The only downside of ablative resurfacing is the downtime which can be up to a week or two.
- Coagulative Resurfacing – This method causes the breakdown and remodeling of the rigid and hard acne scar collagen into flexible and well organized collagen like healthy soft skin.
- Color Blending Pigmentation – Removing hyper pigmentation or dark spots caused by cystic acne.
- Color Blending Vascular – Removal of red vascular lesions often associated with acne scarring.
- Epithelial Peel and Regeneration (Erbium Laser) – The outer-most dead layer of skin is precisely vaporized inducing a complete regeneration of a brand new epithelium that looks absolutely radiant.
Non-Laser Modalities for Treating Acne Scars
In most cases, laser acne scar treatments are integrated with a package of:
- Microneedling – This treatment promotes the production of new collagen. A pen like device with many small micro-needles is run over the skin’s surface creating many perforations in the epidermis and dermis (similar to the CO2 Fractional laser). Microneedling has several benefits including low cost, a fast recovery time, barely any pain or discomfort and a very low risk of PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
- Subcision – Involves inserting a blade parallel to the skin’s surface to cut the fibrous strands holding the scar to the underlying tissue. Subcision is used for rolling or depressed scars .
- Silk Peel (dermal infusion facials) – The dermal Infusion facial infuses your dermis with a variety of natural substances. This promotes further healing and rejuvenation of your skin to its silky-smooth, radiant state.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – After each laser treatment for acne scars to speed up recovery.
Between laser treatment for acne scar sessions, a series of non-laser treatments are typically scheduled along with hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
What our wonderful patient’s say about their experience with laser treatment for acne scars.
What our fabulous patient’s say about their laser treatment for acne scarring.
What to Expect During Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
Watch the video : My Acne Scar Treatment with Subcision and Placental Tissues (HCT/P)
Before the Acne Scar Treatment
During your complimentary consultation, our doctors will access your particular scarring and recommend the specific acne scar treatment that will be the most effective for you.
They will explain to you the many different treatments available. Why your acne scars will respond best to this set of treatments, or that set of treatments and provide a step-by-step outline of the protocol. You’ll also be advised about the proper pre and post-treatment skin care instructions.
During the Acne Scar Treatment
A typical laser treatment for acne scars protocol usually includes 3-5 different lasers per session, as well as a variety of non-laser modalities. The non-laser modalities are chosen to stimulate your skin’s regenerative potential, such as hyperbaric oxygen treatments and microneedling also know as Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT).
Depending on the severity of the acne scarring and the physiological responsiveness of the patient, laser treatment for acne scars typically requires a series of treatments, in 6-8 week intervals, to see maximal results.
To sum it up, we engage, stimulate and direct your own physiological machinery, which does the actual work of Repairing, Regenerating and “Rebirthing” your skin… to reduce and remove your acne scars.
After the Acne Scar Treatment
After your laser treatment, expect some degree of redness, ranging from a mild “sunburn” pink to a deep red (depending on skin type and skin sensitivity). Patients are photo-sensitive to sunlight for up to 48 hours following the laser treatment, so it’s best to stay indoors and out of direct or indirect sunlight. It is normal to experience some skin peeling and crusting for several days afterwards. A strict skin care regimen must be adhered to during the first week to ensure proper healing and optimal results.
We appreciate the enormous difference being free of acne scars and proud of your face can make. We would be honored to help you achieve the glowing, confidence-building, happy and beautiful skin you deserve.
Laser Treatment for Acne Scars FAQs
Q. What is the downtime for laser acne scar treatment?
A. The downtime for this treatment is minimal. Immediately following treatment your skin will look “sunburnt” red and somewhat “raw” for approximately 3 to 4 days with light to moderate swelling. Between days 3 and 5 you may experience a flaky peel. During this time your skin will look like it is healing but there will be little to no pain involved and you will be completely functional. Most of our patients return to work in a day or two after their treatment.
Q. How long before I can have my next laser acne scar treatment?
A. Typically, the laser treatments are spaced out every 6 to 8 weeks. This can be extended all the way out to 16 weeks if needed.
Q. How long after laser acne scar treatment will I see results?
A. The collagen matrix of the skin is very complex and regeneration can not be created overnight. Positive changes are generally seen by the average patient after the 2nd week. These positive changes will continue to accumulate for 6 months.
There are many scientific theories as to why cystic acne scarring responds so well to lasers. The fact is that the skin’s own regenerative capacity is truly amazing and it can be directed and stimulated by laser energy. When the laser protocol is properly customized for each patient’s skin it can stimulate the bodies natural regenerative resources to rebuild damaged tissue. It is important to know that it is not the doctor, or the laser, that heals you scars. While a skilled and wise doctor designs the laser protocol based on the unique physiological cues of each patients skin, it is the skin itself that does the work rebuilding health, new skin in the weeks between treatments.
Q. Do you recommend the CO2 fractional laser for acne scarring on the face?
A. The CO2 fractional laser is the most common laser used to repair acne scars. Even though a customized combination of multiple lasers combined with other therapeutic modalities produces the best results, the CO2 fractional laser produces fantastic results as a stand-alone treatment.
Q. Is the CO2 Fractional Laser the best laser for acne scars?
A. To treat your cystic acne scars and achieve maximal healing a customized approach is required. To regenerate healthy, strong and beautiful skin a combination of many different types of laser are utilized, including CO2 fractional laser. We may also use many other therapeutic modalities, from low tech micro-needling, to the highest reaches of Regenerative Medicine found in Stem Cell therapy.
Q. What makes your treatments different than others?
A. We have a different and unique approach to acne scars. We combine many modalities together including dozens of lasers, which gives us the ability of delivering the results you are looking for. Our unique treatments focus on delicate, progressive and precise stimulation of your own physiological capacity to generate new skin that artfully remodels your acne scars to blend with the rest of your skin.
Q. Can laser acne scar treatment repair scars from acne conglobata on the chest and back?
A. Yes! Severe conglobata (Cystic) acne on the chest and back can be successfully treated with lasers. Please see the before and after photos above in which you will see incredible healing of very deep scars on our patient’s chest.
Q. How long does this acne scar treatment last?
A. This treatment will cause your skin to regenerate a new dermal collagen matrix. The results will last for years.
Q. Can laser acne scar treatment repair the acne scars on my butt?
A. Yes! This treatment can repair and remodel scars on just about every part of the body.
Q. How long has AMA been performing laser acne scar treatments?
A. For over 20 years we have been developing proprietary protocols and performing treatments for acne scars. In fact, we have many patients that fly to us from all over the world for our treatments.
Learn More About Our Laser Treatments for Acne Scarring
References - Read the Science...
Everything on our website comes from from reputable publications, books and scientific journals, most of which are available on PubMed and other government websites. These include Meta-Analysis’, Randomized Controlled Trials, Clinical Trials, Systematic Reviews, Books and Documents. We encourage you to read the science, in order to separate fact from fiction, so that you can arrive at a full understanding of what is best for your skin. We would be honored to be a part of that educational journey with you.
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