A Guide To Laser Acne Scar Removal

A guide to laser acne scar removal

Pimples, acne, cysts, we hate them all. The annoyance caused by the looks of these things on our faces can be really troubling. 

If these aren’t bad enough when they’re there, you then have to deal with another problem, acne scars.

These very words are enough to send shivers down any one’s spine. The problem is, most of us have to face this issue one way or another.

Not to worry though. Most of you must already be panicking. However, let us assure you that there's a way of getting these scars removed and have your skin looking nice and clean, like it never happened.

There are ways to help remove acne scars. You can rest assured that there have been some real leaps when it comes to skin treatment technology.

One of the best ways today of removing acne scars is laser therapy.

Laser Acne - Procedure

Laser Acne Scar Removal

Yes, lasers! No longer are these just the weapon of choice of the science fiction universe. Lasers are now a big part of our world, in a good way. 

Not only is this treatment effective, it also means you no longer have to take drugs or use creams or anything of the sort.

The best part? Not needing to go under the knife of the surgeon for plastic surgery.

In order to guide you through this, we’ll discuss the matter of laser skin treatment with you so you know you’re on the right track.

We’ll let you know what happens during a laser treatment process. We'll also go into what the different laser acne scar removal methods are.

Lastly, we'll discuss whether there are any side effects of undergoing this procedure. 

But first, let's talk about how these acne scars form in the first place.

Check out a comprehensive guide of how to get rid of acne on Skinhelpers.

Where Do These Acne Scars Come From?

First things first, before we get into the whole laser treatment thing, you need to know what these acne scars are and how they form. This may help you prevent them from happening in the first place.

After all, prevention is better than cure. It’s best to familiarize yourself with this process as understanding the problem is the first step in taking care of it.

Acne scars are the results of acne formation. When acne forms on the skin as a papule or cyst, it causes inflammation of the lesion.

This mostly results in the dead skin cells getting trapped in the pores of the hair which, due to the excessive waste formation, then get attacked by bacteria.

Another factor that causes this issue is the oil excreted by the skin. 

This oil too tends to get clogged in the lesion. The whole thing just becomes a big pile of rubbish.

Laser Acne - Acne Skin

Why Do They Scar?

Once this mess gets too much to handle for the pore, it starts to expand. Because the pore can't deal with it, its surrounding walls start to crack.

However, if something like this takes place close to the skin's surface, the pore usually ends up healing itself quite fast. This is an issue quickly resolved as it’s only minor.

But this isn’t the case for every pore as the wall of the follicle is sometimes damaged beyond the repairing capabilities of our bodies.

This is when things get really serious. The result is that all that clogged mess ends up getting infected.

As you’re aware, infections love to spread and that’s exactly what they do here. They spread to the neighboring healthy skin cells and start damaging them too.

As is the way our bodies, they to make repairs but the problem is that this kind of damage is beyond our natural capabilities.

Even though the skin adds more strength and flexibility in its quest to repair the damage by making new collagen fibers. Unfortunately, it's not enough.

This is where the skin starts to lose its smooth clean look and ends up having scars that, if not treated, can permanently embed itself in your skin.

Types of Acne Scars Treated with Laser Treatment

There are various types of acne scars that can be treated with lasers.

Whatever type of acne scars you have, rest assured that you can treat them with the latest in dermal technology. 

The following are acne scars that you can treat:

Post-Inflammatory Hyper-Pigmentation (PIH)

Even though these aren’t assigned to the acne scar category, they’re a nuisance for the skin none the less.

They cause a visible discoloration of the skin, but chances are the scars won’t go away anytime soon.

Lasers can help in getting rid of them fast, with the least amount of recovery time.

Keloid Scars

The most common of the ‘acne scar’ types. This plagues your skin when your body surface is making too much collagen.

These soft reddish-purple fiends are more like bumps on the surface. If not taken care of ASAP, they will spread to the surrounding areas or worse, they will simply increase in size on their own.

The fastest way to ensure they don’t spread is undergoing laser therapy.

Atrophic Scars

There are two specific types of this scar, namely Ice Pick Scar and Boxcar. Atrophic Scars are another one of the most common acne scars.

These materialize as pocket-like indentations on the skin and just like their relative acne scar types, are a real problem if not taken care of properly.

Hypertrophic Scars

Can be easily confused as a Keloid scar as these scars are quite similar in appearance.

They’re firm to the touch and pink in color. These are raised scars, but unlike Keloid scars these don’t spread over to other areas and because of that, the infection remains where it is.

If you’re lucky these can sometimes fade away with time. In case they don’t, there’s always the skin laser procedure to get rid of them.

Which Laser Types Work for Fixing Acne Scars?

When it comes to laser treatment therapy, there are two types of treatments that are performed nowadays. They’re as follows:

Ablative Laser Treatment

The intensity of this laser is high among the two laser therapies. It’s stronger and harsher as it removes the patches of skin surrounding your scar.

If your scars are more severe, then the number of treatments may increase over a course of two to three months, depending on the individual case. As it’s a harsh procedure, the recovery is a bit longer.

You need to give your skin time to heal properly. Used for the worse of the acne scars, this treatment allows skin to re-grow afresh, giving you a smooth new look.

Non-Ablative Laser Treatment

This laser therapy is less intense and is usually for when the scars aren't too deep and require minor healing.

The recovery time for this treatment is also less due to the lower intensity of the laser, allowing your skin to heal quickly and improve the appearance back to its original, smooth and perfect state.

Laser Acne - Procedure 2

What Lasers Are Used in Acne Scar Removal?

The laser has come a long way. From science fiction novels, TV shows and movies, we now have lasers helping mankind take care of various health problems.

Laser treatment has become a very common thing in the skin treatment industry. It's known to be the most effective way of curing various issues.

Keep on reading to find out more about the different laser treatments you can undergo for acne scar removals.

CO2 Laser Acne Scar Therapy

This is the best way to get those scars cleaned and get your skin back to its original condition. However, this procedure is ablative. Therefore, it can be a bit harsh as it causes some discomfort.

This laser destroys the layers under your skin that are causing your acne in the first place. Not to worry though, the process isn’t painful.

It’s just that the CO2 laser is a bit strong on the skin, which is also a reason why it’s the method that gives the best of results among all the laser treatments.

Because of its intensity, the recovery time is longer as the treatment leaves your skin reddish for a little more than three months. With proper care, you can shorten that time.

Fractional/ Fraxel Laser Procedure

Perfect for scars that are less severe and intense, this laser is part of the non-ablative treatment, which is of minimal intensity.

Because the procedure is less intense, the recovery time of the patient is shorter.

The benefit of this laser treatment is that when compared to other procedures, its precision levels are higher as it targets the scars more accurately, resulting in less recovery time.

Erbium YAG Laser Treatment

Even though this laser is ablative, it’s less harsh than CO2 laser treatment.

This procedure is used for scars that are not yet severe and require the use of a laser that’s moderately high in intensity.

Because of this, the recovery time is lesser than the CO2 procedure. This laser is also suitable for anyone with a dark skin tone.

Are There Any Side Effects to Acne Scar Laser Treatment?

There are some side effects that can be caused by laser acne scar removal therapy.

However, they can be taken care of with proper aftercare. Some side effects that usually occur after a laser procedure are as follows:

Redness, Swelling and Itching

These are most common side effects of laser therapy. You’ll notice your skin becoming swollen and red. The intensity of these side effects depends on the level of intensity of the laser therapy.

This redness can last for almost three months. However, if you listen to your skin specialist and take care of the area the way you're supposed to, chances are this will go away within two months.

Acne Outburst

Okay, so this is the scary part. You must be wondering about going through all the trouble to get rid of acne scars only to end up with more acne?

Well, let's put your concerns to rest as this is only temporary. 

The creams and bandages you’ll be using after the laser treatment will make your skin break out with more acne.

However, give it a month or so, keep using the creams and other ointments prescribed by your doctor and they will go away.

Skin Infection

Because the laser has broken up parts of your skin, it may become susceptible to outside viral and fungal invasion.

However, you’ll be asked to apply antibiotic ointments and maybe even antibiotic medicine.

Skin Color Change

Laser treatment may also cause some discoloration of the skin. Usually, the skin goes darker or lighter than the original tone.

Once the area has healed, this can be easily rectified with the use of a topical retinoic acid or glycolic acid.

Laser Acne Scar Removal, Is It Worth It?

Whether you get them during your teenage years or even during your adult years, acne scars can be a real pain in the butt!

If you’re suffering from severe acne scars on any part of your body (the face especially!) then laser skin therapy is the best way to go.

Laser Acne - Before & After

Lasers are the future not just in the skin treatment field, but in other medical domains as well.

The best thing to do if you wish to undergo a laser acne scar removal therapy is to consult with a reputable and experienced skin specialist.

We hope you found this article helpful. Why not share your views in the comments below? 

If you've undergone the procedure or are planning to go for it, we we'd love to hear what you have to say.

 Johnathan Clark  

 Skin Helpers  

I'm an individual with more than 15 years of experience as a consultant in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. The last 5 years, I've been specializing in acne treatment and analyzed more than 100 products. On Skinhelpers, I help people with skin problems.