Lasers are effective in treating acne scars through resurfacing and soft tissue augmentation.
Different types of laser, including the ablative, non ablative and fractional lasers are very useful in treating superficial and medium depth acne scars.
The mechanism of action of lasers in acne scars is twofold:
- Lasers remove the superficial scar tissue, known as laser resurfacing.
- Laser energy stimulates new collagen formation in the dermis which results in tightening and firmness of the skin, which restores the depressed ace scars to the surface
The combination of these effects makes the acne scars smoother and less visible.
Types of Lasers Used in Acne Scar Treatment
Depending upon the type of action, lasers are divided into two types: the ablative or non-ablative.
- Ablative lasers used in acne scar treatment. These cause removal of the damaged scar tissue through melting, evaporation or vaporisation. Examples of ablative lasers are Carbon Dioxide laser and Erbium YAG laser. These abrade the surface and also help tighten the collagen fibers beneath. Ablative lasers are best avoided in darker skin types as the possibility of post inflammatory pigmentation is very high in such individuals.
- Non ablative lasers used in acne scar treatment. There are different types of non-ablative lasers available; the most commonly used are the NdYAG and Diode lasers. These do not remove the tissue, but stimulate new collagen formation and cause tightening of the skin resulting in the scar being raised to the surface. They are not as effective as ablative lasers in the treatment of acne scars.
Advantages of Laser Treatment in Acne Scars
Acne scar laser treatment, though costly, through ablative lasers is one of the best options available to treat scarring caused by acne.
- Ablative lasers, through emission of high energy at extremely short pulses vaporise the targeted scar area with limited damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. This makes it a better option than chemical peels and dermabrasions for the treatment of medium depth and deep acne scars.
- The carbon dioxide lasers have been shown to achieve 50-80% improvements in atrophic scars. The depth achieved with CO2 laser is 20-60micrometer and a thermal damage diameter of 20-50 micrometer.
- Pulsed Erbium YAG produces less thermal damage than the CO2 laser, but has lesser efficacy. Hence useful in treating superficial atrophic scars.
- If the acne scar is superficial and non-fibrous, good results are achieved with a single treatment. In most cases, though, multiple treatments are necessary to achieve the desired results.
- After the laser surgery, skin returns to normal in 2-4 weeks, depending upon the depth of penetration of the laser energy.
Ablative and non ablative fractional lasers are also effective in treating superficial to deep acne scars, with lesser complications than the conventional ablative lasers. Non ablative laser treatments combined with chemical peels give better results than either used alone in superficial and medium depth acne scars.
Laser Treatment for Acne Scars: Related Articles
- Acne Scar Causes
- Types of Acne Scars
- How to Get Rid of Acne Scars
- Acne Scars: Medical or Non Surgical Treatment
- Acne Scar Removal: Surgical and Cosmetic Treatment
- Acne Scars: Why Prevention is Better Than Cure!
- How to Get Rid of Acne Blemishes
- Acne Scar: FAQ
- All About Different Types of Acne and their Treatment
The information given in this article is for educational purpose only so that patients are aware of the options available for diagnosis and treatment of common skin, hair and nail diseases. No diagnosis should be made or treatment undertaken without first consulting your dermatologist. If you do so, the author will not be responsible for any consequences. The images provided are for illustration purpose only and should not be reproduced without the consent of the author.
About the Author of Skin Care Tips from Dermatologist: Dr Hanish Babu, MD
Dr Hanish Babu, MD is a dermatologist with more than 3 decades of experience in treating skin and sexually transmitted diseases in UAE and India. He has been practicing in UAE since last 22 years. He is a respected speaker during the Continuing Medical education Programmes for doctors, medical students and paramedical staff and is also a Stress Management Trainer. He organises group therapy sessions for patients with psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo.
He is available for consultation at Cosmolaser Medical Centre in Samnan, Sharjah (06 5678 200) from 9 am – 1 pm and at City Medical Centre, Al Bustan, Ajman (06-7 441 882) from 4.30 pm – 9.30 pm.
Visit his personal website dr-hanishbabu.com for more details and for educational articles on Skin, hair, nail and sexually transmitted diseases. Click here to Book an Appointment with dermatologist Dr Hanish Babu, MD