Acne scars may be removed by employing several different procedures, such as chemical peels, dermal filler, natural remedies and laser treatments. Each type of acne scar should be analyzed; there is no treatment that can claim to be the best, as there are scars of different depths and sizes, but the laser treatments can be applied on a variety of types of acne scars.
Laser Treatments for Acne Scars
There are 2 main types of laser treatments that may be applied in patients with acne scars:
- Ablative laser treatment (resurfacing lasers)
- Non ablative lasers
The ablative laser treatments are more invasive, and these will remove a layer of skin from the surface of the skin; this procedure will remove the scars as well and in time, the collagen will be stimulated to regenerate the skin. The most common ablative techniques are the ultrapulsed carbon dioxide laser and the erbium YAG laser.
The ablative procedures are complicated treatments that involve a lot of risks and a long recovery period (up to 6 months). The skin will remain irritated and red for up to 1 year after the procedure. For this reason, ablative laser treatments are less frequently used, being replaced with non ablative laser treatments.
Non ablative laser treatments will not remove skin layers, but will remodel the skin by applying lasers on small portions of the skin. The treatments can be performed as an outpatient treatment and will involve fewer risks and up to 2 weeks recovery time. There are a few non ablative treatments that may be effectively used on acne scars:
Smoothbeam is an FDA approved non ablative treatment that will employ laser beams to transmit heat to the sebaceous glands, reducing the formation of acne and resurfacing the superficial skin layer. The heating effect of Smoothbeam will also cause collagen formation, which will also tighten the skin and reduce the scars.
2. Yellow Pulse Dye Laser
The yellow pulse dye laser flattens the skin and reduces scars, including acne and keloid scars. The treatment is applied using only a local anesthetic cream; a cooler is used to prevent the damaging of the skin tissues. The laser beams are applied and 3 treatments are typically required for optimal results.
N-Lite is a non ablative laser treatment that stimulates the collagen production, reducing scarring. 3 treatments will be required for visible results.
Fraxel is a group of treatments that includes Fraxel Restore, Repair and Refine. These treatments may be effective in reducing acne scars, as they employ microscopic laser beams that soften the texture of the skin, tightening it as well. The treatments may vary in aggressiveness and the plastic surgeon will recommend a suitable treatment from the Fraxel group of treatments, depending on how severe the scars are.
Pearl is a procedure that resembles the Fraxel treatments. Small areas of skin are targeted at a time and will reduce scars and wrinkles.