How Laser Resurfacing Treats Acne Scars

Certain type of acne scars cannot be treated with conventional forms of acne treatment. Acne scars, like ice-pick scars, have rather deep depressions that are sustained even if the acne is treated. Similarly, boxcar acne scarring is rather severe and tends to scar the tissue in a penetrative manner. Such scars need some sort of surface treatment that can camouflage the outline of the scars and reduce their thickened edges. Many dermatologists refer to such deep acne scars as hypertrophic scars. Such scars are best treated with laser-based treatments like laser resurfacing.

Laser Resurfacing Basics

Laser treatments are conducted in many forms. However, they all share a common method, i.e. using laser for treating skin-related problems wherein the penetrative laser beams are used by the attending specialist to heat the skin’s outer and inner layers.

Laser resurfacing is a specialized form of laser treatment. It has a pronounced superficial effect, i.e. it is dedicated towards yielding immediate results by treating the skin’s outer surface. This is perfect for treating acne scars that usually render maximum damage to the outer surface of the skin. The functionality of laser resurfacing can be understood as a combination of inducing healable, minimal skin-wounding, along with a restricted form of abrasion.

Laser resurfacing is an undemanding procedure that is preformed on outpatient basis. It is performed by dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons. Lasers beams are essentially beams of infrared light that can penetrate the human skin with ease.

Laser Resurfacing Action on Acne Scars

It is critical that patients contemplating laser resurfacing treatment understand the concept of limited or controlled wounds induced by laser beam. The attending specialist directs the laser beams at chosen spots or the acne scar sites. The laser beam is controlled to an extent that it doesn't cause widespread damage to the skin. Instead, the intense heat induced by the laser beams gradually breaks through the hardened, top layer or epidermis of the skin overlying the acne scars.

As mentioned, this can be interpreted as minimal skin wounding that is necessary to break through the overlying layer of toughened skin cells to re-initiate the healing process. This is the most important part of the treatment since the typical, unsightly appearance of acne scars is largely attributed to the impacted layer of dead skin cells that don’t allow the underlying, newer skin cells to emerge. The dead skin cells are slowly hardened by surface proteins, such as keratin that acts like a cementing agent. This is why mature acne scars develop typically rough and hardened edges that makes them look like skin lesions.

When the outer layer of acne scars is dispersed, the size of the scarring tissue gets radically reduced. This allows the fresher skin cells to emerge and this neutralizes the hyperpigmentation and wound-like appearance associated with acne scars. Further, the heating induced by the laser beams stimulates the skin’s internal healing mechanism. The intense heat catalyses the renewed formation of skin proteins that is integral for completing the skin’s healing.

Choosing Appropriate Laser Resurfacing

A patient undertaking laser resurfacing should be ready for multiple sessions that might be needed for comprehensively treating acne scars. This niche of laser treatment puts forth certain choices, like ablative laser resurfacing that uses CO2-based laser treatment. The alternative is Pixel Laser Resurfacing that is reputed to be highly undemanding for the patient and needs less sessions.

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