Unfair as it may be, severe cystic acne during the teen years may leave some individuals with deeply scarred skin, but living with acne scars is not the only option. Once active acne has subsided, the appearance of acne scars can be diminished, and clear, smooth skin can be a reality.
Although acne scars can be treated with dermabrasion, chemical peels, punch techniques or traditional laser therapy, all of these methods work by removing the top layer of skin. These treatments are all very effective for reducing acne scars, but they can be painful and do involve a longer recovery period.*
Unlike traditional lasers, non-ablative lasers do not destroy the top layer of skin during treatment, so there is little to no pain, and recovery time is shortened. Non-ablative lasers work by disrupting the molecular structure of skin, so it remodels itself. One of the most popular non-ablative lasers for acne scars is the pulsed dye laser, for it has the added benefit of reducing the redness associated with acne scars.*
A: Although general anesthesia is commonly used for traditional laser therapy, it is usually unnecessary for non-ablative laser therapy, for this type of laser involves no cutting of the skin. However, patients who are apprehensive or have a low pain threshold may be given a mild sedative or pain killer before the procedure.*
A: When performed by a board-certified cosmetic surgeon, laser therapy for acne scars is considered safe. However, side effects can occur, and the surgeon will discuss any risks with the patient before treatment.
A: Patients who have used Accutane should wait at least six months after discontinuing the drug before attempting any type of acne scar removal therapy. This is because Accutane is known to cause scarring and may interfere with the results of acne scar removal treatment.
A: Once acne scars are removed, they do not come back, but more than one treatment may be necessary to remove deeper acne scars. Additionally, if acne recurs, new scars may result, and further acne scar therapy may be necessary. That is why it is important to make sure active acne has subsided before starting acne scar treatment.
*Individual Results May Vary.