Eliminating acne and acne scars can be tough!

Numerous topical and minimally invasive options can provide decent outcomes. But laser resurfacing treatment can be an effective option for treating acne and scarring for those who have yet to succeed with other treatment options. 

Laser resurfacing acne treatment is growing in popularity. But what exactly is laser resurfacing, and how can it help with acne and scarring?

How Acne and Acne Scars Are Formed

Let’s start with a refresher on how acne and acne scars are formed.

Acne is caused by a combination of factors, including the sebaceous glands’ overproduction of sebum (oil), clogged hair follicles, and the growth of bacteria on the skin.

Acne scars are formed due to the skin’s healing process after an acne breakout. When acne is left untreated or picked at, the skin becomes inflamed, and the body produces excess collagen to help repair the damaged tissue. If too much collagen is produced, it can lead to a raised scar. Conversely, if insufficient collagen is produced, a depression in the skin, known as an atrophic scar, can occur.

What is laser resurfacing, and how does it work?

Laser resurfacing is a type of cosmetic procedure that uses a laser to improve the appearance of skin by removing damaged layers and promoting the growth of new, healthier skin cells. 

Laser resurfacing treatment uses a high-energy laser targeted at specific areas of the skin to remove the outer layers of damaged skin and promote the growth of new healthy skin cells. As the skin heals, new cells are generated, resulting in a smoother, more even skin texture. 

Laser Resurfacing Treatments for Acne and Acne Scars

Several types of laser treatments for acne and acne scars are available, each of which uses a different type of laser to achieve specific results. Laser resurfacing acne treatments fall into two categories:

  • Ablative lasers. Ablative laser resurfacing removes the entire outer layer of skin, allowing for the treatment of more severe skin imperfections like acne scarring. This type of laser resurfacing is typically more invasive and requires a longer recovery time than non-ablative treatments. The most common types of ablative lasers include CO2 and Erbium lasers.
  • Non-ablative lasers. Non-ablative laser resurfacing does not remove the outer layer of skin but instead heats the underlying tissue to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture. The most common non-ablative lasers used for acne treatment are the fractional and Er: YAG.

Some of the most common laser resurfacing treatments include:

Fractional Lasers

Fractional laser resurfacing targets only a fraction of the skin, leaving the surrounding tissue intact. The laser creates small, microscopic skin injuries, stimulating collagen production and promoting healthy skin cell growth. Fractional laser resurfacing can be less invasive and require less downtime than other laser treatment options.

Pulsed Dye Lasers

Pulsed dye lasers work by emitting a concentrated beam of light that delivers heat targeted specifically to blood vessels in the skin and destroys them while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed. Pulsed dye lasers are a common treatment for improving vascular malformations, including acne and acne scarring, and targeting redness associated with acne. 

CO2 Lasers

CO2 laser resurfacing uses a carbon dioxide laser to remove the outer layers of skin, promoting the growth of new, healthy skin cells. CO2 laser resurfacing is typically used to treat more severe skin imperfections, such as acne scars or deep wrinkles.

Erbium (Er: YAG) Lasers

Erbium laser resurfacing uses infrared rays to target the outer layer of skin. Still, it is typically less invasive than other types of laser resurfacing, and it requires less downtime.

AviClear Lasers

AviClear is the first and only FDA-cleared energy device to treat mild, moderate, or severe acne. This laser treatment targets overactive sebaceous glands responsible for causing or worsening acne instead of only targeting surface-level breakouts. 

Who is a candidate for acne laser resurfacing treatments?

Laser resurfacing treatments are typically recommended for those looking to improve the appearance of their skin and address various skin concerns, such as acne or acne scars. 

But laser resurfacing may only be suitable for some. Individuals with some conditions, skin concerns, a history of keloid scarring, or poor health overall may not be good candidates. 

Benefits and Risks of Laser Resurfacing Treatments for Acne

Laser resurfacing acne treatments can offer several benefits for those looking to improve the health and appearance of their skin, including

  • Improved skin texture and tone
  • Minimize the appearance of sun damage
  • Stimulated collagen production

Similar to any medical procedure, laser resurfacing treatments come with potential risks and side effects, including

  • Pain and discomfort during treatment
  • Redness and swelling in the treated area
  • Scarring
  • Changes in skin color
  • Infection 

It’s important to note that specific benefits, risks, and side effects of laser resurfacing acne treatment will depend on the individual and the specific treatment that is used.

How many laser treatments will I need for my acne and acne scars?

Powerful laser treatments can benefit acne and acne scars in as little as one treatment. However, most non-ablative lasers require a series of treatments to produce the best results.

How quickly will I see results after laser resurfacing treatment?

Results can take time and may not be visible immediately, but it’s common to start seeing results and a reduction in the appearance of acne and acne scars within 7 to 10 days. The good news is that the results can be long-lasting if not permanent. 

5 Things to Consider Before Having Laser Treatments for Acne

Laser treatments don’t eliminate acne scars. Don’t expect your acne scars to vanish after a laser treatment. Laser treatments usually improve the skin’s appearance making acne and acne scars much less noticeable. 

Treatment outcomes will depend on the skill of your laser technician. To ensure you get optimal outcomes, ensure that the person performing your treatment is skilled and experienced with the type of laser you’ll be getting. 

You will need to avoid the sun. Limiting sun exposure before and after a laser treatment is essential. Too much sun can cause skin discoloration and scarring.

Consider the cost. Laser treatments for acne and scarring can be expensive, ranging from $200 to $3500 based on the type and number of treatments you’ll need.

Certain medications and conditions may affect your results. It’s important to share your medical history and any medications or supplements you take with your provider. For example, acne medications like Accutane, Retinol, or Retin-A can lead to poor healing or scarring, and over-the-counter medications like aspirin can increase your risk for post-treatment bleeding.

Individuals with some skin conditions like an active rosacea flare-up or a chronic condition like diabetes may experience decreased results from laser resurfacing.

Consider your skin tone when selecting the proper laser treatment. It’s a common misconception that laser resurfacing treatments are only effective on lighter skin tones. Specific laser treatments can pose a higher risk for cell damage or discoloration in darker skin, but safe and effective treatment options are available. 

Heal Your Skin Inside and Out

Your skin’s appearance reflects your unique state of overall health, age, and environmental factors. Digging deeper to reveal what may be holding you back from achieving the healthy, glowing skin you desire can help you heal your skin from the inside out. 

Join me on a skin healing journey different from anything you’ve done before. Learn what the health of your skin may be saying about what’s happening inside your body.

Discover how you can get clear skin using my SkinClock Method.

Limited spots are available for upcoming sessions. 

Join my waitlist today and discover how to STOP your unpredictable breakouts…so you can finally have the youthful, radiant skin you desire! 

Functional Medicine Dermatology in Scottsdale, Arizona

Experience my full-body approach to skincare at the Arizona Wellness Center in Scottsdale, AZ. Call to schedule your functional medicine dermatology consultation today!