Acne is frustrating enough on its own when it doesn’t leave scars behind. But for those who are left with lasting marks, it’s as though the experience never ended. The good news is that you don’t need to keep covering up your marks with makeup or rubbing them daily with scar cream in vain trying to make them go away. Laser technology helps many people decrease the look of acne scars or even make them vanish entirely. Read on to learn more about this kind of treatment and whether you are a candidate.
What Kinds of Acne Scars Can be Treated?
There are many different subcategories of acne scars, but the good news is that just about all can benefit from laser treatment. Generally, acne scars can be split into two different types: atrophic (the result of too little collagen production during healing) and hypertropic (the result of too much collagen). Atrophic acne scars often appear pitted or dipped below the rest of the skin’s surface, while hypertrophic acne scars will feel raised when you touch them. In other cases, your scar may be more of a case of hyperpigmentation or discoloration rather than a standard scar.
The type and severity of the scar will dictate what kind of laser treatment is best for you. Your skin tone will also be taken into consideration, as certain types of lasers are less effective on darker pigments. Hyperpigmentation will typically need the least amount of downtime, while deep atrophic indentations (“ice pick” and “boxcar” acne scars) may require multiple treatments and more intense resurfacing.
How Laser Treatment Works
Laser care, or light technology, is used for a wide variety of different treatment purposes today. In the case of acne and other skin treatments, lasers are beams of high intensity light that are used to penetrate the skin and help it heal itself from the inside out. There are different kinds of lasers, though most of them are focused on stimulating your skin’s collagen production levels to form a more even, smooth appearance. Some lasers also remove damaged skin cells in the process to speed up healthy cell turnover, while others use heat to stimulate healthy cell growth.
The main types of lasers used to treat acne scars are:
- Ablative – Remove damaged cells and stimulate collagen production.
- Non-ablative – Use infrared light and heat to stimulate collagen (while not removing any cells)
- Fractional – A gentler approach that breaks up the light into many little beams instead of one large one (can be ablative or non-ablative)
- Combination – Uses multiple approaches
Benefits of Laser Treatment
The clear benefit of laser treatment is that it provides real, visible results in a short amount of time. It is also non-invasive, and even the most intense forms of acne laser care require relatively little downtime following treatment sessions. While most treatments start with an anesthetic to reduce any pain that may be caused, the majority of patients report feeling only minor discomfort after treatment.
It’s also worth noting that laser can be used on most parts of the body, including the face, back, arms, neck and chest (all areas where acne is common). You can also treat larger areas at a time than with other methods, making laser the key to finally beating acne scars once and for all.