Laser Resurfacing For Acne Scars

2 Types of Laser Treatment For Acne Scars:

Laser treatments can be used to reduce and eliminate acne scarring on the skin. The two main types of laser treatment for acne scars are called ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing. Ablate means to vaporize or remove the skin.


Ablative Laser Resurfacing

The ablative lasers remove the top layers of the skin allowing stem skin cells from within the hair follicles to resurface the treated areas. This rejuvenates the skin in many ways. Not only does it remove scarring, it also tightens the skin, decreases wrinkles and pore size, removes unwanted pigmentation and removes precancerous skin cells as well. The strength or wave length of the ablative or non ablative lasers depend on what energy source is used and what setting your doctor chooses to use for the treatment.

ablative laser resurfacing

Before and after Ablative Laser Resurfacing treatment

Ablative laser treatment, now referred to as ablative laser resurfacing burns scar tissue off the surface of the skin, which stimulates the underlying skin to tighten. This technique injures the skin and exposes the underlying tissue, so that those patients undergoing ablative laser treatment have to be protected from infection post treatment.

Although this laser resurfacing can be used to treat acne scarring, it is not generally recommended when a person has active acne as there is an increased risk of infection. It would be a good idea to consult a dermatologist before visiting a skin surgeon when considering treatment. It also needs to be noted that laser therapy can be painful, so doctors apply topical anesthetic to the skin before starting any laser treatment to numb the skin tissue. Recovery time is usually around 5 days.

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons do mention that pigment loss of the skin can be high and demarcation lines can be noticeable afterwards, but the results can be very good. This treatment is best for fairer skin and is not recommended for anyone with darker skin as treating darker skin has an increased chance of permanent skin discoloration. Once again we recommend consulting a dermatologist before considering skin laser treatment to see if you are suited to this type of treatment. There are also other considerations that need to be made first.

Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing

The alternative to ablative laser resurfacing is non-ablative laser treatment (also called sub-surface remodeling.) Non-ablative laser treatment brings about changes in the underlying skin tissue without injuring the epidermis, or the surface of the skin.

This form of laser therapy is quite fast as the skin surface is not removed or injured as the energy from the laser, heat, or radio energy is delivered into the dermis not the epidermis. The process also heats up the oil glands in the skin, preventing acne from forming and tightens the underlying skin, so that scarring will is less obvious.

Non-ablative resurfacing is usually done through radio frequency, or other wavelengths that go deep in the skin to stimulate the deeper tissues to tighten. Non-ablative treatment does not remove or ablate skin, instead creating sub-surface skin wounds which heal with new collagen production.

Non-ablative resurfacing is usually done as a series of treatments with less downtime afterwards than ablative laser treatment. The devices used can cause redness and swelling that lasts a couple of days.

Above are examples of laser treatment or resurfacing methods that can help reduce or eliminate acne scarring, as well as having significant anti-aging benefits. There are many factors to take into account when considering these treatments, including skin types, medical conditions, medications taken, cost and type of laser to be used. It is best to consult a qualified and experienced dermatologist before having ablative of non-ablative laser resurfacing treatment.



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