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Laser Treatments for Acne Scars: Benefits, Risks, Cost, and More

If you’ve dealt with acne, cystic acnes, or had a tendency to pick at your previous breakouts, it’s possible you were left with light or extreme acne scars. Laser treatments for acne scars, a preferred, efficient, as well as well-vetted treatment. “They are efficient at breaking up mark cells and inducing the development of new collagen, which will certainly soften the look of scars over time,” clarifies board-certified skin specialist Dr. Dustin Portela.

That said, deciding to obtain a laser therapy for acne scars is a big decision. They’re an investment and can need downtime, so it’s best to have allllll the info. While you ought to rather please consult with your board-certified dermatologist for personalized guidance, we have actually talked with a handful of leading professionals to create an overview to laser treatments for acne scars. From the distinction in between laser therapies (there are two major classifications) to the risks, cost, and reasonable results, here’s everything you need to recognize.

Can a Laser Treatment Get Rid of My Acne Scars?

The brief solution: Laser treatments can obtain rid of acne scars, to a particular level. You will certainly require a collection of treatments (exactly how lots of will certainly be figured out by your company) and also you need to see significant adjustments.

The degree of healing in huge component relies on just how extreme the scarring was to start with. Typically, changes in color are going to be the most convenient to eliminate, while structure is going to take longer. “In instances of light scarring, and also in some cases of modest scarring, the evidence of scars may be completely gotten rid of. Serious acne scarring may not accomplish 100 percent renovation, yet great strides can often be made,” claims Dr. Portela.

Sorts of Lasers

The details kind of laser utilized to treat your acne mark relies on the severity of your scars as well as the tools that your doctor has in-office. The majority of makers drop right into two main categories: Ablative and non-ablative. “Ablative lasers are extra hostile, have greater downtime, and call for less treatments,” claims Dr. Goldberg. “Non-ablative lasers are much less hostile, have marginal to no downtime, as well as require even more treatments.”


If you’re handling serious acne scarring, you’ll likely react best to ablative fractionated lasers, such as CO2 or Erbium. “These makers use a wavelength of laser that targets water in the skin as well as triggers tiny holes to be shed right into the skin in a grid-like pattern. These areas of injury are separated by areas of untreated skin so recovery can take place rapidly,” describes Dr. Portela. These micro-injuries will prompt the development of brand-new collagen, break down thick scar cells, as well as gradually, produce a more even tone as well as structure.


Non-ablative lasers are mosting likely to be liked for young adults, moderate or light acne scarring, or anyone that does not want to handle downtime. While you can leave your therapy and tackle your day immediately after therapy, you will need a majority of sessions to generate comparable outcomes.

One prominent non-ablative laser is called the Lutronic Ultra, which is a thulium-based gas laser. “It is so reliable on energetic acne, acne scarring, and the hyperpigmentation left over from it,” explains Nurse Tara Adashev APRN at Neinstein Plastic Surgery.


Okay, hear me out: Microneedling does not ~ technically ~ autumn into the laser category, however it’s still worth pointing out when speaking regarding clinical treatments for acne scars. “Although not a laser, it can additionally create tiny injuries in the skin and lead to collagen production,” says Dr. Portela.

Does a Laser Treatment Hurt?

On a scale of painless to unbearable, laser treatments are mosting likely to be identified as uneasy. They’re inducing warmth in the skin, which isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience. Think: irritable, elastic band snapping blended with a poor sunburn. “For many of these treatments, a topical numbing cream suffices to control the pain during the procedure,” says Dr. Portela. “For the a lot more hostile treatments, shots of numbing drug like lidocaine might be required to properly manage pain.”

How Long Will it Take to Recover?

When it concerns the healing process, recovery time will certainly vary. Skin will heal from an ablative laser in a few days to a week, whereas skin will certainly be good to go just a couple of hrs after a non-ablative laser. “You’ll be a little pink-ish for six-ish hours, but by the next early morning you’ll simply have dry skin,” says Adashev.

How Much Time Will it Take to See Results?

Laser treatments for acne scarring are a commitment. You’ll need a handful of treatments, typically spaced 4 to six weeks apart, in order to get the most effective benefits. “The outcome can be seen in 6 months after the last treatment,” clarifies Dr. Goldberg.

Is There a Risk Associated With Laser Treatments for Acne?

While the outcomes of a laser treatment can be life-changing, there are numerous threat factors to think about. “If the incorrect laser is used on somebody, or the laser operator is inexperienced, lasers can inappropriately shed the skin or lead to even worse scarring as well as pigmentation,” states Dr. Portela.

Infection is an additional factor to think about. “Any ablative laser therapy, or microneedling, is triggering injury to the top layer of the skin, which means a danger of infection exists,” he adds. While this is unusual so long as correct after care is complied with, it is an opportunity. Aftercare, while always essential, is somewhat a lot more complicated for anybody with a background of cold sores. “If you have a history of fever blisters you should take an antiviral medication after any kind of laser treatment on the face as these gadgets can bring about cold sore growth,” explains Dr. Portela. “Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus as well as if you experience a break out complying with a laser treatment on the face they have the possible to spread anywhere on that particular treated skin, which can be tragic.”

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