Everything You Need to Know About Laser Acne Scar Removal
Those who suffer from severe acne scarring can sometimes feel emotionally insecure, discouraged, and ashamed of their appearance. Eventually, this can lead to higher anxiety and depression for some. Fortunately, there is an effective solution to minimize the appearance of acne scarring through laser treatments.
As you continue reading you will learn more about laser treatment for acne scars and what to expect after your first treatment. Let’s get started!
How Acne Scar Treatments Work
Every acne scar is considered different from the others you may have because of its unique internal structure. It is for that reason that it makes them difficult and complicated to treat. When it comes to treating acne scars, each scar needs to be assessed and will require customized treatments according to each patient’s specific needs.
There are a variety of advanced treatment protocols for treating acne scars that can be very comprehensive. These treatments typically include numerous types of lasers that are specifically designed for stimulating collagen and healing scar tissues. The preformed treatment repairs acne scar tissue and remodels it into smooth, healthy, collagen, resulting in a younger appearance. Skin that has been damaged by acne cysts is smoothed and resurfaced by the laser.
Those who suffer from discoloration, such as dark pigmented spots, vascular lesions and broken capillaries (which are common with acne scars) can also be treated through laser resurfacing. As you slowly progress in the treatments, your skin will eventually return to it’s natural state, with a result of an even and consistent skin tone.
Multiple-Modality Laser Protocols
There are a few practiced techniques for treating acne scarring and reducing it effectively. Here are the following methods used during these treatments:
- Collagen neogenesis – This process is used to stimulate new collagen re-growth and to stimulate deep into your dermis. The process also fills out your acne scars from the inside out.
- Contraction of acne scars – Deep fractionated micro-columns of energy causes a lateral decrease of the acne scar. This method causes the acne scars to become smaller from side to side. This is done at the deepest as well as the shallow layers of the dermis.
- Sublative dermal remodeling – A geometrically reversed pulse of energy is pulsed deep into the dermis of the skin with this technique. This provokes a maximal contraction of the acne scarred tissue.
- Ablative resurfacing – In this process, the outer layers of the epidermis are smoothed out leaving, allowing the skin to look and feel smooth to the touch.
- Coagulative resurfacing – This method allows for the breakdown and remodeling of rigid and hard acne scar collagen, and turning it into flexible, healthy collagen for softer skin.
Other methods include:
- Removal of hyperpigmentation or dark spots that are caused by cystic acne.
- Removal of red vascular lesions that are often associated with acne scarring.
- In the process of epithelial peel and regeneration:
- The outermost dead layer of skin is precisely vaporized.
- Complete regeneration of a brand new epithelium is induced that results in radiant skin.
In terms of non-laser methods, a specialist may provide the following treatments:
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may be used for each laser acne scar treatment
- Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) which utilizes high-density acupuncture
- Infusion of Physiological Regulating Medicine (PRM) formulations
- Silk Peel (dermal infusion facials) – which is performed by one of the technicians during the procedure. The dermalInfusion facial process involves infusing your dermis with a variety of natural substances. The treatment promotes further healing and rejuvenation of the skin so it can resort back it a smooth and radiant state.
Between each laser session, a series of CIT/PRM treatments are usually scheduled with hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
What To Expect From Acne Scar Treatments
During your consultation, a doctor or nurse will explain the process of removing the acne scars you have, as well as the recommendations and specific acne scar treatments that will be the most effective for you. After, you will be provided a step-by-step outline of the procedure you will be having. The proper pre and post-treatment skin care instructions will also be provided during your consultation.
During a typical acne laser treatment, 3-5 different lasers are typically involved per session, as well as a variety of non-laser modalities which are used to stimulate the skin’s regenerative potential, such as hyperbaric oxygen treatments, high density acupuncture called Collagen Induction Therapy(CIT), combined with formulations of Physiological Regulating Medicine (PRM).
Treatments that reduce the appearance of acne scar require between 3-6 treatments in 6-8 week intervals depending on the severity of the acne scarring and the physiological responsiveness of the patient.
A nurse or technician will stimulate and direct your physiological machinery, which does the actual work of repairing, regenerating, and recreating your skin to reduce and remove your acne scars considerably.
After you have undergone your laser treatment, expect to see redness around the treated area that may feel and look like a mild “sunburn,” ranging in a pink to deep red tones (depending on skin type and skin sensitivity). Patients are photo-sensitive to sunlight for up to 48 hours following the laser treatment and advised to stay indoors and out of direct or indirect sunlight. It is normal to experience skin peeling and crusting for several days post-treatment. You may be required to follow a strict skin care regimen during the first week to ensure proper healing and optimal results.
In cases where a patient suffers from existing acne, sun damage, rosacea, age spots and wrinkles, laser treatments can be customized by incorporating other specialized protocols and various procedures.
The downtime for each treatment
The downtime for laser acne treatments is quite minimal. Following the treatment, your skin will appear like you have a mild sunburn that is red and somewhat raw for approximately 3 to 4 days with light to moderate swelling. Between day three and five, you may experience your skin flaking. During this time your skin will appear as though it’s healing, but there will be little to no pain involved, and you should be fine to do your regular daily activities. Most patients return to work in a day or two after they have undergone laser treatment.
When to expect visible results
Because the collagen matrix of the skin is very complicated, instant results won’t happen overnight. Typically, the average patient is expected to see positive changes and results after the 2nd week. These positive changes will continue to accumulate over the course of 6 months.
There are many theories as to why cystic acne scarring responds so well to lasers. The fact is, our skin’s regenerative capacity is unique and unusual because It can be directed and stimulated by laser energy.
When the laser treatment is customized for each patient’s skin, it can stimulate the bodies natural regenerative resources to rebuild the damaged tissue within the skin. It’s essential to know that it is not the doctor or the laser hat heals your scars. Although a professional designs the treatment based on the unique physiological cues of each patients skin, it is the skin itself that does all the rebuilding work to promote healthy, new skin in the weeks between each treatment.
The cost of laser acne scar removal
Because laser treatments for scar removal are considered cosmetic and elective procedures, your insurance provider may not cover the cost to have it done.
Many factors determine the cost of laser treatment; here are a few:
- the size of the scar
- the number of scars
- the number of laser treatments you’ll need
Be sure to keep in mind that you may need more than one laser treatment to achieve your desired results. While some cosmetic boutiques offer a set of treatments for a specific cost, keep in mind that you may be required to pay for each time you see your doctor for the laser treatment.
Because the out-of-pocket cost for laser treatment can vary, it’s essential that you consult with more than one doctor or technician to compare prices before proceeding with the procedure.
In some cases, offices or boutiques will charge a consultation fee in addition to what you pay for the actual procedure.
According to the University of Michigan’s Department of Dermatology, a single laser treatment that improves the appearance of scars can cost between $200 and $3,400.
In terms of recovery, there is no extended downtime for laser scar removal so you won’t have to worry time off work. In most cases, you may be able to return to work the next day or within a few days after the procedure.