Laser Treatment for Acne Scars

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Acne is a common and most feared skin condition in the adolescence. According to dermatologists, failure to treat acne may result to permanent scars and dark spots on your face. However, treating acne also can boost one’s self esteem. Home remedies for acne works best in case of minor acne conditions, but if the condition is severe, there is no exception of dermatological treatment for acne. Chemical dermabrasion and peels help improve the appearance of the scars, but laser treatment for acne scars is an effective method for the elimination of acnes and acne marks from your skin. Laser treatment has become a common tool for correcting the skin such as dark spots, age wrinkles, removing unwanted skin and other skin problems. Treatment of acne scars with lasers tries to hinder the loss of scar tissue or buildup of collagen fibers which makes the acne became visible. Both ablative and non-ablative lasers have been tested for this reason.Laser Treatment for Acne Scars

One of our regular subscriber shared her experience with us about laser treatment for acne scars. When Angelica Rivas (screen name) looks at herself in the mirror, she sees lots of scars.”I actually experienced it in the past three years, it was intense” she complained. She also used various acne face washes for oil control to reduce acne. At this moment she’s going for laser technology to make the scarring and the pitting less noticeable.  from San Francisco, who is a specialist says that Fraxel Restore Laser has been approved for many years now and a common tool for treating acnes among ethnic groups with more sensitive or darker skin. “It’s now possible and easier to treat acne scars because you can treat it more aggressively by using a fractional ablative laser and the patient will heal quickly” Dr. Sheena clarifies. She also says that some ablative lasers which tend to burn off skin layers may damage skin pigments in Latino, Asian and black Americans and that’s not the intention. So, instead of removing the skin completely she recommends the non-ablative laser which sends laser light to the layers beneath. The technique promotes collagen to grow, thereby cells regenerate filling up the spaces left by the acne scars. The procedure usually results in a smoothing effect on one’s skin. Some experts still believe that there are other treatments that can bring the same results but at a much cheaper price. Angelica is now hopeful of getting the smoothness to the areas where her skin is damaged by acne scars. That would give her relief and boost her self-esteem as she interacts with others daily.

Types of lasers which are used in acne scar treatment

  • Ablative lasers: The most commonly used ablative lasers are the erbium and carbon dioxide lasers. The carbon dioxide laser emits radiation at 10600nm wavelength which rectifies atrophic scars by 80%. It vaporizes the papillary dermis and epidermis to 19-50µm in depth. The erbium yttrium aluminum garnet (Er: YAG) laser emits a 2940-nm light and ablates 10–20 µm of tissue with each pass using a fluence of 5 J/cm. Recent reports indicate that ablative lasers have been successful in the dealing with atrophic scars.
  • Non ablative laser: There is possible removal of the whole dermis and epidermis, bringing back the smooth skin you had. This method is the gold standard although its use is limited due to adverse effects like to prolong dyspigmentation especially in dark skinned individuals.
  • Fractional laser: It has been invented to improve the results seen by non-ablative lasers. Fractional lasers with reasonably absorbed wavelengths, such as 1410nm, 1440nm, 1540nm and 1550nm, result in column-like denaturation of the epidermis and dermis. Histological examination discloses an intact stratum corneum and breakdown of the dermo–epidermal junction with sub-epidermal lifting within an MTZ. The neighboring uninjured tissue swaps with the thermally injured tissue by giving keratinocytes that drift to the injured regions in 24-hours.

The role that laser plays in the management of acne scars

Lasers have different energy and wavelength, thus wrong setting or wavelength can injure the patient. Patients who have acne scars with less fibrotic tissue require a reduced fluency and those with higher Fitzpatrick skin needs lower energy.

These acnes should be evaluated properly and graded to determine the best acne scar treatment methods to apply. an expert in laser treatment classified these acnes as:

  • The 1st grade. Consists of hypo/hyperpigmentation marks that can be seen by someone from a distance.
  • The 2nd grade. This grade consists of mild atrophy, but cannot be seen when one has makeup or beard.
  • The 3rd grade. Which is moderate atrophic scarring which cannot be covered, but easily noticed from greater distances.

Side effects you may have with laser treatment for acne scars

The methods used by these lasers are associated with minor side effects which are:

  • Pain
  • Edema
  • Erythema slight Bronzing and
  • Scaling of skin

Ablative laser side effects are a bit drastic, but can still be controlled by clinicians. These side effects are increased downtime, oozing and bleeding. Topical anesthetics and other cooling modalities are sometimes used in conjunction with these lasers lessen the pain to a specific extent. In case of post treatment, it is advised that non-comedogenic moisturizers or semi-occlusive dressings, except occlusive ointments to be used so as to reduce acne flares. Moreover, daily sunscreens and post-treatment, bleaching agents are effective in minimizing the risk of pH.

Why do you need acne scar treatments?

Acne is feared by many people or even frustrating, as the acne treatments are time consuming . The scars become visible through an increase in collagen and a loss of scar tissue.  Laser treatment tends to end these two processes.  Ablative lasers do this by vaporizing the papillary part of the dermis and the epidermis resulting in a smoothened skin. Scientific research finds the carbon dioxide laser better and more preferred than the Er:YAG laser although it has some side effects. Dr. Goodman an expert in laser treatment recommends the use of ablative lasers for grade 3 acne, while non-ablative lasers for grade 2 acnes. Though non-ablative laser are less effective than ablative lesser they are safer due to less side effects. A new laser technology FP uses zones of microthermolysis to destroy the dermis and epidermis in a uniform manner so as to control the healing process. Studies of fractional laser have shown encouraging results, but further research is required. Although, the laser treatment for acne scars cost vary from country to country, some laser treatment can be costly and required several sessions. So you need to keep these aspects in mind too.

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