Laser Treatment for Acne Scars | How Do They Actually Work?

Many of us might remember the experience of having a breakout. Your face is itchy and you can feel the painful sensation as you move your facial muscles. Little things like smiling or talking can make you uncomfortable due to acne. It also affects your appearance and causes decreased self-esteem and self-confidence when meeting new people, worrying how other people might judge you or think that your face looks disgusting. And you might even be left with acne scars that can be such a big headache and frustration.

However, just like any other condition or disease, there are always treatments that are available and able to resolve your concerns. This article will go into detail about all the information that might be helpful to you for a better appearance.

What Causes Acne Scars?

Acne scars are caused by the inflammatory response that occurs when a person’s skin is damaged. This can occur as a result of infection, trauma, or even chronic acne. When skin is damaged and an inflammatory response takes place, collagen production is disrupted and the formation of fibrous tissue begins. This fibrous tissue is what causes acne scars to form. It can be shallow or deep depending on how much damage the skin experiences.

Shallow acne scars are more common and are created when collagen breaks down near the surface of the skin. These types of scars appear as small depressions in the skin and are generally smooth to the touch. Deeper acne scars form when there is more severe damage to collagen and connective tissues beneath the surface of your skin. This type of scarring appears as a divot or crater in the face, with a raised border around it.

Another type of scarring from acne is called atrophic scarring, which results from loss of collagen due to inflammation from active breakouts or cystic lesions that form deeper within the dermis layer of your skin. These types of scars appear as either depressed areas with an indentation similar to chickenpox marks, or raised bumps known as keloid scarring (usually found on darker-skinned individuals).

The best way to prevent acne scars from occurring is by avoiding intense inflammation and keeping your breakout activity under control with over-the-counter medications or prescriptions if recommended by your doctor. In some cases, professional treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, fillers, and steroid injections may be used to reduce the appearance of active breakouts or existing scarring caused by acne lesions.

What Are the Side Effects of Acne Scars?

Acne scars can have a wide range of side effects, both physical and emotional. Physically, acne scars can cause discolouration of the skin, raised or sunken areas around the scar, as well as itching or tenderness in the affected area. Long-term exposure to the sun can cause skin discolouration to become more pronounced, making it difficult to hide the affected area with makeup or clothing. In some cases, acne scars can be uneven or bumpy, making them easily visible even when wearing clothing. Emotionally, acne scars can cause feelings of self-consciousness, distress, depression and low self-esteem due to their visible appearance.

Those with deeper and more severe acne scars may experience more severe physical side effects such as tissue damage that may cause further scarring or disfigurement of the skin. This type of scarring is known as ‘atrophic’ scars and often includes icepick scars which are deep holes in the skin; boxcar scars which are depressed angular-shaped wounds; rolling scars which appear wave-like; and hypertrophic/keloid scars which are thickened growths on the surface of the skin caused by excessive collagen production during healing. These types of scares are often raised above the surrounding skin which may make them difficult to conceal with makeup or clothing. In addition to these physical effects, atrophic acne scars may lead to psychological issues such as embarrassment and reduced self-confidence due to their visible nature.

What Are Some Laser Treatment for Acne Scars?

Fractional CO2 Laser

The fractional CO2 laser is a powerful and effective tool for treating acne scars. It is a minimally invasive procedure that can provide excellent results with minimal downtime and discomfort. With the fractional CO2 laser, a beam of light energy is delivered to the skin in tiny columns or fractions. This creates areas of heat within the tissue that stimulate new collagen production and remodel existing collagen, resulting in smoother skin texture and an improved appearance of acne scars. The fractional CO2 laser also helps to reduce pigmentation changes caused by scarring, leaving skin looking more even-toned. Short-term side effects may include redness, swelling and peeling but these usually resolve quickly. Longer-term results are usually seen after several treatments when the body’s natural healing process has been stimulated to produce healthier skin cells and increased collagen production. Patients who undergo treatment report seeing significant improvement in the look of their acne scars within weeks of treatment with very few adverse effects.

TCA Cross

TCA Cross is a chemical peeling technique used to treat acne scars. It uses trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to penetrate deep into the skin and cause controlled destruction of the outer layers. This process helps to smooth out scarring, reduce pigmentation, and even out skin texture. In some cases, it can also be used to lighten discoloured patches on the skin such as melasma or sun damage.

The TCA Cross procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to complete and multiple treatments may be necessary for optimal results. During treatment, a very thin layer of TCA is applied across certain areas of the face with an applicator. After a few minutes, the excess solution is removed and neutralising agents are applied to minimise discomfort.

Immediately after treatment, patients report some redness and swelling which should subside in a few days. Some mild burning or stinging may occur but should go away within 24 hours. Over the next week, the treated area may appear darker before lightening up during the healing process. Several days later, patients will notice improved texture and tone in their skin as well as softer lines and wrinkles due to collagen remodelling from the treatment.

Scar Filler

This type of scar treatment involves injecting a specialised gel-like substance into the skin to fill in hollow areas created by deep acne scars. The filler is usually composed of collagen or hyaluronic acid, which helps to plump up and fill out the depressed areas on the face, giving it a more even appearance.

Scar filler treatments typically last anywhere from three months to two years depending on the type of filler used and unique patient needs. When used properly, scar filler can reduce or remove the look of depression caused by severe acne scarring. It also helps to improve skin texture and tone as well as hydration levels in the skin. Many individuals experience an improvement in their overall complexion after completing treatment with scar filler. 

Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP)

This method involves collecting a small sample of blood from the patient and then spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from the other components. The PRP is then injected back into the areas where scars exist, triggering a natural healing process that encourages collagen production and helps fill in pitted and damaged scar tissue.

PRP is especially effective when combined with traditional treatments such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion. It can also be used alone or in combination with other injectable treatments, such as dermal fillers or Botox. Results can vary depending on the severity of scarring, but most patients report noticeable improvements within a few weeks of treatment and full results by three months post-treatment.

RF Micro Needling

RF Micro Needling is a revolutionary treatment that can help reduce signs of acne scars, wrinkles and sun damage. Unlike traditional treatments, RF Micro Needling doesn’t just treat the surface of your skin — it penetrates beneath the skin to stimulate cell regeneration and collagen production. With this procedure, microneedles are used to create tiny punctures in the skin which helps to stimulate cell growth and also increase blood flow for healing purposes. The radio frequency energy emitted from the needles helps to promote collagen production, leading to firmer, smoother-looking skin. This makes RF Micro Needling an excellent option for those looking for a more effective way of treating acne scars. 

Reading all these treatment options and medical jargon might be confusing for some of you, this is where Klinik Suzana can step in and help, we have a team of excellent doctors that can simplify things for you during the consultation and get you familiarised with the most suitable treatment for your condition, contact us now for more details. 


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