Laser/Light Therapy for Acne Scars

One of the best solution for acne scars is laser/light therapy, which involves using an intense light beam on scarred areas, without any damage to the surrounding tissues.

Basics of Laser Therapy/Laser Skin Resurfacing For Acne Scars

Laser resurfacing for scars is a procedure, where gentle but strong beams of light are used to reduce acne scars. The heat energy of the laser works by vaporizing the thin columns of the skin, one layer after another. As fresh skin as well as new collagen grows on the treat area, the surface appearance gets better and smoother. The procedure is a non-invasive one and is completed as an outpatient procedure.

The scar is first cleaned and marked, following which the doctor may decide to use local anesthesia for the procedure. Patients may be given goggles to avoid eye damage. The laser may be used on the skin for more than a few times, and in between the procedure, the doctor may clean the treated area to reduce effects of the heat. The process may cause a stinging sensation, with little or no bleeding, depending on the skin condition. After the procedure has been completed, the doctor will dress the treated area.

Why opt for laser/light therapy for acne scars?

  • Limited pain
  • Limited recovery time
  • Non-invasive technique
  • Great solution when used with other acne treatments

What are the risks?

Like most other cosmetic procedures, there are a few risks, and it is worth knowing before you take any further steps. Please note that the capability of an experienced dermatologist can reduce the risks. These include,

  1. Swelling and pain
  2. Discoloration of the skin
  3. Infection and bleeding
  4. Unexpected scarring
  5. Crusting

Evaluating the costs

Generally, laser/light therapy for acne scars is considered to be a cosmetic procedure, and hence, it is not covered through insurance. The costs depend on factors like.

  • Size of the skin problem
  • Skin type
  • Area to be treated
  • Number of appointments needed
  • Additional need for further tests
  • Cost of anesthesia and other procedures, if any.

Steps before the procedure

Typically, the dermatologist would talk to the patient and discuss his/medical history. The dermatologist will also talk of the expected results, the risks involved and other aspects of the procedure. A physical exam or tests may be suggested. Patients should, however, follow the suggestions below.

  1. Avoid direct sun, sunbathing, skin peel masks, waxing and other chemical treatments for at least two weeks before laser therapy.
  2. The treatment area should not be exposed to perfumes, fragrances and deodorants.
  3. Doctors may also advise avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs and some supplements to avoid complications.

Expectations after the procedure

  • Instant results may not visible for the initial weeks or months, so the person should be well aware of the same, may need multiple sessions to get desired result.
  • The treated skin area may have a reddish or pink tint for a few hours after the procedure.
  • There may be tingling or stinging sensation around the treated area, which usually reduces within first six hours.
  • There may be mild swelling after the treatment, which fades in few days or weeks.

Additional suggestions after the procedure

  • The treated area must be cleaned for 2 to 3 a day, after 24 hours of the procedure.
  • A worthy moisturizing lotion can be used for a few months for faster healing.
  • There may be swelling for next 48 hours, which is pretty normal. Itching sensations may persist up to 72 hours.
  • Old skin will peel off eventually after a period of five to seven days.
  • Avoid all kinds of makeup for next 24 hours. Makeup should only be used after swelling and redness has reduced. Only oil-free makeup should be used for next three months.
  • Skin exposure should be limited after the procedure.

Always talk to your doctor before you decide on laser therapy for acne scarring. There may be many other considerations and aspects that may be pertinent to your case, depending on personal details.