Laser Resurfacing Acne Scars

Laser Resurfacing Acne Scars At A Glance

  • Best Results1 session
  • Treatment Recovery7-10 days
  • Procedure Time60 minutes
  • Skin SpecialistDavin Lim
  • Duration of ResultsPermanent
  • AnaestheticSedation
  • Back to Work5-9 days
  • Cost$$-$$$

Laser Resurfacing Acne Scars

Fully ablative laser resurfacing is an excellent treatment for superficial acne scars in the correct skin type. One resurfacing procedure can reduce the appearance of acne scars by up to 98%. I employ both CO2 & erbium lasers for this job.

FactsLaser Resurfacing Acne Scars; Fully Ablative Lasers

  • Ablative lasers treat portions of skin expressed as a percentage of the surface area
  • They can also treat the entire surface area of skin, called fully ablative
  • CO2 & erbium are the most frequently used wavelengths
  • Most skin types can be treated with fully ablative lasers
  • Darker skin patients must be treated more conservatively
  • Superficial scars respond best to fully ablative procedures
  • Healing typically takes 7+ days

What is fully ablative laser resurfacing

Laser Resurfacing Acne Scars

This procedure is an old fashioned way of treating acne scars. It is still relevant in today’s age of fractional lasers & radiofrequency microneedling devices. Ablative lasers include the CO2 and erbium lasers. They specifically target water within the skin.

Unlike fractional lasers & energy devices such as radiofrequency microneedling, fully ablative resurfacing removes 100% of the skin’s surface area. They are best employed for the treatment of superficial acne scars.

How is this different from fractional lasers?

Fractional lasers such as Fraxel, Pixel, Edge, eCO2, Mixto & many others deliver laser beams to a percentage of the skin’s surface. Approximately 5-60% of the surface area is treated with fractional lasers. In contrast, fully ablative laser resurfacing treats 100% of the skin’s surface.

Laser TypeNumber of treatments Recovery Indication
Fractional 2-62-5 daysMultiple levels of

Acne scarring

Fully Ablative One7+ daysScars in the same

Horizontal plane

What types of scars can be treated with this procedure?

Dr Davin Lim has developed the Clarity Program for treating darker skin types. This addresses collagen, clarity & colour for the treatment of ethnic and Asian skin types. This program

Fully ablative CO2 & or erbium laser resurfacing should only be performed when the majority of scars lie within the same plane. Think of this procedure as sanding the floor, the deepest scratches are treated before sanding.

Boxcar scars, pits, shallow ice picks & mild to moderate rolling acne scars are examples that respond best to fully ablative resurfacing.

address the 3 most important aspects of skin rejuvenation with utmost safety and efficacy.

We employ Pico lasers & the 1927 Thulium wavelength to treat pigment, improve skin texture, and decrease wrinkles. Unlike IPL or other lasers, this program is a gentle but effective as it targets both superficial pigment & deeper collagen.

What types of acne scars can not be treated with this procedure?

Significant atrophic & tethered scars as well as deep ice pick scars do not respond well to fully ablative lasers. The latter requires procedures to raise them up prior to full ablation. The former requires methods such as surgical subcision.

Lasers are useful in some, but not all cases of scar revision.

Davin’s Viewpoint on Laser Resurfacing

Still a relevant procedure in today’s age of fractional devices. I probably do 2-3 cases a week for acne scars, & an additional 3 more for wrinkles, sun damage & cosmetic concerns.

In the context of acne scars, it is important to raise up the scars to the highest point possible prior to resurfacing. This decreases side effects & downtime but also improves overall outcome. For lighter skin types, expect redness for a few weeks post procedure. This can be treated with vascular lasers or BBL.

Darker skin types may experience PIH or skin darkening post procedure. This can be treated with pico or nano lasers.

Fully ablative laser resurfacing can be safely combined with other scar directed treatments such as subcision, TCA CROSS & RF microneedling.

The recent changes in Medicare requirements essentially rules out laser resurfacing as a subsidised procedure for darker skin types. Lighter skin patients can be treated with fully ablative laser, however the entire cosmetic unit must be treated- regardless of scarred areas, an example are the cheeks.  For darker skin patients, the exception is that to claim an item number, the resurfacing depths must be equal to lighter skin types. Hence their recommendations to pursue treatments that have no Medicare rebate- examples include RF microneedling, Fractional non-ablative lasers.medicare-claim-dermatology

For this case, fractional laser was NOT the primary method of treatment, however it achieves blending in to the surrounding tissue, reducing demarkation. Blending is not appropriate in the eyes of Medicare experts (who have never fired any lasers before).

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