Laser treatment for acne scars aims to minimize the appearance of scars from old acne outbreaks. Ninety-five percent of people who have acne have some residual scarring.
Laser treatment for acne scars focuses light on the top layers of your skin to break up scar tissue. At the same time, the treatment encourages new, healthy skin cells to grow and replace the scar tissue.
While this treatment doesn’t completely remove acne scars, it can reduce their appearance and also minimize pain caused by them.
If you have active acne, a darker skin tone, or very wrinkled skin, you might not be a good candidate for this treatment. Only a dermatologist can tell you if laser treatment for acne scars is a good course of action for you.
Laser treatment for acne scars isn’t typically covered by insurance.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average out-of-pocket cost for laser skin resurfacing is around $2,000 for ablative and $1,100 for non-ablative laser treatments. The cost of your treatment will depend on several factors, including:
You might want to consult with a few different providers before you decide on one to perform your laser treatment. Some doctors will charge a consultation fee to take a look at your skin and recommend a treatment plan.
How it works
Laser treatment for acne scarring works in two ways.
First, heat from the laser works to remove the top layer of your skin where a scar has formed. As this top layer of your scar peels off, your skin appears smoother, and the appearance of the scar is less noticeable.
As the scar tissue breaks apart, heat and light from the laser also encourage new, healthy skin cells to grow. Blood flow is drawn to the area by the heat of the laser, and inflammation is reduced as blood vessels in the scar are targeted.
All of this combines to make scars look less raised and red, giving them a smaller appearance. It also promotes the healing of your skin.
Preparing for treatment
You may need to make some lifestyle changes to be eligible for laser treatment for acne scars. Preparation for this treatment often includes:
On a case-by-case basis, you may need to temporarily stop your acne treatment medications ahead of laser treatment. You may be prescribed a preventive antibiotic medication if you’re prone to cold sores.
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