Laser treatment for acne scars has gained much popularity as a cosmetic therapy over the years. Advancement in medical technology and the ongoing trends in the cosmetic industry have led more and more people towards opting for laser treatment.
The laser treatment for acne scars can prevent a raised scar from forming and reduce scar pain or itch. Result of this treatment depends on the skill of the doctor. Some patients are prescribed to undergo one or more sittings of the treatment.
Working of laser treatment for acne scars;
The treatment does not make the scars disappear artificially, instead it makes the scars less noticeable.When a person is injured, depending on the depth of the injury, the scar remains. Mostly these scars become lighter with time and dissolve in the skin. Sometimes these can become permanent and laser treatment is required to remove them. The treatment smooths the skin to improve its tone and texture.
The target area is treated with light therapy to reduce the bacterial levels. The laser targets blood vessels that help reduce the redness of the scar. They can also penetrate the skin surface to stimulate the production of new skin cells.
Cost of the laser treatment for acne scars;
As the laser treatment is cosmetic, insurance does not cover this treatment. However, the cost of the laser treatment is varied by many aspects:
- Size of the scar
- Number of scars
- Number of times one has to undergo treatment
According to University of Michigan’s Dermatology Department the average cost of laser treatment is from $200 to $3400. Whereas according to Marie Claire the cost of the treatment in London is $500.
Procedures for Laser treatment
There are several procedures for this treatment. The doctor decides which procedure is best for the individual.
Laser Resurfacing ;
In this treatment a wand like laser instrument is used to remove upper layers of skin. This process is also referred to as “laser peeling”. The skin layer underneath is also heated to promote collagen production. Mostly carbon dioxide laser is used for deeper scars and erbium laser is used for surface scars.
Fractional laser resurfacing;
In this process the laser penetrates deep into the skin to remove dark pigmented cells. This also stimulates collagen production and healthy skin cells which makes scars appear less noticeable.
Non-ablative laser resurfacing;
Infra-red heat lasers penetrate into the skin and stimulate collagen production.
The procedures vary according to the scars. The patient might feel discomfort during treatment. They are given mild anesthesia to numb the area so they do not feel any pain.
Preparing for Laser treatment for acne scars;
Before the treatment the doctor will review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. According to these the doctor will suggest adjustments and precautions that the patient needs to take before the treatment these include:
- Avoid smoking for 2 weeks.
- Avoid taking vitamin E, aspirin or any supplements that can slow the process.
- Avoid using skin care products containing retinol and glycolic acid before the treatment.
- Wear sun screen at all times and avoid sun contact.
- If one is susceptible to ulcers or any other breakouts on the skin, the doctor will give a course of antibiotics before the treatment.
Precautions to be taken after the treatment
There are certain precautions to be taken after the procedure:
- Clean the area after 24 hrs of the treatment and then everyday for 4-5 times a day
- Apply ointment like petroleum jelly frequently to soothe the skin.
- Healing usually takes 10-21 days depending on the type of treatment. Use only oil free makeup and moisturize the skin daily.
- Wear sun screen at all times.
- Apply cold pack to reduce swelling.
Risk and Side effects of laser treatment for acne scars
As the procedure uses light and heat to treat skin cells, some people might experience few side effects:
Mild side effects see improvement within a few days. Other side effects might be development of pus on the area.
Finding a provider
It is important to find a good dermatologist for the treatment. Always consult the doctor for the procedure and the type of laser treatment. There are few links which can be used to find a certified doctor for laser treatment:
- American academy of Dermatology
- Health Grades