Laser treatment -- sure, it sounds high-tech. One imagines a huge, complex device lowering from the ceiling and zapping acne scars, leaving nothing but miraculously clear skin behind. Or perhaps you envision a hand-held, Flash Gordon-like device in your dermatologist's hand?
Actually, the second image is closest to the truth. Dermatologists have a wide variety of lasers available for skin resurfacing, to treat discolorations, to burn away imperfections and even to improve the appearance of acne scars.
The particular laser treatment most frequently used for acne scars is laser resurfacing. Laser resurfacing works by burning away a smooth, even layer of the skin. This reduces the apparent depth of an acne scar. Multiple laser treatments are usually necessary to fully treat acne scars.
Laser resurfacing will not work on deep, pinprick-like acne scars.
Laser resurfacing, like other dermabrasion techniques, works best on shallow acne scars. Wide, shallow pits and elevated scars respond best to laser treatment. Multiple treatments might work on deep scars -- eventually -- but it's probably a better idea to talk to your dermatologist about acne treatments that are better for severe, deep acne scars.
Powerful lasers can actually be used to remove tissue in the case of swollen scars. A less drastic method is to "contour" the scar so that it melds with the face better. A series of treatments is generally preferred over a single, radical treatment. The more drastic the single treatment, the longer the recovery time associated with it. It is generally wiser to opt for multiple treatments than a single, more powerful laser treatment.
If you think laser treatment might be right for you, talk to your dermatologist. She will be able to offer you the best advice on the proper treatment of your acne scars.
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