How Do You Get Rid of Acne Scars With a Laser?

Fighting acne usually happens in two stages. First, you deal with the outbreaks. Then, you look for a way to get rid of the scars. For many people, laser treatments for acne scars provide the best means of finally winning the battle. The light technology behind these treatments works with your body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the condition of your skin. At Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN, we have an arsenal of different lasers with various wavelengths.

What Are Laser Treatments for Acne Scars?

Laser treatments use special beams of light that reach deep into the skin to help heal damaged areas. There are many different types of lasers. Most of them work by stimulating your skin to produce collagen, a protein that helps the skin repair itself. Some of the most important categories of lasers are:

Ablative Lasers

Ablative lasers remove damaged cells so that the healthy ones around them can go to work healing your skin. They target the scar tissue and break it up so that it can be replaced by healthy skin. This encourages cell turnover and facilitates the renewal process. At the same time, they stimulate collagen production. Examples of ablative lasers include the erbium YAG laser and carbon dioxide CO2 laser.

Non-Ablative Lasers

Non-ablative lasers stimulate collagen, but they don’t remove any cells in the process. These lasers used infrared light, and the collagen responds to the heat.

Fractional Lasers

Fractional lasers can be either ablative or non-ablative. What makes them different is that they break up the light into many tiny beams. When applied to the skin, this fractured light is gentler and less intense. In this way, they reduce down-time.

Combination Lasers

Some lasers have the ability to omit multiple wavelengths and can combine different approaches. For example, Halo lasers have both ablative and non-ablative features.

Uneven Healing

From your body’s perspective, acne scars start with good intentions. When your skin is damaged, it is susceptible to infections. Therefore, your immune system mobilizes itself quickly to close the open area as soon as possible. Aesthetics are not a priority. As a result, the new skin that appears is not always smooth, and it doesn’t always blend in with the rest of your complexion. Over 95% of people who have acne are left with some type of scar.

The Different Types of Acne Scars

As mentioned before, collagen is the protein that your body produces to create scar tissue. Most scars fall into one of two categories, depending on how much collagen was produced. Atrophic scars result from too little collagen, and hypertrophic scars occur when there is too much. Within these two groups, there are many subcategories. Your treatment will depend on what kind of scars you have. We often see patients who have many different kinds of scars as a result of their acne. For them, a combination of different lasers can be effective.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This condition is more of a discoloration than a true scar. If you have dark areas where blemishes occurred, you are probably seeing this issue. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the result of melanin: the pigment that is responsible for the color of your skin. After acne, your cells can sometimes over-produce it, creating dark spots that last long after the blemishes have healed.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is one of the milder conditions that can result from acne. It responds well to non-ablative lasers, and the treatment generally doesn’t involve any down time.

Ice Pick Scars

Ice pick scars are small, deep divots in your skin that appear to have been made by a sharp object. They occur when an infection beneath the surface erupts out, destroying tissue on its way to the surface. This type of scarring is usually severe, but it can be treated with more intense laser resurfacing.

Boxcar Scars

Boxcar scars are wider indentations than ice pick scars. They occur when an outbreak destroys collagen beneath the skin, leaving the upper layers without support. When they sink in, they leave deep vertical slopes that make the skin appear uneven. Laser resurfacing can help to restore the evenness of your skin’s texture.

Other Types of Scars

The body heals in many different ways, and it is possible that you have another type of scar tissue. For example, rolling scars occur when scar tissue forms bonds underneath the skin, pulling the upper layer of your skin down and making valleys along the surface. Keloids are another type of scar that occurs when your body produces tissue that expands passed the injured area.

For more severe scars like keloids, laser resurfacing is an excellent way to lessen their appearance. With multiple sessions, you can see gradual, cumulative improvement. Sometimes, other treatments can supplement the laser work. For example, you can use a steroid gel in between your appointments. For deep atrophic scars, dermal fillers are often a good solution.

The Benefits of Using Laser Treatments for Acne Scars

Your Skin Gets a Second Chance to Heal

Laser treatments reignite the natural process by which your body repairs itself. The first time your skin healed after an acne infection, it may have done a patchy job. The lasers give it a chance to remake itself again with a smoother texture that blends in with the rest of your complexion. With multiple sessions, you can repeat this process until you achieve your desired results.

They Beat Over-the-Counter Options

While many products might claim to treat your acne scars, they usually fall short. Skin that has been scarred is usually in need of professional treatment, especially if the scars are deep or raised. Laser treatments have a real, visible impact on your skin. They are usually a good alternative to spending a lot of money on creams that have a minimal effect.

They Can Heal the Deep Layers of Your Skin

One of the reasons many over-the-counter products don’t work is because they only go skin deep. In many cases, the ingredients can’t be absorbed to a depth where they would be effective. Laser treatments provide true healing by penetrating the layers of the skin to reach the source of the problem. When we treat you, we will choose a laser that uses the right type of beams and make adjustments to ensure that they go to the correct depth.

You See the Effects Quickly

Some therapies for acne scars take weeks or months to yield a result. Laser treatments make a noticeable difference days after they are performed.

They Can Treat Larger Scars Than Other Methods

Some treatments are only effective against very small scars. This is certainly true for many creams, most of which are just sunscreen. Laser treatments can be effective on more significant scarring, old scars, and broad areas of the face.

You Will Finally Win the Battle With Acne

After you have cleared your skin of breakouts, you want to enjoy a smooth appearance. No one wants to feel like their acne was replaced with unwanted scars. Laser treatments can help you finally enjoy clear skin.

They Give You Control Over Your Appearance

Everyone deserves to look and feel their best. If you don’t like your acne scars, our technologies can give you the means to restore the smooth look of your skin. For many people, this delivers a great boost in confidence.

Laser treatments can help you take control of your appearance in photos, everyday life, and special occasions. Some people have them done in preparation for a wedding, a graduation, or another important event. Others do it as a way to feel great about their skin no matter where they are going or what they are doing.

Your Skin Might Improve in Other Ways

Lasers work by stimulating collagen, which benefits your skin in more ways than one. Along with healing your acne scars, it can reduce sun spots, fine lines, and other types of scars. Laser therapy can also give your skin a glowing, radiant appearance overall.

Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Treatments for Acne Scars

How Soon Will I See the Results?

The results of your treatment start to show up around one week after your appointment. Over the next month, they will increase until they reach their optimal level.

How Many Sessions Do I Need?

The number of sessions you need depends on your individual case. Some people get their ideal results after the first session. Most are finished with the course of the treatment after two or three appointments. The sessions are typically spaced between four and six weeks apart.

What Areas of the Body Can the Lasers Treat?

Acne outbreaks don’t just occur in the face. Laser treatments for acne scars are available to improve the appearance of acne scars on other parts of your body as well. Some places that are commonly treated include:

  • Back
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Neck


Are These Treatments Safe?

Yes. Our lasers are FDA-approved pieces of medical equipment that are specifically designed for cosmetic use. The chances of an adverse reaction are low. Acne scar removal with lasers is a very common treatment. Around the world, many people have done it safely and are enjoying the results.

Can All Skin Types Benefit From These Treatments?

People with darker skin tones might need to stay away from certain kinds of lasers. However, there are many different options available today. Some lasers are able to treat people of all skin types. For example, fractional CO2 lasers are safe for everyone. When we assess your current condition, we will be able to identify a laser that will work in your case.

What Is the Recovery Period?

The downtime after each treatment varies according to which type of laser is being used. Some lasers require no downtime at all. Fractal lasers work with fractured beams of light, so they generally have faster recovery periods. In general, you can expect to be able to resume all normal activities after three to ten days.

Who Is a Good Candidate for These Treatments?

Almost anyone who wants to improve the appearance of their acne scars can benefit from laser resurfacing. There are certain situations in which you might want to put off treatment. For example, if you still have some breakouts, it might be better to schedule your scar removal after they clear up. People with mild and moderate scars get excellent results from laser treatments. For people with extremely severe scars, dermal injections, grafting, or surgery might be better options.

Do These Treatments Hurt?

Laser therapy for acne should not cause discomfort. Before your treatment, you will receive an anesthetic. This is usually administered topical, although depending on the laser, you might receive a local anesthetic injection. The treatment itself is short and straightforward, so sedation is almost never needed.

What If I Still Have Acne?

If you have a combination of active breakouts and scars, we can treat the acne with other types of lasers. This will take care of the initial problem so that we can focus on healing up the damaged skin afterward. Here are some of the options:

We Can Kill the Bacteria

We offer several treatments that can help you with active acne before you treat the scars. Acne is usually caused by excess oil production or bacteria. We use the BLU-U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator, which emits a wavelength that can kill bacteria. It is effective against a range of acne severity levels, from mild to severe.

We Can Control the Oil Glands

If oil is causing your acne, Photodynamic Therapy can help. It uses a wavelength that can reduce pore size and minimize the oil glands. While treating active acne, it can also help improve the appearance of some scars.

We Can Focus on Cleansing

Other treatments work by clearing out your pores and improving the overall health of your skin. Isolaz treatment uses a combination of suction and light to purify your pores and zap the bacteria. It cleanses your skin can improve the overall condition of your complexion.

Schedule a Consultation

To find out more about how laser treatments can help your acne scars, schedule a consultation with us. We are laser experts, and we can tell you everything you need to know about this type of treatment. We can show you our practice and the state-of-the-art equipment we use. As we show you around, we will answer all of your questions in person.

The consultation is a good time for us to do an initial assessment of your skin. That will help us determine which wavelengths will work best in your case. We look forward to meeting you and starting the journey towards scar-free skin together.

Heal Your Scars With Light Technology

While the word “scar” evokes thoughts of permanence and poorly healed injuries, you don’t need to live with your acne scars forever. We live in a very exciting time in the world of skincare. Today, we understand the healing potential of light. With powerfully effective medical-grade lasers, you can greatly reduce the appearance of your acne scars and enjoy the clear skin you thought was lost forever.

Contact Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN for more information on how we can help you get rid of your acne scars. Your skin is beautiful, and we can support its final healing phase in the fight against acne.