Acne scars are an unpleasant reminder of pimples, but they're very common. It's been reported that 95% of people who've suffered from acne vulgaris have acne scars. Acne scars on your face can become more noticeable as your skin ages or experiences sun damage, and these noticeable scars can make you feel depressed, anxious or embarrassed. Fortunately, these scars can be treated with laser skin resurfacing. Here are four things you need know about treating your acne scars with laser skin resurfacing.
How is this procedure performed?
Laser skin resurfacing takes between thirty minutes and two hours, depending on how many scars are being treated. Your doctor will treat your scars with pulses of laser light. This light will destroy your epidermis—the outermost layer of your skin—and cause a wound. It will also heat up your dermis—the layer of skin beneath your epidermis—which shrinks the collagen fibers. While that may sound unpleasant, your face will be numbed before the procedure starts, so don't worry about feeling any pain during the procedure.
How does this help people with acne scars?
Since your skin is damaged by this treatment, it will need to heal itself. A new epidermal layer will form on your skin, and since this new skin has never had pimples, it will be smoother than your old epidermal layer. Plus, this new skin will be tighter because of the shrunken collagen fibers in the dermal layer.
What can you expect during recovery?
Laser skin resurfacing creates wounds on your skin, so you'll have crusts or scabs on your face afterwards. It's important not to pick at these scabs; doing so can create scars. It can take up to two weeks for new skin to completely cover the treated areas, according to Mayo Clinic.
The appearance of your skin may not be ideal in the months after your treatment. The newly-grown skin may be noticeably red for several months afterwards, and you may find that your skin is more sensitive to sunlight than it used to be. Wearing sunscreen can help protect your new skin from sunburns or sun damage.
How effective is this procedure?
Laser skin resurfacing can be an effective treatment for acne scars. One study of sixty patients assessed people with moderate to severe acne scars six months after their last laser skin resurfacing treatment. Of these patients, 43% experienced an excellent reduction in the appearance of their scars, while 25% experienced a good reduction and 31.7% experienced a poor reduction. People with superficial scars experienced better results, while people with deeply pitted scars experienced poorer results.
If your acne scars are deeply pitted, you may not get the results you want from laser skin resurfacing. Your dermatologist can recommend more appropriate treatments, such as dermal fillers that can even out the pits.
If you're bothered by the acne scars on your face, ask your dermatologist (such as one from East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC) if laser skin resurfacing is an appropriate treatment for you.