Acne is a very common condition characterized by pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, pustules and larger nodules and cysts. Acne doesn’t only affect teenagers but can also affect adults. For many patients, once these lesions go away, they leave behind discolorations and indentations on the skin and prevent patients from achieving the clear skin they desire. Although not harmful, most people are bothered by the unattractive appearance of these scars and seek to remove or significantly reduce their appearance.
Acne scarring is most often caused by larger acne lesions, such as cysts or nodules, which can swell and rupture, causing a break in the wall of the individual pore. Infected material from the inflamed lesion can spill out through this break and can affect the nearby healthy tissue, leading to the appearance of a scar. The treatment of these scars was previously challenging. However, there have been amazing technological advances pioneered by dermatologists at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital for reducing acne scars. Most patients with acne scars can appreciate significant improvement when treated by someone with the laser expertise of Dr. Omar Ibrahimi. As each case of acne scarring is different, we recommend seeking a consultation before determining if you would be a beneficial candidate. Some patients have depressed acne scars such as ice pick or boxcar scars, others have an extremely red appearance to their scars and some patients developed raised or keloidal type of scarring.
There are several different approaches to treating acne scars, including the use of the Fraxel (also known as Fraxel Dual or Fraxel Repair) or Fractionated laser, an ablative fractional laser such as the eCO2 laser, the V-beam perfecta laser, or with injectable fillers. Our office is also one of the few in the country that has the Infini, a fractionated radiofrequency device, that is safe for treatment in ethnic patients with skin of color. Our office is unique in that it is one of the few that possesses the entire spectrum of lasers/devices used to help reduce acne scars.
If you live in the greater Stamford area or Fairfield County, Connecticut, feel free to schedule a consultation with us to discuss your acne scars.
Image provided courtesy of Lutronic Inc. Individual results are variable.
Commonly asked questions about acne scar reduction
Q: Will laser really help the appearance of my acne scars?
A: Yes, we are just beginning to appreciate the benefits of lasers in improving the appearance of acne scars. Acne scars come in many different flavors such as ice-pick scars, boxcar scars and keloid scars. Each entails a slightly different approach and a different setting with different lasers. It isn’t just about picking the right laser to be treated with but also seeing someone with the expertise and know how to approach each individuals’ issues.
We have several different types of lasers, including the Fraxel Dual, the Lutronic eCO2, the Lutronic MOSAIC and the Candela Vbeam Perfecta laser. We also are one of the few offices that has a fractionated radiofrequency device, the Infini, which allows us to treat Hispanic, African American and Asian/South Asian patients in a safe yet effective manner. We choose the best laser or device to address your acne scars as we have all the options available. When you see an office with just one of two lasers, they will use a one-size-fits-all approach which may not give you the most improvement.
Q: Does laser for acne scar reduction hurt?
A: The laser procedure involves a small amount of discomfort. If the area is small it can usually be numbed up with a shot of numbing medicine, and topical numbing creams can also be used to reduce the amount of discomfort. These usually make the treatment tolerable for most patients.
Q: How many treatments does it take?
A: The speed at which your acne scars improves depends on a few things:
- The type of acne scar you have.
- The level of aggressiveness chosen to treat the acne scars with.
- The type of laser/device used. Many places rent lasers which move around from location to location and lessen the efficacy of the device. We have several state of the art acne scar reduction lasers and devices which are not rented or shared by anyone else.
- The skill of the laser surgeon. The knowledge and training level of the laser surgeon enables the patient to receive the safest, yet aggressive treatment approach. Do you want someone who spent years learning how to use lasers to treat you, or do you want someone who was trained at a weekend course or by a laser company?
Q: What does it cost to be treated?
A: It is not possible to give a simple answer to this question. It depends on the size, intensity and type of acne scars and this can only be evaluated by a consultation. Be wary of those who offer you a bargain or a lower price. If you need more treatments because the person who is treating you does not understand laser physics, the “cheaper” treatment may actually work out to me more expensive than seeing a laser expert who can optimize the laser settings for you and improve the appearance of your acne scars faster.
Q: What types of lasers will my acne scars be treated with?
A: The answer to this question ultimately depends on the appearance of the acne scar. We have a pulsed dye laser (Vbeam perfecta) which can help improve the appearance of redness and induce collagen and scar remodeling. We also have both ablative and nonablative fractionated lasers (also called Fraxel lasers) that help remodel scars very effectively.
Our office is also unique in that we have an Infini device, which uses radio frequency energy and thus can be used safely even in the darkest skin types. No other office in the state has the state-of-the-art technology and a physician with the world-class knowledge needed to treat your acne scars.
Q: I read about the Picosure laser being used to treat acne scars?
A: The jury remains out on this question. To date there has only been a single small study done in one office that suggested that the Picosure laser could be used to treat acne scars. The gold standard to treat acne scars remains the Fraxel laser.