Can Laser Skin Resurfacing Improve Acne Scars?

No Acne Scars

Acne… the word itself might bring back teenage memories of standing in front of your bathroom looking at all the annoying blemishes that dotted your face. Unfortunately, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, with up to 50 million Americans affected by it annually. The condition primarily impacts adolescents and young adults, with up to 85% of individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 experiencing at least minor acne. 

Sadly, the effects of acne can continue well into adulthood. Even if an individual’s acne were to dissipate as they exited puberty and became established as an adult, there is the chance that their condition could leave scarring across areas like the face, chest, and back. 

What Causes Acne Scarring? 

One in five individuals with acne will develop some form of scarring. The development of these scar marks is the result of the skin attempting to heal itself from inflammation caused by a pimple or blemish. When acne breakouts penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, significant tissue damage can take place. When the acne finally improves, the skin begins to form new collagen fibers. If the body produces too little or too much collagen a scar is likely to form. 

Typically, when the formation of new collagen doesn’t properly heal the acne blemishes, there are two types of outcomes. An indentation in the skin will occur if too little collagen is produced during the healing process, or a raised scar will form if the body overcompensates on collagen fibers. In either scenario, the body misjudges the correct amount of tissue repair needed to address the acne blemishes — leading to unwanted skin imperfections. 

Who is Likely to Have Acne Scarring? 

Predicting who will develop scars is not an exact science, nor is it really possible. Acne scarring is highly personal and on a case-by-case basis. However, there are identified risk factors that point to the possibility of an individual developing scars: 

  • Inflammatory acne 
  • Delays in treating or does not treat inflammatory acne 
  • Picking, squeezing, and/or popping acne 
  • Having a close family member that developed acne scars 

How Acne Scarring Can Impact Individual Health

Acne and subsequent scarring affect more than just physical appearance. As a society that unfortunately overvalues physical looks, it is easy for conditions like acne to significantly degrade the mental and emotional health of a person. When acne or acne scarring is not treated and it is a concern that bothers the affected individual, physical pain can be experienced due to the mental and emotional anguish that is a result of the condition. 

It is not uncommon for people with acne scarring to experience: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Poor self-image 
  • Decreased quality of life 

What is Laser Skin Resurfacing? 

Laser skin resurfacing is a rejuvenation treatment that targets specific layers of the skin in order to repair and improve minor facial imperfections such as acne scars and blemishes. Roughly 95% of all individuals who have acne will have some sort of long-term scarring at a variety of intensities. For this reason, laser skin resurfacing acne scars is a common practice across the U.S. 

Laser skin resurfacing isn’t commonly covered under most insurance plans as it is deemed a cosmetic procedure. However, most treatment is relatively affordable and accessible for the majority of individuals. While laser skin resurfacing doesn’t completely eliminate acne scars, it does significantly improve the appearance and health of the affected skin. 

How Laser Skin Resurfacing Works Against Acne Scars 

There are traditionally two laser resurfacing techniques used to address skin flaws: ablative and nonablative (light source) lasers. Both of these methods can be done with a fractional laser, which helps reduce side effects and decrease recovery time. Through this care method, heat is delivered into the skin through thousands of tiny, deep columns known as microthermal treatment zones which interact with skin tissues to stimulate growth and recovery actions.

Ablative laser treatment: This treatment method eliminates the epidermis layer of the skin and heats up the underlying dermis skin layer, ultimately helping spur new collagen production. Though it provides benefits to the skin, nonablative laser treatments tend to produce greater results. 

Nonablative laser treatment: This method also promotes new collagen growth through collagen synthesis. A less intensive treatment option compared to ablative treatment, light source care often uses a pulsed-dye laser, erbium (Er:YAG), or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy to address scarring. As the outermost layer of skin heals, it regrows to appear more smooth and tighter than before. Meeting with the aesthetician at The Epigenetics Healing Center would be a great way to learn more about nonablative laser treatments and the potential benefits.  

A critical part of laser skin resurfacing acne scars is that the heat delivered to the targeted area(s) brings increased blood flow and helps reduce any inflammation present. Great for acne as it uses heat to kill bacteria on and under the skin, preventing future acne breakouts. Nonablative laser treatments, like the laser Genesis, offered at The Epigenetics Healing Center, helps to bring down inflammation in cystic acne and proactively prevent scarring. This method shrinks pores, evens skin tone, and increases the speed of cell turnover.   

Laser skin resurfacing is a well-proven and safe treatment method to address a wide variety of skin blemishes. There is zero to minimal downtime associated with the procedure, and possible side effects include: 

  • Slight swelling 
  • Redness 
  • Tenderness at the treatment site 

Acne scarring improvement will not be noticed immediately, but generally takes at least 7 to 10 days before improvements are visible. Depending on your skincare goals and what your provider recommends, multiple treatments may be necessary to address the entire scarred area or improve deeper skin imperfections. 

Laser Skin Resurfacing Services 

Here at The Epigenetics Healing Center, we offer a host of top-quality aesthetic services and treatments to individuals looking to optimize their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Health is a holistic effort that impacts every aspect of our personal lives. Laser skin resurfacing acne scars is a straightforward and safe way to improve long-term damage.

Learn more about our laser skin resurfacing or schedule a consultation to discuss your skincare goals. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the cost, procedure, result timeline, or any other concerns. In the end, the cost of laser skin resurfacing or any aesthetic services shouldn’t be seen as a dollar amount, but rather as an investment in your personal wellbeing. 

Are you ready to restore your life?

Dr. G
Dr. G

Dr. Jay Goodbinder ND DC DABCI is a doctor in Kansas City, MO who serves patients in the surrounding Kansas City areas, cities across the United States, and in several countries around the world.