Laser Acne Scar Treatment
The most effective way to permanently get rid of your acne scars is with a laser acne scar removal treatment. Acne scars are a very common side effect of acne breakouts. The intense inflammation associated with acne sometimes leaves disfiguring acne scars, when this occurs the gold standard treatment is laser acne scar reduction. Acne scars can vary in shape and size. There are different kinds of acne scars: ice pick, atrophic, and hypertrophic. Ice pick scars are deep-pitted scars with steep edges. Atrophic scars are pitted but have smooth borders and are not as deep. Hypertrophic scars, more common on the back and chest, are thick, lumpy scars that sit above the surface of the skin. Most of these acne scars respond very well to laser acne scar reduction treatments.
The Best Lasers for Acne Scars
The laser we use at Schweiger Dermatology in New York for acne scar reduction is the Fractional CO2 Laser, it’s the most safe and effective treatment for the majority of patients with acne scars. The most popular fractional CO2 lasers in are the Fraxel Re:pair, Mixto laser, Active FX, Deep FX, and Matrix CO2. Factional means the laser resurfaces only a fraction of the skin at a time, leaving the surrounding area intact for faster healing. This vastly reduces the incidence of side effects and has given us the ability to treat all skin types. The Fractional CO2 laser is safe for all skin types and tones. Dr. Schweiger is an experienced laser surgeon and has safely treated acne scars in patients with all skin types including Asian, Indian, and African-American skin using this laser.
What to Expect During Your Fractional CO2 Laser Treatment
All of our laser acne scar treatments are done under local or topical anesthesia. You are awake and comfortable the entire time. Prior to the procedure, topical numbing cream is applied for 60-90 minutes. In addition, Valium is given prior to the procedure to facilitate relaxation. Using these measures there is usually minimal discomfort during the resurfacing procedure.
What To Expect After Your Laser Treatment
The Fractional CO2 Laser causes a wound to the skin so expect to have three to fourdays of downtime while the skin is healing. The majority of our acne scar patients require only one laser treatment to achieve their goals. The treated area continues to improve for the six months following the laser treatment, at which time we re-evaluate the need for any additional treatments.
Your Skin After Laser Acne Scar Treatment
Most of our acne scar patients start to notice improvements in their skin as early as one week after their laser acne scar treatment. Continued improvements occur for the next six months and peak at around month six. Most patients notice between 50-70% improvement of the condition treated.
Photodynamic Acne Therapy
One of the most effective acne treatments is photodynamic acne therapy. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive therapy that utilizes light treatments in combination with the application of a photosensitizing agent, typically a medicine called Levulan® (5-aminolevulinic acid), to reduce acne breakouts and clear the complexion. Photodynamic therapy is a great treatment option for those who do not want to begin taking antibiotics or Accutane. Photodynamic Acne Therapy was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration for the treatment of skin pre-cancers, but it has also been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for acne.
What to Expect During Photodynamic Therapy
The first step in your Photodynamic Therapy treatment involves removal of excess dead cells from the skin’s surface, using an acetone scrub. This will enhance the penetration of the photosensitizing agent. Next, the photosensitizing agent (Levulan) is applied to the skin and allowed to incubate for a period of 15 to 60 minutes. The agent is then removed and the skin is treated with light for about 15 minutes. Most commonly blue light, laser light or red light is used to activate the Levulan. Many patients report feeling moderate warmth during the procedure but most do not feel any pain. Patients must avoid sun exposure for two days after the treatment.
How Photodynamic Acne Therapy works
The way Photodynamic Acne Therapy works is that it shrinks the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands) that contribute to acne formation, which greatly reduces the amount of oil within the pores, thereby reducing comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). Second, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) kills the bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) that live on facial skin and cause acne breakouts. In addition, PDT improves the skin’s overall texture, and may speed the resolution of acne-induced discoloration (red or dark spots that remain after the pimples have resolved).
What Results Can I Expect from Photodynamic Therapy?
The majority of patients report significant improvements after Photodynamic Acne Therapy, ranging from a 50% to 75% reduction in acne lesions after a few treatments. For some patients the results can be permanent, others require touch-up treatments a few times a year. Some patients do not respond well to this treatment so other modalities are needed. While results are not guaranteed, the majority of patients are very satisfied with treatment.
Why to Choose Photodynamic Acne Therapy
Choosing Photodynamic Acne Therapy for your skin is a proactive and smart way to fight acne breakouts. Photodynamic Therapy is an exciting treatment for acne that has been well studied and benefits the majority of patients who undergo treatment. It is a great addition to any acne regimen and may be particularly helpful to those who have unsuccessfully tried several other acne therapies and are looking for something new. It is also a good treatment for those who are looking for a “jump start” to their existing acne treatment regimen.
F.A.S.T. Laser Treatment
At Schweiger Dermatology, we are pleased to offer our signature F.A.S.T. Laser Treatment for acne scars, pioneered by Dr. Eric Schweiger, board certified dermatologist and noted laser surgeon. The F.A.S.T. laser procedure uses the fractional CO2 laser in a brand new, cutting-edge way to remove acne scars.
Fractional CO2 Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
Traditionally, Fractional CO2 Laser resurfacing for acne scars is performed over the surface of the entire face. Most patients with pitted acne scars do very well after treatment with the Fractional CO2 Laser. However, some patients have very localized acne scars and do not require treatment of the entire face. Dr. Schweiger has developed a technique that is designed for patients with only localized focal acne scars. These scars can be treated focally, leaving the unscarred areas of the face untreated. The technique, coined the F.A.S.T. technique, uses Fractional CO2 Laser technology to target only focal areas of acne scarring; F.A.S.T. stands for Focal Acne Scar Treatment.
How the F.A.S.T. Laser Treatment works
Focal acne scars are targeted with very high energy levels combined with low treatment density. The very high energy level is higher than what can be used to treat the entire face, but is safe for the treatment of only focal scars. The advantage of the F.A.S.T. treatment for the appropriate patient is that there is minimal downtime, only 4 days, and the initial results can be appreciated after only one week. Most patients have seen 50-70% improvement of their pitted acne scars after only one F.A.S.T. treatment.
What to Expect During Your F.A.S.T. Laser Treatment Session
When you arrive for your F.A.S.T. laser treatment, your skin will be cleansed and then a topical anesthetic will be applied to the skin. After about 60-90 minutes, the topical anesthetic will have taken full effect and you will be ready for your laser acne scar treatment. The treatment itself will take about 25 minutes. After F.A.S.T. treatment, patients will have red box-like grid marks for about one-two weeks over the treated area. Dr Schweiger can perform a low dose treatment with the non-ablative Fraxel laser (erbium fractionated laser) to reduce any redness after the F.A.S.T. procedure.
Patient Satisfaction After F.A.S.T. Laser Treatment
We have studied a series of patients after their F.A.S.T. Laser Treatment. Our results during their week one follow up visit found that their treated acne scars were greatly reduced in comparison to patients with acne scars treated with lower levels of laser energy over the entire face. Overall patient satisfaction was very high in patients treated with the F.A.S.T. acne scar treatment method. All patients had improvement of their acne scarring combined with minimal healing time.