Acne Scar Removal – Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing: Information
What causes acne scars?
When the body has a vigorous response, almost inappropriately strong, to acne bacteria, this can lead to inflammation. Intense inflammation over time cause scarring. Some people are more prone to scarring than others. Some patients with intense inflammation can end up with significant disfiguring scars.
The types of acne scars
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.
What is the best treatment for acne scar removal?
The most safe and effective treatment for the majority of patients with acne scars is the Fractional CO2 Laser (the most popular laser in this class are the Fraxel Re:pair, Mixto laser, Active FX, Deep FX, Matrix CO2) This laser is a new, so called “fractional” laser. This means that the laser works by resurfacing 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.
How does the Fractional CO2 laser work?
The CO2 fractional laser pokes tiny microscopic holes in the skin down past the epidermis and into the dermis. These holes cause new collagen to be generated which fills in the acne scars and creates rejuvenated smoother skin.
What kind of results can I expect from this laser treatment?
Most patients start to notice improvements in their skin as early as 1 week after the treatment. Continued improvements occur for the next 6 months and peak at around month 6. Most patients notice between 50-70% improvement of the condition treated. However, results vary by individual.
How many treatments will it take?
The vast majority of patients require only 1 treatment to achieve the desired results. Since the treated area continues to improve for the 6 months following the laser treatment, we re-evaluate the need for any additional treatments at that time. All treatments are performed in Midtown Manhattan.
Is Fractional CO2 laser treatments safe to treat acne scars in darker skin types?
Dr. Schweiger safely treats acne scars in patients with all skin types including Asian, Indian, and African-American skin. An experienced laser surgeon is needed to treat darker skin types safely.
What is the downtime for this laser treatment?
The fractional CO2 laser causes a wound in the skin which means you will have three to four days of downtime when the skin is healing. During that time you have to apply an ointment frequently to your face keep the skin greasy, which makes healing faster.
The main risks are temporary or long-lasting light or dark spots from treatment. Very rarely scarring can still result. For these reasons it is important to be treated by an experienced laser surgeon.
The whole procedure is 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.
How does this laser compare to the Fraxel Laser?
A single Fractional CO2 laser treatment is similar to receiving 4 treatments with the Fraxel Re:Store laser.
Who performs the procedure?
All Fractional CO2 resurfacing procedures are performed by NYC dermatologist, Dr. Eric Schweiger, a board certified dermatologist and experienced laser surgeon.
How much do the treatments cost?
The cost for the entire procedure varies depending on several conditions, so there is no set price