In this article we will cover 3 types of acne scar treatments. These are Radio-Frequency Treatment, Laser Resurfacing and Chemical Peeling.
Each of these methods have pros and cons so let’s take a closer look.
Laser Resurfacing eliminates acne scars by vaporizing or burning the top layers of skin cells. The skin is then able to grow back, minus the scars. This procedure is also used to get rid of wrinkles.
Because this is a new treatment, not enough studies have been done to recommend this as a good way to get rid of acne scars. It is more likely to work for those with shallow scars. However, for those with severe scarring, it may be a good idea to start with laser resurfacing and then use dermabrasion. This may work better then using either treatment alone.
Different types of lasers
There are two types of lasers that can be used to treat acne scars, the CO2 and the N-Lite.
The CO2 laser works by vaporizing damaged skin cells and causing the collagen in the skin to become thicker. This type of laser gives the most dramatic improvement for acne scars. Following a CO2 laser treatment, it will generally take 5-14 days for the skin to heal. Also, during the procedure, you will experience significant discomfort and a local anesthetic is required. Often, patients that have not seen improvement after dermabrasion will see significant improvement with laser resurfacing.
Price: $2,000-4,000 (depending on how much of the face is treated)
The N-Lite laser does not injure the skin, it works by stimulating collagen production only. Therefore, there is no recovery time and no anesthetic is required during the procedure. However, the improvement in acne scars will be far less dramatic then with a CO2 laser treatment.
Price: $900-1500 (depending on how much of the face is treated)
Chemical Peeling can be used for acne treatment as well as for scar removal. It involves using a chemical, usually TCA or phenol, to remove layers of the skin.
Chemical peeling is far less effective for scar removal then dermabrasion. It will probably take several peels to equal the depth achieved with one dermabrasion treatment. So, it is probably only useful if you have very shallow scars.
Note that some people may be sensitive to phenol, which can cause fatal heart irregularities. It may also cause kidney damage if large doses enter the blood stream. It is therefore advisable to stay away from phenol peels, as testing for sensitivity is impossible.
Mild Peel: $150-300 (repeated visits often required)
Moderate Peel: $1,000-2,000 (repeated visits often required)
Strong Peel: $2,500-6,500 (done once)
Radio-frequency treatment is also known as the “non-surgical face-lift” because it uses radio-frequency energy to strengthen and organize collagen fibers in the skin. It is especially useful for wrinkles but may also be useful in the treatment of acne scars.
This is a new treatment for acne scars and therefore not enough studies have been done on its effectiveness. Also, while some people may find this treatment effective for scar removal, others may not see much improvement. This is a huge problem given the great cost of such a procedure.
An advantage of radio-frequency treatments is that there is a minimal recovery time, with only mild swelling lasting from 3-7 days. Patients will begin to see improvement from 1-3 months following treatment. Some claim that the benefits will last as long as 5-10 years after treatment.
Price: $1,000-5,000 (depending on how much of the face is treated)