Laser Treatment of Acne Scars
Acne scars are flattened pin-like pockets in the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says scars are your body's response to injury. They are a normal part of the healing process. Laser therapy is used to resurface facial skin imperfections including acne scars, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). The AAD says there are a number of lasers available to treat acne scars.
The CO2 and Erbium YAG lasers work best for diminishing acne scars, according to the UMMC. The CO2 is an ablative laser that essentially sandblasts away the damaged skin. The CO2 is more damaging than the Er:Yag laser and typically requires a longer recovery period. Dermdoc.com describes the Er:YAG as a "cold laser" because it doesn't burn the skin. This leads to a speedier recovery.The precision of the Er:YAG leaves the surrounding skin virtually untouched.
According to PlasticSurgeryGuide.com, laser scar removal is frequently performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia. As the laser travels along the scarred area it vaporizes or removes a layer of skin to unveil a healthier-looking layer. In some cases the laser is aimed at deeper layers of the skin. This technique treats acne scars from the inside out by encouraging new collagen growth. Laser treatment for acne scars may take only a few minutes, or over one hour, depending on the severity of the scarring.
When your laser scar removal treatment is complete, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to guard against possible infection. You may also be told to rub on an antibiotic cream and apply a nonstick bandage after gently cleansing the treated area with a non-abrasive soap.
The most widespread side effect of laser scar removal is hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (lack of skin color). These conditions may intensify when your skin is exposed to the sun.
The restoration process of your treated skin may begin a few days after the laser treatment. The pace of the regeneration process depends on your unique skin and the type of laser used. Few if any restrictions are placed on your regular day-to-day activities following laser therapy. Your doctor will probably recommend a follow-up exam six to eight weeks following the procedure.
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