Smoothbeam Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, affects 80 to 85 percent of people in their teens and 20s, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Although most cases of pimples clear on their own, or with some assistance from treatments available over the counter, some people develop permanent scarring from their acne. Smoothbeam laser treatment can help make those scars less visible.
Three main factors cause acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. These include excess oil (known as sebum) production, unusual shedding of dead skin cells that leads to irritated hair follicles on the skin's surface, and a buildup of bacteria. When the body makes too much sebum and sheds too many skin cells, the combination can form a plug in the hair follicle's opening to the outside air. This blockage becomes a whitehead or a blackhead, resulting in acne. Scars result when acne becomes inflamed and infected.
Smoothbeam lasers are used to treat both acne scars and active acne. Known as non-ablative lasers (non-ablative means they do not remove the top layer of skin, as do some laser treatment devices), Smoothbeam lasers treat acne scars by stimulating collagen production below the skin's surface. When collagen production increases, the extra collagen serves to fill in and "plump up" the pit-like depressions left in the skin by acne.
Although few medical studies have been performed looking at the effects of the Smoothbeam laser on acne scars, those that have been done show the technique works to reduce scarring. For example, one study, published in the medical journal Dermatologic Surgery in 2004, compared the Smoothbeam type of laser with another laser type in 20 patients who each received three monthly treatments. The study concluded that both lasers were effective ways of treating pitted acne scars, but the Smoothbeam type of laser worked better than the other laser.
Patients who opt for any type of acne scar treatment likely won't see results immediately, and Smoothbeam laser treatment is no exception. Because the Smoothbeam laser works by stimulating the skin's own natural collagen-producing abilities, it takes time and several treatments to see a real effect, according to the AAD. Dermatologists generally recommend a series of at least three Smoothbeam treatments, often given monthly, to patients with moderate acne scarring.
Because insurers consider Smoothbeam acne scar treatment to be experimental and cosmetic in nature, they likely won't pay for treatment, so patients will need to plan to foot the entire bill themselves. Many dermatologists will offer financing or payment plans to patients who cannot pay the full amount up front. In addition, the AAD notes that many physicians recommend a combination of treatments that might include Smoothbeam laser therapy plus a topical medication for the best results in acne scar treatment.
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