Fraxel Laser for Acne Scars on Asian Skin?

Hi, I have acne scar in my cheek and few bump (pimple). I want to get rid of that scar. Is Fraxel laser good for me? I'm Asian, 21 yrs old and have white skin. I'm afraid after I get Fraxel, my skin will be red and burned. Thanks

Doctor Answers 9

Fraxel laser for acne scars on Asian skin

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Fraxel restore laser is an excellent treatment for acne scars in Asian skin.  Usually 5 to 6 treatments are necessary, depending on the scarring.  The laser settings are lower than those used in lighter complexions and the treatments are further apart to prevent postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

You should start using a fading cream and tretinoin cream before your treatments to prevent PIH and have 2 treatments 6 weeks apart.  If you are developing any PIH, delay your next treatment by a few months, and then resume treatment.  You must avoid sun exposure and any tanning.

Ensure your treatments are done by an experienced board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Toronto Dermatologist

Fraxel for acne scars on Asian Skin

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Fraxel Dual works on acne scars and on all skin types.  Acne scarring requires increased intensity in the treatment to stimulate collagen that will help smooth out the depressions.  Therefore, you will be red and swollen for 3-4 days, then you will have a bronze appearance and some light flaking of the skin.  Although your acne scarring will probably not be completely gone, it should be improved with several treatments. 

Angela Sturm, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon

Fraxel for Acne Scars in Asian Skin

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Fraxel is my treatment of choice for mild to moderate acne scars.  First, I always recommend to have your acne under relatively good control prior to Fraxel therapy.  Fraxel Re:store works through a mild resurfacing effect, combined with deep collagen stimulation.  Its really this deeper collagen stimulation that makes it effective for remodeling acne scars and sets this treatment apart from other devices.  Fraxel will not take away your scars completely, and it does not do much for deeper "ice pick" scars, but it can smooth out mild to moderate depressions.  In the right candidate, it can improve acne scarring by 50-75% after 4-5 treatments.

Since Fraxel Re:store is a non-ablative laser, there is significantly less risk of pigmentation issues compared to ablative CO2 treatments.  Your skin will be red and swollen after the treatment, though with proper settings, it should not be "burned."  Recovery time is short, with the redness and swelling being the worst for the first 24 hours.   Dandruff like peeling can be seen for up to a week after treatment.

Fraxel Great for acne scars

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A series of Fraxel Restore laser procedures typically works well for acne scarring in most skin types. I would make that your acne is well controlled if not completely gone as acne can flare after Fraxel treatments. Some patients may be require pre and post-treatment with a hydroquinone cream to prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

Fraxel laser for acne scars in Asian skin

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Fraxel laser is a very successful treatment for acne scars. Asian skin can be prone to temporary pigmentation after Fraxel laser. The chance of that occuring depends on how dark your natural skin is. The lighter your skin and the better you protect yourself from the sun in the weeks after treatment, the less likely to develop temporary pigmentation after Fraxel. Also,the laser settings can be adjusted to decrease the risk of pigmentation darker skin. In addition, most laser physicians will prescribe a fading cream to use before and after the procedure to further minimize the risk of pigmentation. Redness after Fraxel typically resolves in 3-5 days so should not be a concern. I think this procedure is safe for you in experienced hands.

Susan Goodlerner, MD
Torrance Dermatologist

Fraxel for Acne Scars

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PIH (Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) is possible after Fraxel and numerous other laser treatments for your skin type. With that said, we offer Erbium resurfacing for acne scars and rarely have the condition develop. It occurs in less than 5% of Asian and Hispanic patients in our practice. We would suggest looking into the following laser options. While PIH can and does occur in some patients, it is most often transient. We would focus on finding the most appropriate laser technology for the type of scars you have and then weight the risks and benefits from there.

  • Erbium Laser Resurfacing
  • Fractional Laser Resurfacing (including fractional CO2).
  • Full CO2 resurfacing (depends on how severe your case is).

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fraxel for Asian skin and acne scars

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Fraxel is a very effective and safe way to treat acne scars in Asian skin. There is a good number of published articles about the safety of this treatment in Asian skin. However, I would make sure that your acne is under "good control" before doing the treatments. 

Tomi L. Wall, MD
Oakland Dermatologic Surgeon

Fraxel for acne scars in Asian skin

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Fraxel has worked very well to reduce acne scarring in some individuals.

Fraxel has worked very well to reduce melasma, or facial pigmentation, in some Asians

There is no guarantee that you won't devlop a hyperpigmentation. A test spot can be performed behind your ear first and if no reaction develops, another test can be done, this time on the frontal face. If you develop post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from the test, then you shouldn't have the treatment, especially if this pigmentation doesn't clear wtih appropriate counter measures. If you pass the test, and no pigmentation occurs, it unfortunately doesn't mean that you won't develop the hyperpigmentation.

Proceed cautiously.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fraxel Laser for Acne Scars in Asian Skin

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Hi Jilodo,

Asian skin is prone to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) which causes the treated skin to darker more than untreated areas. Patients need to weigh the benefits of improving their scars verus the risk of living with darker skin for an unpredictable amount of time. We have treated many Asian patients, the PIH always fades over time.

Most Asian patients are pretreated with topical skin care to help minimize possible PIH, and then treated after their laser treatment with skin lightening products. Fraxel restore is much less likely to cause PIH than Fraxel repair.

Your skin should not be burned.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.