I Have Acne Scars on my Face. What is the Best Way to Remove Them? Does Fraxel Work?

I heard that fraxel is effective to acne scars. Here is my photo. Will fraxel work to me?

Doctor Answers 10

Profractional laser resurfacing for acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Profractional laser resurfacing is an effective way to treat acne scarring.  Usually 3-4 sessions are required about a month apart.

Toronto Dermatologist

Lasers for acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Fraxel laser treatments will work for treating acne scars to make them less visible. However, I prefer using Active/Deep FX laser resurfacing treatments for acne scars. The Active/Deep FX works to improve your skin texture by targeting deep scars.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Acne scarring and Fraxel

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

For me, I believe Fraxel doesn't work well enough and has an excessive amount of downtime. I've tried it several times and investigated the device, but I have never seen a good enough result to recommend it or purchase it.

In my office we use the Matrix RF which helps with the redness and scarring, with significantly less downtime and pain than Fraxel. I have treated patients with your type of scarring and usually do 4-6 treatments (in one month increments) and then also fill the deeper marks with dermal filler (Juvederm). It's a combination treatment that works well, but again, is not perfect.

You need to be realistic with your possible improvements and know that multiple sessions of any procedure you do will be necessary.

Best way to treat acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Acne scars are a difficult problem.  Expect improvement, but not complete eradication.

For moderate to severe acne scars:

I recommend several sessions (usually, 3-6 or more at 2-4 week intervals) of needle elevation with sterile saline to stimulate new collagen growth.  Some scars will respond better than others.

Some ice pick scars that do not respond are excised and sutured or filled with a punch graft.

After achieving as much improvement as is possible with these above techniques, we decide together if the improvement is satisfactory.  It is best to wait a few months after these treatments.  

If more improvement is desired, laser resurfacing is recommended.  We usually perform full face or regional laser resurfacing with our Sciton Erbium laser followed immediately by fractional resurfacing with our Profractional handpiece, using the same device.  The more treatments one does, the better the outcome.  However, improvement tends to be less dramatic with each successive treatment.   We usually advise 1-5 or more treatments, as desired - waiting 2-3 months between treatments.

I do not recommend Fraxel - I do not use it, but I have investigated the device and do not feel that it is powerful enough to give you satisfactory improvement and the treatment sessions are similarly priced.

For mild scars, we often skip needling and go straight to laser resurfacing - a consult is needed to decide.

Robert Strimling, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Fractional erbium laser resurfacing for acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Fractional laser resurfacing is an excellent modality for atrophic acne scars, like the type of scars seen in your photograph.  Fractional lasers work by vaporizing tiny columns of skin.  The skin around those vaporized columns tightens and new collagen is deposited in these areas to repair the "wounds" caused by the laser.  That decreases the surface area of the scars. 

Usually several treatments are required to achieve significant results.  These are spaced about 6-8 weeks apart.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Fraxel for acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes, Fraxel would help your acne scars. I use the less aggressive Fraxel but it means you can do it on Friday and back to your life on Monday. This Fraxel is less invasive so it will take several treatments but the healing process is very quick. You will look like you have a little sunburn for 3 days. Also, we can just do the affected areas and not full face with this laser. This Laser is very safe and patients tolerate it very well and there is very little down time.Even teen age patients do well with this treatment. Thank you for your photo. It was very helpful.

Esta Kronberg, MD
Houston Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Fractional CO2 for acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

We have found that the fractional CO2 laser does well on acne scars. For scarring like yours you will probably need more than one treatment but the down time is much less than the old CO2 laser. My patients usually do theirs on Friday and plan to stay in for the weekend. By monday they are red but somewhat presentable.

Jo Herzog, MD
Birmingham Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

A Fractional Laser is a Good Option

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the photo!  In your case, I think one of the fractional lasers is a good option.  The fractional CO2 laser, such as Total Fx works very well.  Since your skin is not dark, you could tolerate a more aggressive setting, so the results will be better.  For acne scarring, such as what you have, I would expect you need 2 treatments, about 4-6 months apart.  Our patients are very pleased with this regimen.  You do have some downtime with this laser, so you must prepare your schedule for it.

Lisa Benest, MD
Burbank Dermatologist

Acne Facial Scars does Fraxel work

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It depends on what version of Fraxel you are using. The co2 laser version is the best way to improve your scars. I like co2 resurfacing and some dermabrasion for you scars that I see. I would consider working on the deeper layers like subcision and much better yet is the multilayered approach to acne scar treament.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Re: Fraxel laser for Acne Scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

While there are different types of Fraxel lasers, patients of ethnic descent can benefit from Fraxel Dual for acne scars.

Acne scars are the result of inflammation, which is a type of trauma to your skin. Scar tissue is produced as the skin's attempt to heal itself. This is made of the same collagen fibers as the rest of your skin, but they are arranged differently.

Fraxel Dual's 1550/1927nm wavelengths heat the skin below the surface to produce new collagen fibers that fade out the acne scar tissue over the course of several treatments.


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 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.