What's the Best One Treatment Option for Acne Scars?

Is one treatment of Deep FX or Fraxel Repair enough for acne scarring? I'm 21 and have about 6 weeks off, and am looking for the best treatment option.

Doctor Answers 11

I use the Fraxel Repair Laser for this type of pitted acne scarring with good success

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

I would recommend a fairly aggressive treatment with the Fraxel Repair Laser.  I have had good success using this laser to treat pitted scars similar to the scars in your photos.  I would recommend that this be done by a skilled Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon.

Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Consider how much recovery you can tolerate versus the number of treatments that will be needed

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

There are a range of methods and tools that can be very effective for treating acne scars. The single most important variable to consider in the skill and experience of the physician treating you. Make sure to select a facial plastic surgeon, plastic surgeon, or dermatologist experienced in the treatment of acne scars. Only somebody with appropriate experience and training will be able to guide you to the best treatment strategy.

If you and your doctor select a laser to treat the acne scars there are a number of good options including Deep FX, Fraxel Repair, or the Palomar Starlux 1540. Which laser you select depends to a large degree on how many treatments you can tolerate (anywhere from 1 to 5) versus how much recovery time your willing to put up with. The fewer the number of treatments the longer the recovery time after those treatments.

Laser's are not the only way to go. In the hands of an experienced clinician, dermabrasion can be the best option, particularly if the scars are severe. The key point, as stressed by the other physicians - pick an experienced provider.

Hope that helps.

Paul L. Leong, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Treatments for Acne scars

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

Fortunately, we have many more good treatment options for acne scars today than even a couple years ago. These include lasers, subscision (a minor surgical procedure to release bound down scars), fillers, excisions, along with many other in-office therapies.

Which treatment will work best for you depends on many factors: the number and types of scars, the location of the scars on the face, discoloration of the skin, texture of the scar, etc. Often, people have several different types of scars, requiring a combination of techniques to ensure the best results.

The effectiveness of these treatments varies tremendously as well. Depending on the scar type and severity, the visibility of acne scars can be reduced anywhere from 10% to 99% using a combination of treatments. It is best to see your board certified physician and be properly evaluated prior to settling on any particular therapy. It is good to ask about their experience treating scars such as yours. Also, be sure to point out which scars bother you the most. Sometimes those turn out to be the easy fixes! What really matters is the acne scars that concern you. Those should be addressed first.

Ashish Bhatia, MD, FAAD
Naperville Dermatologic Surgeon

You might also like...

Total FX may be the best choice

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

Combining DeepFX with ActiveFX (TotalFX) is what I feel is the best option for treating acne scarring. It treats the deeper acne scars (DeepFX) along with resurfacing the skin to improve the texture (ActiveFX).

However, you may need more than one treatment depending on the extensiveness of your scarring. Acne scarring is one of the hardest conditions to correct.

As my colleagues mentioned above, it is important to find a provider who is well skilled and educated in the treatment of acne scarring. The equipment is only as good as the provider who uses it.

I hope that helps.
Dr. R

Steven E. Rasmussen, MD, FAAD
Austin Dermatologist

Deep FX Versus Fraxel re:pair for Acne Scarring

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

Hi Nigel,

I have had great success in treating patients with Fraxel re:pair for acne scarring. I have seen wonderful results after one treatment, but patients need to know that it may take 2 to 3 treatments for optimal results.

Deep Fx also gives excellent results as do some of the other fractionated CO2 lasers. I fully agree with Dr. Soto in that you should choose your treating physician most carefully. Fractionated CO2 lasers are not a commodity, but the knowledge, experience, skill, and care of the physician will make the most difference in your therapy.

Good luck and enjoy your time off.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Acne Treatment Options

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

Chemical peels might be your best option.   Salicylic and TCA Peels  exfoliate the top layer of skin and can quicken cell turnover and prevent pores from becoming clogged. Glycolic acid  and lactic acids can be  used to treat active acne and  large pores as well.   Consider Photodynamic Therapy as well which combines a photo-sensitizing serum followed by laser therapy.  It is recommended to come in for a consultation so that the best treatment regimen can be determined.

Best Treatment Option for Acne Scars

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

The Deep FX and Fraxel Repair are both examples of Fractional CO2 resurfacing lasers.  This class of laser is the most effective option for the treatment of atrophic (pitted) acne scars, yielding up to 75% improvement of acne scars after a single treatment.  For the type of acne scarring shown in your photo, I would recommend a technique called the F.A.S.T. technique (Focal Acne Scar Treatment) - it uses the Fractional CO2 laser in a unique fashion, to target only the areas of acne scarring.  Since your scarring is very localized on your cheek, high levels of laser energy can be used to deliver dramatic improvement with little downtime.  

Eric Schweiger, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Laser resurfacing, Resurfacing by dermabrasion, dermal fillers, subcision, punch release to treat acne scars

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

Thankfully for you there are numerous ways to go about treating acne scars, but there is no one treatment that cures all scars. There are many variables involved with acne scars such as how much acne, how deep the scars are, skin complexion, or skin sensitivity. Treatment options would include Laser resurfacing, Resurfacing by dermabrasion, dermal fillers, subcision, punch release etc. Consult with your dermatologist to determine the best option for you.

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

Remember it's the Professional, Not the Tools

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

Hi- Both lasers you mention will give you a reasonable improvement in acne scarring. There are also others that would give you just as good an improvement (the DOT and the Mixto SX)- any of these lasers IN THE RIGHT HANDS would be a good option.

The important thing is to realize that the well-trained and credentialed health care professional holding the laser hand-piece is infinitely more important to your outcome and safety than the machine chosen. As long as you find a Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist with experience and knowledge in the treatment of acne scars, they will give you all the advice you need to get the best outcome- don't worry so much about the exact machine they choose- they will know what works best in their hands to give you the result you desire.

Acne scar treatments in Los Angeles

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Our office specializes in acne scar treatments. We use a combination of sublative, ablative, and non ablative lasers to reduce acne scarring. Patients often need a series of laser treatments for full effect. 

Dr. Karamanoukian 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 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.