Dermabrasion Better Than Fraxel Laser for Acne Scars?

I had Cooltouch almost 2 years ago, but it didn't do anything on my acne scars. I was going for Fraxel, but after reading so many comments and bad experiences, I'm really concerned. From what I read, it seems that people who did Fraxel are not very happy with the results after 1 or 2 years and their scars are even worse. Could you recommend me something that really works? Is dermabrasion better? Is there any kind of surgery that can remove the scars? Thanks for your help.

Doctor Answers 1

Fraxel for Acne Scars

Hello Ladybugm,

You are moving up the chain of acne scar treatments from those that are quite easy to undergo (Cooltouch) to those that are more difficult (dermabrasian, CO2). The reason is that the Cooltouch has no downtime and limited results whereas dermabrasian and CO2 resurfacing have much more downtime, but much more potential in the way of results. There are certainly a lot of options in between with potential results.

Fraxel Laser Resurfacing - some potential for results, but depends on the type of scars. Generally 5-7 days of swelling and redness after an effective treatment with multiple treatments required for mild to moderate textured acne scars.

Erbium Laser Resurfacing - Generally 5-7 days of redness and peeling with several treatments required for mild to moderate textured acne scars.

CO2 Laser Resurfacing - The gold standard for laser resurfacing with excellent results possible but the most downtime of any of the procedures 1-4 weeks. Usually 1 procedure is required. Mild to severe acne scars.

Dermabrasian - a good option for moderate to severe scars, but very technique dependent (lasers are much more precise) and a difficult recovery.

Surgical option - punch excision for ice pick acne scars.

In some cases, if the scars are really bad, you may want to consider dermabrasian or punch excision and then a laser resurfacing treatment after those. There is no one answer but getting several different consultations (where you see actual patient before and after photos of that particular practice) will help you make your decision. It is also worth noting that dermabrasian and CO2 resurfacing will most likely be more expensive because they are more akin to surgical procedures.

Hope this helps.

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
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