Laser Resurfacing for Acne Scars

How effective is Laser resurfacing for clearing acne scars? I don't really care about the downtime, but the cosmetic results are very important. What number of treatments do you recommend? I'd prefer if I only have to get it done once.

Doctor Answers 23

Laser for Acne Scars

Acne scars can be challenging to treat. Certain laser treatments can be very effective for acne scarring, however, it is important to keep in mind the results vary with severity of scars.

Often we use a CO2 laser or the profractional laser, depending on the skin type we are treating. As stated before, results and number of treatments depend on the severity of the scar. Typically, you can expect at the minimum 2-3 treatments and at maximum about 10 treatments. As for downtime, the aggressiveness of the treatment will dictate the amount of time it will take you to completely heal. You should expect between 3 days and 1 week of downtime.

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Acne Scars

Unfortunately there is no "miracle" quick fix for acne scars.  Profractional Laser Resurfacing can be a very effective method for minimizing and diminishing acne scars.  This procedure is also safe for most skin types.  It usually requires 5-7 treatments depending on the severity of the scarring and only has 2 - 5 days down time.  The cost is also substantially less than other laser resurfacing such as Co2.


Dr. Rodgers

Christine Rodgers, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Laser resurfacing for acne scars

We are treating acne scars with different modalities,

For regular, boxcar acne scars, we use either the traditional CO2 Laser (7-9 days downtime)  or the fractionated CO2 laser (2-3 days downtime).  Usually 2-3 treatments with the fractionated laser are equivalent to one  traditional laser treatment.

For large, deep boxcar scars, we use punch elevation followed by CO2 laser resurfacing (traditional or fractionated).

For ice pick scars, we use Chemical Reduction Of Scars (CROS) with Trichloracetic acid.

For rolling scars we use subcision followed by injection of Sculptra.

In some cases we use a permanent filler such as Artefill

Often we use a combination of these modalities in the same patient.

It is important that you be treated by a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon.


Eugene Mandrea, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Depends on scars

If you have box car scars, and type one or two skin- fair skin, then laser resurfacing is THE treatment of choice. Shallow scars can be removed almost completely in one session, with safety and efficacy. If you have a mixture of scars you may need other treatments. Eg. Ice pick scars respond better to procedures such as simple TCA CROSS or even punch excision. 

The type of scar treatment that BEST SUITS YOU will depend on 3 factors only-

1. Acne scar type
2 .Downtime
3. You skin type or colour. 

Hope this helps.

Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist
Brisbane, Gold Coast

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Resurfacing for Acne Scars

Acne scars can be difficult to treat and results can vary depending on the severity. In our practice we like to use a fractionated erbium, micro-needling with PRP and TCA peels. The more aggressive treatments like the fractionated erbium will give you faster results but require more downtime. It is difficult to get great results with just one treatment, multiple treatments and a combination of modalities typically have the best end result. Hopefully this helps and you find a treatment plan that works best for you. Dr. Meghan Nadeau, Seattle,WA

Meghan Nadeau, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Laser Resurfacing for Acne Scars

Patient selection is key for effective acne scar removal. However, there are a number of lasers that can be effective and our success rate is excellent with our sciton laser. Consult with 3 experienced and expert  treating physicians. 

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews


acne scarring is one of the most difficult skin issues to treat.   My personal experience with the scion erbium yag laser and its pro fractional treatments are good requiring several treatments over time.  Remember that the acne scarring is often improved significantly but not erased.

Michael K. Kim, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Laser for Acne Scarring

I love the results of the C02 laser  for any of my patients who have acne scarring. However, if you are looking for a laser option with less downtime and don't have the need for an aggressive treatment, then AFT (next generation IPL) can work wonders too.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

How can I avoid scarring from laser resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing is commonly used to improve the appearance of scars. However if used inappropriately laser resurfacing can result in scars. Safety is paramount with every patient we treat and to avoid this we have a safety protocol for laser resurfacing of the entire face.

•      Avoid in certain high risk skin types, identify before treatment

•      Safety protocol for every patient

•      Clear post laser resurfacing instructions

•      Use of bio-technology to enhance recovery after laser

•      Use of test-patch of laser to avoid risk

•      Poor patient compliance with post op wound care instructions

•      An experienced doctor who has used laser resurfacing for many years with good results

•      State-of-the-art modern laser designed for safety and fast recovery

Julian De Silva, MD
Birmingham Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

Lasers for acne scarring

Lasers can be used very effectively for acne scarring, in particular ablative lasers. Patients have told me that I have transformed their lives with acne scar treatments using some of these lasers. Not everyone will always get life changing results but with time and the right procedures almost all scars can be improved and frequently significantly. Some techniques such as fillers / chemical peels/ lasers/ surgery can be used synergistically to create an optimal result.

Shawn Allen, MD
Boulder Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.