Which Laser is Best for Improving Acne Scars, Wrinkles and Reducing Redness and Patchy Skin?

I have had IPL but did not find much improvement in the pigmentation. Which laser would be best for acne scars, wrinkles and to give a more even pigmentation that reduces redness. I would like to use one laser if possible?

Doctor Answers 10

Consult an experienced specialist to achieve the best results

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Each person is different, and there are many options available to you. Therefore, it is really important that you consult an experienced specialist with a reputable practice. I recommend that you see either a facial plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. For laser treatment, I prefer the Erbium and CO2 lasers, but there are less evasive options for treating your skin, including Ulthera, chemical peels, and injectable fillers.

Laser Resurfacing and Acne Scars

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Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, there is no one "magic laser." For red or brown pigment, I recommend the IPL,  for acne scars CO2 fractional resurfacing, and for redness the pulse dye laser.  Be certain to be under the supervision of a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with expertise in laser surgery for the most effective and safe treatments. I hope this helps.

Choose the Physician first.

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I usually caution my patients to be VERY careful about shopping for a specific laser or treatment and to focus on the experience, background and training of the physiain/surgeon instead.  In the cosmetic surgery world, a good patient outcome is the result of a qualified physician more so than the actual device used.  Keep in mind that the education, training, specialization and years in practice of your physician should be major factors in your decision.  With that being said, as a consumer you should choose a cosmetic procedure that will address your concerns AND choose a Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Cosmetic Surgery Specialist.  In my practice I use the ARTISAN™ Skin Rejuvenation System The ARTISAN’S suite of fractional ablative laser, non-ablative laser, and pulsed light technology allows me to customize a treatment regimen for each individual patient and address every patient’s specific skin rejuvenation needs, offering the best results with the least amount of disruption and downtime. ARTISAN can be used to address fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, poor skin tone and texture, scars, stretch marks, and more.  I hope this helps. 

Best of luck, Dr. Clevens


Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

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Best Laser For Improvements

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The Sciton Erbium:Yag laser is an excellent laser used in the operating room under anesthesia as it treats the deepest layers of skin, and can achieve extraordinary results in appropriate patients.This laser can be used in darker skinned patients and produces outstanding results for acne scarring, fine or deeper skin wrinkles, enlarged pores, and irregular skin pigmentation. Healing afterwards is generally uneventful, consisting of what looks like a deep sunburn that is treated with topical lubricants for 7 to 10 days, at which time the skin is healed. Skin pinkness can persist for weeks, and is minimized by topical steroid crèmes. A thorough consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is necessary to decide what laser skin resurfacing treatment plan is most suited to address your needs.

Which Laser is Best for Improving Acne Scars, Wrinkles and Reducing Redness and Patchy Skin?

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We offer the DOT Co2 Laser in our office for facial resurfacing.  It's an excellent choice to soften acne marks, soften wrinkles and patchy discolored skin.

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

No Single Laser Will Effectively Treat Everything For Every Circumstance

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There is not one laser which does everything.  The fractional lasers are the ones receiving the most "press" at this time, and for good reason – they work.   But lifestyle and downtime are important contributors to determine which device works best for which condition we are treating.  So, for instance, if you had no downtime issues, we might choose a CO2 fractional system or and erbium YAG fractional system.  If downtime is an issue, we might use a nonablative fractional laser.  And we now have fractional RF, and these devices do extremely well with little to no downtime.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Depending on the cause of redness and patchy skin, different lasers need to be used.

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No one laser can accomplish acne scars, wrinkles, redness, and patchy skin, unless the redness is due to sun damage.  If I were trying to accomplish as many of those issues I may choose to use the Fraxel Dual or the CO2 fractional resurfacing laser.  The Dual or C02 can improve the acne scars, patchy skin (if this includes browning of the skin) and wrinkles by combining two different lasers in one treatment. If the redness is due to rosacea, these lasers  may not improve the redness, and may actually make the patient slightly redder.  For the rosacea patient I would recommend photodynamic photorejuvenation with an IPL or V-Beam and the eMatrix for the scarring and wrinkles.

Laser treatment for acne scars.

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Acne scars are some of the most difficult problems to solve no matter the treatment.  I always tell my acne scar patients in my Salt Lake City, Utah plastic surgery office that no matter how much improvement we get with a treatment that they will always wish that there was more improvement.

Acne scars usually have to be treated with multiple different treatments which may include:

  1. CO2 laser resurfacing
  2. dermabrasion
  3. excision (cutting them out or punch biopsy removal)
  4. subcision (releasing tethered portions of the scar)
  5. soft tissue filler or fat grafting

In my opinion a new generation of CO2 laser resurfacing addresses the issues of acne scars and the fine wrinkling and the pigmentation problems that you described.  Physicians familiar with the newer technology of CO2 laser resurfacing can provide a very aggressive treatment with only 3 to 5 days of "down-time". Once again, after the treatment there will be noticeable improvement in the acne scars, but you will wish that there was more improvement.

Acne scars and redness

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acne scars are treated depending on what depth and shape they are with different treatments such as punch grafts, excision, chemical peels, CO2 laser, Fractional Restore laser, dermabrasion,etc. No one treatment improves acne scars considerably and at the same time treats the redness.  V-beam laser can be done in the healing phase after laser resurfacing to reduce redness if it doesn't decrease by itself.

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

Best Laser

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The most important criteria in a successful laser treatment is the person performing the procedure.  He/She must be trained, experienced, expert, and understanding of your objectives.  There are several good lasers. Profractional works well for acne scars and improving the texture/tone of the skin. Full Sciton Laser is best to treat the full array of issues acne scars, wrinkles, and pigmentation that you seek to address.

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.