Are Laser Treatments for Acne Scars Permanent?

I am referring to all lasers for acne scars, from the original CO2 to the newer non-ablative YAG lasers. I have been hearing varying opinions on this. I've been told it's permanent from some doctors, others have told me it's not. I've heard from patients that they've had lasting results (beyond a year), others on message forums have told me it's not. Lasers are expensive, why would I keep doing them if they won't have lasting effects? Can I please get a straight answer? I just want the truth.

Doctor Answers 4

Results of Laser Treatments for Acne Scars

It helps to understand how acne scars are formed in order to make an informed decision for yourself. Acne scars are made of the same collagen fibers that are found throughout your skin. However, these fibers are arranged in a thick configuration. 

Lasers basically apply heat to the dermis under the surface of your skin. And this causes specialized cells to produce normal collagen fibers which gradually override the acne scar tissue. Multiple treatments are needed for this to be achieved effectively.

Different lasers also use different wavelengths which perform specific objectives. Some wavelengths are safer for darker skin types. And some laser systems are better for milder cases (e.g. Spectra laser). Others, like the Fraxel Dual are effective for more severe instances of scarring. Fraxel Repair is a lot more aggressive.

The results are permanent, but this really depends on getting your acne under control so that there is no more inflammation. Inflammation is what causes the scarring to occur. 

If you are interested in undergoing laser treatments for acne scars, it is best to choose a board certified dermatologist who specializes in this area. 

Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Are Acne Scar Treatments Permanent?

Hi DRaGZ.  We would like to turn it around on you a bit.  We treat many types of acne scars at our practiced, colored and textured (indented, bumpy) and we use many different options to treat them.  So, the answer to your question can differ based on the type of acne scars you have.

We use Erbium laser resurfacing (indented), kenalog injections (bumpy or atrophic), hydroquinone (brown) and V-star lasers (red) for our treatments.  For some of these treatments you can get long lasting or permanent results (Erbium laser resurfacing for indented scars) and for others we may not - hydroquinone for brown scars will not be permanent if the patient gets more acne.

So, we would love for there to be a simple answer, but there may not be.  Your best bet is to go to multiple consultations so that you can developed a balanced opinion about your options and the chances that the results will be permanent.  We are located in Los Angeles and would be happy to see you for a free consultation.  See the link below for our before and after pictures.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Lasers and Acne Scarring Treatment are the results permanent

To be totally honest, nothing is permanent. Everything in the world changes and so does your results from laser resurfacing. I think that resurfacing treats one layer when Acne scarring is a multilayered process. You need a multilayered approach with that I would do co2 laser resurfacing at the end of all the treatments. But that is not the only time point that I would do co2 laser resurfacing.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Acne scars

Acne scars can be tough to deal with. A newer concept includes using LaViv which  may help fill the depressed scars with your own fibroblasts.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 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.