Are there any risks in having Laser Treatments (Halo) for acne scarring before starting Accutane a few months later?

Years of acne have left all kinds of scars on my face. Today, my acne is significantly better, but still there and still causing scarring. Dermatologists have recommended Accutane, but I know I'd have to wait 12 months after my regime until I could use lasers to treat the scarring. Are there any risks of getting Halo laser treatment BEFORE starting Accutane a few months later?

Doctor Answers 4

Halo before Accutane!

The idea behind not having any type of resurfacing procedures while on Accutane or after the treatment (6 moths or so) is that you are affecting the way your skin heals after an injury (resurfacing). If you plan to have a Halo before your treatment it should be fine, just allow for your face to be fully healed before starting your Accutane treatment.  
 
Best, Dr. RG

Halo before Accutane!

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The idea behind not having any type of resurfacing procedures while on Accutane or after the treatment (6 moths or so) is that you are affecting the way your skin heals after an injury (resurfacing). If you plan to have a Halo before your treatment it should be fine, just allow for your face to be fully healed before starting your Accutane treatment.  
 
Best, Dr. RG

Halo and Accutane

Thank you for your question.  There really should be no contraindication to having a Halo treatment a few months prior to starting Accutane.  The reason why most dermatologists recommend against laser procedures for 6-12 months after Accutane is because the medication can actually impair your skin's ability to heal after any injury (including controlled injuries like laser skin resurfacing, deeper chemical peels, and even surgery).  There is no reason to avoid lasers before Accutane treatment.

That said, while I love the Halo laser for brightening the skin and improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, I don't think it penetrates the skin deeply enough to effectively treat most types of acne scarring.  I often find that acne scarring responds better to a combination of TCA CROSS therapy (for ice pick scars), deeper resurfacing lasers (like Contour TRL or CO2 lasers), and filler injections.  I would recommend discussing your concerns with a cosmetic dermatologist to determine the best treatment plan for you.  Best of luck!     

Faiyaaz Kalimullah, MD, FAAD
Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Halo and Accutane

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Thank you for your question.  There really should be no contraindication to having a Halo treatment a few months prior to starting Accutane.  The reason why most dermatologists recommend against laser procedures for 6-12 months after Accutane is because the medication can actually impair your skin's ability to heal after any injury (including controlled injuries like laser skin resurfacing, deeper chemical peels, and even surgery).  There is no reason to avoid lasers before Accutane treatment.

That said, while I love the Halo laser for brightening the skin and improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, I don't think it penetrates the skin deeply enough to effectively treat most types of acne scarring.  I often find that acne scarring responds better to a combination of TCA CROSS therapy (for ice pick scars), deeper resurfacing lasers (like Contour TRL or CO2 lasers), and filler injections.  I would recommend discussing your concerns with a cosmetic dermatologist to determine the best treatment plan for you.  Best of luck!     

Faiyaaz Kalimullah, MD, FAAD
Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon

Halo Prior to Accutane

Thank you for your question.  Receiving Halo laser treatments a few months before starting Accutane should not negatively affect your skin.  Sometimes patients want to get their acne under control first and then complete their first laser treatment as they may continue to breakout and scar during the first few months of treatment.  Another treatment may be completed after 6 months past Accutane treatment.  Halo is a hybrid fractional laser as it delivers both non-ablative and ablative wavelengths in a single pass, which is why it is important to not to receive any Halo treatments while on Accutane.  

Halo Prior to Accutane

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Thank you for your question.  Receiving Halo laser treatments a few months before starting Accutane should not negatively affect your skin.  Sometimes patients want to get their acne under control first and then complete their first laser treatment as they may continue to breakout and scar during the first few months of treatment.  Another treatment may be completed after 6 months past Accutane treatment.  Halo is a hybrid fractional laser as it delivers both non-ablative and ablative wavelengths in a single pass, which is why it is important to not to receive any Halo treatments while on Accutane.  

Halo can help acne

There are no risks in doing Halo prior to starting Accutane. In fact, Halo can be helpful for acne. It is a delayed effect however (a few months), but I have seen numerous patients with cystic acne who respond well to a moderate Halo treatment and adequate skin care maintenance to include retinol, niacinaminde, and high dose vitamin C. The line we use in my clinic is BioRenew. It's possible that with a properly performed Halo and adequate skin care that you could avoid Accutane all together!

Halo can help acne

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There are no risks in doing Halo prior to starting Accutane. In fact, Halo can be helpful for acne. It is a delayed effect however (a few months), but I have seen numerous patients with cystic acne who respond well to a moderate Halo treatment and adequate skin care maintenance to include retinol, niacinaminde, and high dose vitamin C. The line we use in my clinic is BioRenew. It's possible that with a properly performed Halo and adequate skin care that you could avoid Accutane all together!

Jenifer L. Barry, MD
Boise Internist

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.