Mechanical Dermabrasion when Laser Didn't Worked?

Hello. I had done two, very strong Co2 Laser Resurfacing treatments to improve post-acne scars on my face (cheeks especially). It was done 6 months ago, unfortunatelly till this day I can't see ANY positive changes. I would really like to improve these scars but see no point of getting next co2 laser treatments or other less strong peels. I was suggested that Mechanical Dermabrasion should REALLY work. Is it a good alternative in that situation? When laser didn't worked? Thank You

Doctor Answers 4

Acne Scar Treatments: Laser versus Dermabrasion

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It is very difficult to give you advice without seeing any pictures of what your scars look like. Different types of scars do well with different treatments. For example, broad-based scars do very well with injectable fillers, whereas boxcar, pitted, ice-pick and punched out scars need resurfacing techniques (ie. electrosurgery, dermabrasion, chemical peeling, laser) to smooth out the scars.  I personally feel lasers are overrated for treating acne scars and in my practice, other than injectable fillers, I rely on resurfacing techniques such as electrosurgery, dermabrasion and chemical peeling. I would not waste your time with more laser treatments and I would consult with a physician experienced in treating acne scars before beginning any other treatments. 

Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Acne scarring laser versus mechanical abrasion

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Dear Patient,

It is unfortunate that you are frustrated and disappointed with your Fractional C02 results of acne scarring. In general, Fractional CO2 laser is ideal treatment method for shallow, rolled and boxcar kind of scars. However it does take at least 3-5 treatments, each a few months apart to see improvement. So it may be time to revisit you laser surgeon. Review your before and after photos, discuss potential use of stronger laser settings to get to your goal. In addition, you may consider using a combination approach such chemical peels and fillers. Mechanical Dermabrasion is very effective for acne scars also, however, it is a very aggressive treatment that carries high risk of side effects such as skin discoloration and scarring. So it is no longer a popular procedure because of high risk and long recovery time (several weeks). Good luck.

Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD
Davie Dermatologist

Mechanical Dermabrasion and Acne Scars

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Thank you for your question. Acne scarring is a challenging problem to treat. Before lasers, we would often resort to chemical peels and/or dermabrasion. However, dermabrasion had more side effects including more scarring, loss of pigment,  leave a demarcation line, or simply not work. The laser is our first choice, and may require multiple treatments, but the risk is so much lower.  Try to be patient with the laser treatments, as you may need a series and with higher settings. You should seek the recommendations of a board certified dermatologist or a board certified plastic surgeon who has expertise in acne, scarring, and treating various skin types.    I hope this helps.


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In our office we have 2 lasers done together that would give you great results Profractional laser and micro laser peel.  If after that treatment you were looking for more we would recommend a mini face lift to stretch out your skin  from the scar that are deep. You should see a PS to help you give you permanent options for you situation. Good luck.



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

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