Does Palomar Laser Work Well on Acne Scars?

Palomar lux 1540 non-ablative laser treatment has a 24-48 hrs downtime. Do you think it is a good choice for treating acne scars  such as ice pick and boxcar scars? Does it give the same results as Fraxel restore and repair?

Doctor Answers 4

It can treat them, but don't look for miracles.

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No laser, even the more invasive ones, will treat scars well. There can be some improvement, but I never encourage people to expect too much from lasers for acne scars in general. Additionally, it is important to remember that most clinicians recommend at least 4 treatments with this particular laser in order to achieve the most optimal results.

Lasers for Acne Scars

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There is no magical laser to erase acne scars, rather we have tools to reduce their appearance. 

The Palomar Lux 1540 has the benefit of reduced and manageable downtime. You need a series of treatments, more like 4-6 sessions spaced 3 weeks apart. This modality works better for shallow scars, not the deeper ones. 

Palomar 1540 similar to Fraxel for acne scars

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Fractional lasers for acne scars will improve the surface of your skin by creating first a controlled "injury" which then causes a collagen response.

The theory (an reality) behind multiple sessions is that over time you have repeated collagen stimulation and improved skin smoothness.

As to which fractional lasers are best, sometimes it is a matter of market exposure. Palomar has some of the most extensive research and development but less marketing exposure.

In any case, no laser has yet proven to remove acne scars completely so recognize you will get improvement as opposed to removal of your scars.

Fraxel Restore is an erbium laser which superheats the treated columns of skin. Fraxel Repair is a CO2 laser which vaporizes the columns so you have a more intense recovery. Most scar patients opt for the less downtime (and expense) of the fractional NON-ablative lasers such as the Palomar 1540 or Fraxel Restore

Not for Ice pick scars

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The Lux 1540 works for more shallow acne scars. It requires at least 4 treatments separated by at least 3 weeks apart. The results are more noticeable over period of 6 months after the last treatment and may require future treatments.

The mechanism is by creating a pixilated column of coagulated (liquefied) soft tissue that is replaced by new fresh tissue that produces new collagen and elastin the main components of healthy skin.

For Ice pick scars the best results are from surgical excision.

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.