Fraxel Repair Vs. Pixel Laser - Which Works Better on Acne Scars?

Hi, I'm interested in getting some laser resurfacing done on my face and I'm thinking about going with the Pixel laser. How well does the pixel laser work on acne scarring? What's the recommended amount of times needed? Does Pixel work better than Fraxel repair?

Doctor Answers 6

Probably neither

In my opinion, acne scars are a very challenging problem and most patients do poorly with laser treatments. Sometimes, just a visit to a good dermatologist can do more than any laser. The biggest thing that I see when people come in for a laser consult is that they haven't gotten their acne under control. Doing a laser without getting the underlying problem fixed is the worst thing that you can do.

Lasers work for a very limited type of acne scarring and usually provide no more than about 20 to 30% improvement at best. Fillers, on the other hand, can provide some real improvement. Make sure you are getting the right thing as 80% plus of patients who come to me for laser for acne scars end up doing something different (and loving it!).

Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Pixel for acne scarring

Both the CO2 and Pixel lasers are excellent modalities for acne scarring. I suggest seeing a dermatologist for ACTIVE acne but for the scars, see a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery since reconstruction of scarring is our specialty and we can offer many modalities. Anyone offering less should not be dealing with the problem.

If the pits are small and do not require excision, I prefer the Erbium (Pixel) laser since I can regulate the depth with precision and minimize surrounding thermal damage. Fillers are another option but beware; you will have to repeat them every 6 months.

Jacob Freiman, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 267 reviews

Pixel and Fraxel both good options for acne scarring

Acne scarring is a very difficult problem to treat, and generally requires mutiple different therapies for best results.  Currently, fractionated laser resurfacing is one of our most effective technologies for acne scarring.

Both the Pixel CO2/Omnifit and the Fraxel Repair utilize the most potent resurfacing laser, the 10,600 CO2, combined with the safety of our current fractionated technology.  While the specifics of each laser differ a little, I think you should expect comparable results between the two.  A common treatment range is 1-4 treatments spaced 3-6 months apart-- with most patients doing best with 2-3 treatments.

Actual treatments can vary greatly depending upon your severity of scarring, types of scars, skin type and tolerance for risk/benefit.  Be sure to consult with a physician you trust who is Board Certified in a field such as Dermatology or Plastic Surgery to discuss the treatment that is right for you.

Jeffrey C. Poole, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Fraxel re:pair has been impressive with acne scars

Hi scubasteve,

I have had very good experience with treating my patients acne scarring with Fraxel re:pair.  I have not had any experience with Pixel, but from those who have, I have heard that it is not as effective as the re:pair.  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fraxel For Acne Scars

Thank you for your question. At my practice, I have gotten excellent results for scarring with Fraxel. This treatment eliminates irregular skin discoloration, and stimulates new collagen production, tightening the skin without prolonged recovery. After a series of 2 to 4 Fraxel treatments, the cumulative cosmetic improvement is near more aggressive lasers, but unlike more aggressive lasers, redness and swelling eliminated within 2 to 4 days after each treatment. Fraxel is outstanding for fine wrinkles, mild skin laxity, irregular pigmentation, acne scars, surgical scars, enlarged pores, stretch marks, age spots and Rosacea. It can be used safely on the face, neck, hands, arms, and chest.

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Both are ablative lasers

The technology with both lasers is good. They are both ablative devices that poke microholes in the skin to wound/cause healing from the inside out. The treatment outcome depends on the settings used. In the right hands when done correctly you will likely get the results you desire with either device. Evaluate with your cosmetic physician which one would be better for you.

Purvisha Patel, MD
Germantown Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 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.