What is the Best Laser Acne Treatment?

i am really close to deciding on professional acne treatment like a laser. is there a laser that you recommend best for acne clearing? 

Doctor Answers 9

The Best Laser Acne Treatment

There are a lot of lasers and light sources available for you to have done for acne. The first recommendation is to find a board-certified dermatologist who understands the different kinds of acne best and understands which lasers and lights might be the best for you.

We can target the bacteriacausing the acne lesions with things such as blue light alone or with a chemical and blue light known as photodynamic therapy (PDT), which I have published on over the years, and can help many suffering from acne. Blue light alone requires a series of treatments, 1-2 a week for up to 4 weeks, to seesignificant improvement. PDT – the use of a sensitizer put on the skin called Levulan in the U.S., which penetrates into the oil glands, and when subjected to a light source like blue light – or a laser like the pulsed dye laser or the IPL can improve acne pretty quickly. We usually recommend treatments 2 weeks apart, and several treatments may be necessary here. Another great treatment is the Isolaz IPL device, which uses a vacuum apparatus to bring the oil glands closer to the light source. It works really well in most people. Also, a newer device known as the Aerolase Neo is a special 1064 nm wavelength laser that has shown some great clearance in acne, especially in those with darker skin types.

Other devices exist which target the sebaceous glands themselves. The problem with these is most of them have caused pain and so therefore, in 2014, most of these have gone out of favoramong those of us who use a lot of lasers. Pain is not necessary, and the machines we are currently using work really well.

So find the right doctor, one who can offer multiple modalities, and get the best results that you can get.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Laser Acne Treatment

Smoothbeam is the only FDA approved laser for treatment of acne on the face and body. Also treats acne scars. This treatment has no pain and no downtime. This is an excellent treatment for hard to treat acne.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Erbium and CO2 lasers treat acne scars well

Good question. Lasers are a great way to resurface the skin and reduce scars. More specifically, there are two lasers that do this exceptionally well. The Erbium laser is a state-of-the-art laser that resurfaces the skin and reduce scars in under an hour. The results are almost instant, and only about 3-4 days of downtime are required.

Another option is the CO2 laser. The CO2 laser penetrates the skin deeper than the Erbium; therefore, the results are a little better, but you would need about 7-10 days of downtime. Also, because this laser is more invasive, you do not need multiple treatments like the Erbium.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Laser Acne Treatments

There are many options available for treatment. Depending on the type of acne you have chemical peels may be a better choice of therapy. There are lasers such as the Smoothbeam, Fraxel, IPL, and treatments such as blue light that can all provide benefit.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Acne Laser Treatment

For our acne treatment program, we use a combination of three lasers and a Blu-light device.

  • Aramis Laser for shrinking the sebaceous glands.
  • Q-switched lasers (Palomar & Hoya Conbio) to kill bacteria and control active acne.
  • Pulsed dye (Cynosure V-star) laser to decrease redness and inflammation as well as activate ALA (aminolevulanic acid) during Photodynamic therapy.
  • Blu-U treatments to activate ALA and/or kill acne bacteria.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews


I am going to assume that you are not a candidate for Accutane ( ? high triglycerides, increased intracerbral pressure) or hormonal treatment (?male). Accutane is a permanent treatment while laser or Photodynamic therapy is only temporary. I wo;uld always take the permanent cure over the temporary fix all other factors being equal.

That said: there are three choices that I like. One would be the Smoothbeam, a diode laser. This works by killing bacteria and disrupting the sebaceous glands. The second light source that helps is the Isolaz. This is relatively new and works through what the manufacturor calls photopneumatics. The pneumatic energy blows the skin which causes tightening and more efficient use of their broadband light. Finally, photodynamic therapy combines a liquid which sensitizes the bacteria and a light source which then kills it.

My recommendation would be the Isolaz, but as I said I would exhaust traditional treatment first before investing in laser treatment.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Acne Laser Treatments

Generally a combination of later treatments is best. Often Isolaz, Red/blue light and Photodynamic therapy do well in combination to give patients the best effect. It depends on what type of ace you have to decide what type of laser treatment is best for you. 
Often patients who have cystic acne do well from multiple PDTs, comedones do well from Isolaz and redness and inflammation do well from Red/blue light but a combination sees the best results.

Eric Schweiger, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Spectra laser for clearing Acne

One laser to consider as well, for controlling and clearing acne is the Spectra laser. Acne is caused by several factors such as pore blockages and overactive sebaceous glands. The presence of bacteria makes conditions worse by causing inflammation. And this can lead to acne scars. The Spectra laser addresses these three dynamics.

The Spectra is an Nd:YAG laser that uses the 1064nm wavelength. (In dermatology, different wavelengths are used for different objectives.) The 1064nm wavelength is relatively long and can reach areas deep beneath the skin's surface to diminish the activity level of the sebaceous glands. Also the ability to affect deeper layers of the skin facilitates the turnover of new skin cells.

During the procedure, your dermatologist will apply a photosensitive lotion to your skin. The laser interacts with the carbon in the lotion to clear out the existing blockages in your pores. The laser also kills any bacteria in your skin that could lead to inflammation. 

Usually by the third or fourth session, patients will notice significant improvements in their acne condition.


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Best lasers for Acne

There are a variety of lasers used for acne treatments; there is no one specific system that works for everyone. Some help by decreasing the bacteria that cause acne. Other lasers used for acne work by shrinking the oil glands that also play a role in causing acne. Some physicians will combine these two different lasers together. It is best to discuss this with your laser dermatologist to discover the best approach to use.

To your health,
Dr. David Goldberg

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 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.