The best treatment for most patients with acne scarring is the Fractional CO2 laser. Examples of this laser include the Fraxel Re:pair, the MiXto laser, the TotalFX and the Matrix CO2. These “fractional” lasers treat only a “fraction” of the skin’s surface during the treatment, leaving the neighboring tissue intact for faster healing.
What is the Fractional CO2 laser?
The fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser is an effective laser for the treatment of acne scarring. The new “fractional” technology treats only a portion of the skin, leaving healthy intact skin surrounding the treatment area. This allows for fast healing and very safe treatments for all skin types.
How are acne scars treated by the Fractional CO2 laser?
The fractional CO2 laser makes small microscopic holes in the deeper layers of the skin. This process leads to the generation of new, healthy collagen to smooth out the acne scars. Improvement in acne scars can be seen in as early as one week following the Fractional CO2 laser treatment. Improvements in acne scarring will continue for up to 6 months following the initial treatment. Approximately 30-70% improvement of acne scarring is seen after one treatment, though results vary by the individual. Most patients require only one treatment to reach the desired improvement.
The fractional CO2 laser requires approximately 4 days of downtime after the procedure. During this time, the skin is healing from the wound that the laser causes to the skin in order to stimulate the healing of acne scars. While healing in the 4 days following the fractional CO2 laser, you will apply an ointment to the skin continuously, which helps to stimulate faster healing.
Is the fractional CO2 laser painful?
The fractional CO2 laser procedure for acne scarring is performing using only topical anesthesia. On the day of your treatment, a topical numbing cream will be applied for one hour prior to the procedure. During the treatment, you will be awake and experiencing only very mild discomfort.
Is the fractional CO2 laser treatment for acne scarring safe for darker skin types?
Fractional CO2 laser treatments are safe for the treatment of acne scarring in darker skin types. All skin types, including Asian, Indian and African-American skin, can be safely treated with the fractional CO2 laser. It is important for these patients to see an experienced laser surgeon who performs these treatments regularly.