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For many of us, active acne might now be a thing of the past, and we try our best to sweep away all the memories of that flustering time in our life. But, acne scars can be a painful reminder. These irksome scars can give your self-confidence a major blow! The use of a fractional laser for acne scars has proven to be a game-changer in the field of laser acne scar treatment procedures.
What Is An Acne Scar?
An acne scar is a color as well as textural change or a dent on the skin’s surface resulting out of severe acne. These scars can range from reddish or brownish spots which are either raised, depressed or just flat, hyperpigmentation marks or craters on your skin.
Also Read: Safe And Effective Treatment For Acne Scars
Causes Of Acne Scars
- Acne scars are caused by an inflamed acne lesion which could be a papule, pustule as well as a cyst. The degree of inflammation is directly proportional to the chances of scarring.
- Severe acne that goes deep into the dermis and disturbs the healthy skin tissue increases the chances of scarring. Minor lesions caused by ruptures in the follicle close to the surface of the skin tend to heal quickly. The deeper breakouts are usually the culprits.
- Popping pimples and picking on the skin contribute to acne scars.
Also Read: What Causes Nodular Acne?
Fractional Laser Treatment For Acne Scars
Laser skin resurfacing for acne scars has greatly benefited from the development of fractional lasers that can either be ablative or non-ablative in nature. The use of a fractional laser for acne scars is regarded as one of the most preferred treatments among all the other kinds of laser options available.
What Are Fractional Lasers?
In fractional lasers, a single laser beam is split into multiple smaller beams (microarrays) creating pixel-like treatment zones called microthermal zones. This allows sections of skin to remain unaffected in the area where treatment is being performed. Fractionated treatment of acne scars takes place by diffused ablation of skin tissue (or diffused damage in case of gentler non-ablative fractional lasers) rather than complete ablation which is otherwise caused in fully ablative laser skin resurfacing treatments.
How Does Fractional Laser Work On Acne Scar?
- Fractional laser resurfacing for acne scars uses fractional photothermolysis, wherein a light source is used to fractionally damage or cause injury to the concerned skin tissue by creating thousands of microscopic treatment zones, like mentioned above, thereby treating a fraction of the skin at a time without affecting the surrounding zones.
- These zones of injury are microscopic in nature and separated from each other by areas of undamaged skin, thus leading to rapid healing.
- Within each treatment zone, old damaged skin cells are ablated/expelled, and the body’s wound healing mechanism is pushed into play by way of dermal remodeling and collagen formation. Thus, giving rise to newer, healthier skin with a better texture, tone, and color.
How Are Fractional Laser Treatments Performed?
The treatment procedure for fractional laser resurfacing of acne scars slightly differs depending on the type of device being used by the dermatologist. After the client’s skin is cleansed and if required, pre-procedure photos are taken, a topical numbing cream/lotion is applied to minimize the discomfort during the laser session. Some devices have a built-in cooling mechanism too.
After an hour or so, the numbing cream is wiped off, and a gliding gel is applied, if required, to ease the movement of the laser hand-piece. The actual procedure for a full face lasts close to 30 minutes with multiple cold compresses followed by the application of a soothing cream and sunscreen.
Also Read: How To Find Best Dermatologist
Top Things To Know About Fractional Lasers For Acne Scars
(i) Fractional laser for acne scars has successfully bridged the gap between highly risky plus effectual ablative procedures and the low-risk, non-ablative ones with poor results.
(ii) The pain or discomfort associated with them ranges from mild to moderate that feels like a sunburn.
(iii) Fractional laser treatments require multiple sessions (4-6) at monthly intervals, to see desired results.
(iv) Apart from scar lightening, an improvement in color, tone, and texture of the skin is experienced.
(v) Fractional laser treatment can be successfully combined with other procedures like dermal fillers or Botox to achieve better satisfaction.
What Is The Fractional Laser For Acne Scars Treatment Cost In India?
The treatment involving fractional laser for acne scars in India can cost from Rs.10,000 – Rs.50,000 per session varying with a variety of factors. These factors include –
- the city you live in,
- the clinic you approach,
- the severity and depth of your scars,
- the extent of the area under treatment,
- the kind of device used, etc.
Approach an experienced dermatology clinic for your customized quotation based on your skin’s requirement.
What Are The Benefits Of Fractional Laser For Acne Scars?
The main benefits of fractional laser treatment for acne scars are –
(i) Minimal discomfort and pain owing to the partial damage and pixelated treatment of the skin tissue when compared to other traditional fully ablative methods that are harsher.
(ii) Low risks and chances of scarring and infections as the columns of treatment created by the microarrays heal faster because of the healthy tissue it is surrounded by.
(iii) Minimum downtime after treatment that doesn’t last more than a few days.
Also Read: Types Of Acne Scars And Their Treatments
Before And After Images Of Fractional Laser Treatment
The fractional laser for acne scars before and after pictures speak volumes about the efficacy of this procedure.
What Are The Common Side Effects Of Fractional Laser For Acne Scars?
Some common fractional laser for acne scars side effects are as follows –
- Temporary redness and swelling
- Temporarily emphasized brown spots
- Crusting and peeling of skin
- A rare sunburn-like blister or bruise that heals in no time
- Post-inflammatory pigmentation in some rare cases
How To Prepare For The Treatment?
You are required to first take a patch test before you start preparing for the treatment. Also, it is extremely important to have a detailed discussion with your dermatologist regarding all the dos and don’ts before the laser session, as these may vary for different candidates. Some broad pointers to keep in mind are as follows –
- One to two weeks prior to the treatment, make sure you are equipped to provide cold compress to your area of treatment.
- Halt the usage of skin products containing Retinol, Glycolic acid, and other harsh chemicals in scrubs and cleansers; painkillers like Advil or Aspirin; and anti-aging products.
- You will be required to stop waxing with no direct sun exposure for a period of two weeks prior to the session.
- It is advised to not consume caffeine on the day of the treatment.
What Type Of Results Can I Expect After The Treatment?
After the initial redness and swelling come down and the skin heals itself, you can expect to see results in the form of improvement in the color, texture, and tone of your treated area, with reduced appearance of wrinkles, acne scars, and open pores.
How Many Sessions Are Required In Fractional Laser Resurfacing?
If you are targeting acne scars, a minimum of 4-6 sessions are recommended that are a month apart from each other to see the desired results. But your dermatologist will customize the sessions required, after analyzing your skin’s requirement. There are no hard and fast rules here.
What Is The Downtime For Fractional Laser Treatments?
This again differs from case to case, but an average downtime of 3-7 days is experienced for the old skin to peel off and healthier/smoother skin to re-appear. This can further increase/decrease depending on the severity of the case.
What Are The Precautions After Fractional Laser Treatment?
- Avoid direct sun exposure on the treated area for at least four weeks. Never step out without a sunscreen with a SPF of 30+.
- Cold compress is your best friend.
- Do not use skin products with active AHA’s or retinol during the healing phase. It is advisable to consult your dermatologist before using any new products.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol for a minimum period of 2-3 days after treatment.
- Avoid going to the gym and indulging in rigorous exercise for a period of 2-3 days.
- Candidates are encouraged to use an extra pillow to help with the swelling along with sleeping on their back only.
- Stay away from chemical peels and other skin treatments for at least a month post treatment.
Fractional lasers have managed to hit the sweet spot between safety and efficiency, and its popularity is testament to this fact. You do not have to go into hiding for weeks/months to recover from your acne scar laser treatment procedure. Consult an experienced dermatologist to figure out if you are a suitable candidate for Fractional Laser Resurfacing for acne scars.