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How do ablative lasers treat acne scars?

Audrey Kunin, MD
Dermatology
Ablative lasers for acne therapy literally remove the outer layers of the skin, burning away scar tissue and stimulating the dermal collagen to tighten, reducing the amount of scar visibility. The ultrapulsed carbon dioxide laser and erbium yttrium-aluminum garnet (YAG) laser are most frequently used in laser resurfacing. The recently introduced Fraxel Dual combines an erbium laser with a more superficial light to simultaneously improve both acne scars and the associated discoloration. Downtime from these types of treatments is approximately one week. Typically, three to five treatment sessions are necessary.

Because the skin is injured and unprotected tissue exposed, great effort must be put into wound care and infection prevention. The skin may remain reddened for several months or a year afterwards.

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