Non-Ablative Laser Acne Scar Treatment
Have you been avoiding laser-based acne scar treatment because it means burning skin away? No worries: try non-ablative treatment instead
Effective acne scar treatment is rarely simple... and even in today's high-tech world, there are no guarantees. However, hundreds of dedicated scientists and surgeons are focused on finding ways to remedy this all-too-common problem, and new treatment methods are appearing regularly.
You've probably heard of Accutane, collagen, chemical peels, and even microdermabrasion. But what have you heard about lasers? Does it seem a little risky to have your face zapped by what amounts to a sci-fi ray gun?
That's understandable, but these days, it's not so bad. Seriously.
You may have heard that some lasers remove acne scars by burning away the surface of the skin to encourage new growth. The nastier rumors claim that this results in painful burns that take months to heal completely, and that even in the best of circumstances, the burns are basically open wounds for up to ten days.
Let me be blunt. The nastier rumors are true. Or at least, they used to be.
While the final results of old-school laser treatment can be impressive, the interim effects are horrible. So recently, cosmetic surgeons have focused instead on "non-ablative laser technology." Basically, this is technobabble for "ray guns that don't burn your face off."
What's This Now?
Nowadays we have real-world lightsabers (kinda) that smooth out your skin without peeling off the surface, which is the traditional way of handling the relic scar tissue left behind by the Pimple Fairy. In a sense, then, advancing technology has turned a horrid reality into a scary acne myth for modern patients.
That's why non-ablative treatment has become a popular "modality for the improvement of the visual appearance of photodamaged, scarred, and injured skin," to use one scientific paper's lyrical description.
How Does That Work?
It's complicated (especially in the original technobabble), but essentially, non-ablative lasers produce light that can reach into the skin and encourage it to heal itself by stimulating natural collagen production. The skin isn't burned or broken at all. Ultimately, it's a lot less risky and works even better than the old way.
Within a week, "collagen remodeling" begins, and continues for up to three months. Most doctors recommend monthly treatments for four months to obtain the best results.
Preparations and Expectations
Lasers and Accutane don't mix, so stop taking the latter at least six months before your non-ablative surgery; otherwise, you might end up with worse scarring than ever. You'll also need to be completely clear of any active acne beforehand.
After treatment, expect minor pain and redness for a few days, at most.
Non-ablative acne scar treatment isn't precisely a miracle cure, but it's as close as we can come with modern technology.