Laser Scar Removal: What to Expect After Your Acne Scar Treatment

Acne plagues about 50 million American teens and adults. This condition often can leave deep, unwanted, and embarrassing facial scarring at any age.

Laser scar removal is a procedure that’s designed to minimize scarring and could work for acne scars. If you’ve been wondering if it’s possible to get rid of acne scars, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about laser treatment for acne scars.

What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition in which the pores on your face become clogged with an overproduction of oil, dirt, make-up, and other debris, causing inflammation, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Acne is not limited just to the facial area but can pop up anywhere on the body, typically shoulders, chest, and back.

Sometimes larger cysts appear as a symptom of acne. These cysts are painful, puss-filled, and are often responsible for the majority of scarring.

What Is Laser Scar Removal?

Your skin can heal itself and is protected by a scab, which leaves a scar after it falls off. Laser scar removal is the process of using a laser over the surface of the skin to dimish skin scarring, but lasers do not entirely remove the scar. The lasers work to make skin appear smoother by encouraging new skin cell growth deep inside the surface.

Lasers also can reduce the amount of redness and inflammation the scar caused.

Be cautious when seeking laser removal treatment and only see a board-certified dermatologist. These medical professionals are trained to use laser treatments and understand the complexities of the skin. Having the procedure done by anyone other than a medical doctor can be dangerous.

Are There Different Types of Laser Removal?

Three types of laser removal are available to treat scarring, ablative, non-ablative, and fractionated.

Ablative laser removal works at the surface level and destroys damaged skin cells.

Non-ablative uses heat to travel to the skin’s inner layer, which boosts collagen production and makes new cells.

If you have dark scarring, your dermatologist might use fractionated laser removal, which has the same effect and method as non-ablative.

What Happens After Laser Scar Removal?

If you’ve decided to get laser treatment for acne, there are a few things to note about the after-effects.

1. Laser removal is usually an outpatient procedure taking place at a doctor’s office or surgery center. Your doctor might use an anesthetic to numb the areas receiving treatment because you might feel uncomfortable.

2. There is minimal to no downtime for laser removal.

3. Follow your doctor’s orders precisely after the procedure. They should send you home after-care instructions on how to properly take care of your skin after your treatments

4. Stay out of the sunshine! Exposure to direct sunlight can be cause for additional scarring and undo all the work done previously.

5. You may have some swelling or pain from the laser treatment, so try ice to minimize swelling and an OTC for pain relief.

6. Don’t be surprised if you need multiple treatments or even a series. Deep scarring can be tough to dimish, so if your dermatologist believes multiple visits will yield the best results, they let you know. Even with several doctor’s appointments, it could still take several months to see the results you’re looking for.

7. Depending on the level of scarring you have, your office visits might not take very long. Some can be as short as 10 minutes.

Doctor’s Orders

After treatment, your doctor may suggest that you change your skincare routine and lifestyle to protect your skin and provide a positive outcome. Here are some possible factors they might recommend:

Wear sunscreen to avoid scarring from the sun.

Stop taking medications or supplements that can interfere with healing; your doctor will let you know which ones.

If you smoke, stop. Smoking causes more damage to the skin.

Any skin care products with retinol or glycolic acid should be avoided for up to 4 weeks after your treatment.

Don’t be surprised if your recovery lasts well over a week. For some, it’s shorter, depending on the length and intensity of the treatment.

Your dermatologist will recommend an at-home skincare routine to help you see the best results from the laser treatment.

If you wear make-up, you’ll probably need to avoid it for several days while your skin heals.

Finding A Laser Treatment Specialist

Remember to look for a board-certified dermatologist or another medical professional who is trained in laser removal. Feel free to ask questions over the phone or schedule a consultation to see the office and talk about your desires and concerns.

Are There Any Side Effects?

No treatment is free from risks and side effects, but each person is unique and experiences different varieties.

Some side effects of laser scar removal are:

  • swelling
  • scarring
  • discoloration
  • bleeding
  • pain
  • itching

Be sure to communicate to your dermatologist the side effects and how much discomfort you’re experiencing.


The cost of treatments varies depending on which type of treatment you need and how many. Be sure to check with your insurance to see if they will cover a portion of the cost first.

Laser Removal Treatment for Acne: Are You Ready?

Acne scarring carries much emotional weight, yet it can be easily reduced in appearance by laser scar removal. With little to no downtime and a bit of healing, you can achieve smoother, more supple skin you’ve always dreamed of.

Are you curious about laser removal? Our experts are waiting to hear from you! Contact us today to find more about how we can help you.