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Laser Treatment for Pimples and Pimple Scars

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Apr 27, 2017 and last reviewed on Dec 23, 2022   -  4 min read


This article will discuss laser treatment for resistant acne, which does not respond to topical therapy.

Laser Treatment for Pimples and Pimple Scars


Acne scars are a dreadful disease. It nags the patient’s skin, and when it gets over, it leaves scars behind. Scars from acne are like a double punishment. First, you need to deal with pimples, and now you have scar marks as a reminder. Laser treatment for acne scars is one of the most searched online content in relation to beauty. It is considered just a beam of light to make the acne disappear. Learn more about the laser treatment for pimples and pimple scars.

How Does Laser Treatment Work for Pimples?

The laser treatment works by heating up the hemoglobin inside the blood capillaries and removes the scars from the skin.

Firstly, the heat from the laser works by removing the top layer of the skin where the scar is present. As the top layer of the scar breaks off, the skin will appear smooth, and the appearance of the scar is less noticeable. As the scar tissue breaks off, the heat and light from the laser allow new and healthy skin cells to grow. By the heat of the laser, the blood flow is drawn to the area, and the inflammation is reduced. Hence this makes the acne scar look less raised by giving them a smaller appearance. It also helps in the healing of the skin.

How To Get Prepared Before Getting the Laser Treatment?

It will help if you make some changes in your lifestyle before getting the laser treatment done.

  • You need to take the doctor’s opinion if you have any other medical illness.

  • You need to quit smoking for at least two weeks prior to the treatment.

  • It is better if you avoid using any skincare products that contain retinol two weeks prior to the treatment.

What Are the Different Types of Lasers Used In the Treatment for Pimples and Pimple Scars?

Phototherapy, which includes both UVA, UVB, and blue-red light, is known to have beneficial effects on acne or pimples. Some of the lasers have also been found to be effective in reducing active acne. Active acne means acne which is red or has pus. The laser is also useful in improving acne scars. The use of carbon dioxide lasers and Er: YAG lasers (erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) for treating acne scars are well known. Other lasers which are found to be useful are flashlamp-pumped pulsed dye laser and diode laser.

CO2 Laser 10600 nm and Er: YAG Laser:

These are resurfacing lasers, and they induce rejuvenating skin changes through open epidermal and dermal wounding on ablating the skin surface.

Flashlamp-Pumped Pulsed Dye Laser 585 nm:

PDL lasers are found to be useful in inflammatory acne lesions. In this, laser beam rapidly moves across the face for 15 minutes, it causes non-lethal healing by its selective action on the superficial vasculature in the upper dermis, and this is believed to act on inflammatory lesions of acne vulgaris and acne rosacea. The nonablative lower fluence also induces stimulation of cutaneous procollagen through altered local cellular metabolism and results in improvement of acne scars.

DIODE 1450 nm:

This diode is absorbed by tissue water, which is its principle chromophore. It penetrates to the depth of papillary dermis, where on its absorption, induces thermal injury up to 400 to 500 micrometer in the form of dermal healing. This thermal profile matches the anatomic depth of sebaceous glands, and this leads to thermal injury, resulting in a change in their activity and function. This laser is useful in treating active inflammatory lesions and sebaceous hyperplasia. Dermal heating also induces collagen remodeling, thus bringing about clinical improvement in acne scars.

Both the flash-lamp and diode laser systems have incorporated an epidermal cooling system to avoid and reduce the side effects and complications, such as pigmentary changes and superficial scarring.

What Should You Get to Know Before and After Getting Laser Treatment Done?

  • Laser treatment cannot get rid of the acne scar but instead makes it less noticeable.

  • A medical opinion is required before taking the laser treatment.

  • You may need to protect your skin from the sun until your skin heals.

  • If you have a habit of smoking, then you need to quit smoking at least two weeks before the treatment.

  • You may require more than one treatment for long-lasting results.

  • It may take time to see the results from the laser treatment.

  • You need to do some home care after getting the laser treatment done to prevent the possible side effects.

What Are the Benefits of Laser Treatment?

  • It is a bloodless procedure: People who are scared of blood can choose this treatment to get their acne scars treated.

  • It is usually safer for all skin types: Whether you are light-skinned or dark-toned or somewhere in between, the CO2 laser therapy works well for all patients of all ages.

  • It can resolve deep scars and pit: It not only helps with the superficial and shallow scars but also for deep indentations. By triggering collagen regeneration, the treatment can tighten the skin and taut appearance that can complement your facial features.

  • It is less harsh than the traditional methods.

  • It makes the healing process less intense and decreases downtime: It only affects the troubled tissue and leaves the adjacent tissue alone. Hence healing can be better and quicker.

What Are the Side Effects of Laser Treatment?

There are some side effects when you use laser treatment for pimples and pimple scars, and these side effects vary according to the kind of laser used or depending on the type of skin and the number of laser treatments you need.

The typical side effects are:

  • Redness.

  • Pain at the site of the treatment.

  • Swelling.

  • Discomfort.

  • Discoloration of the skin.

  • Minor bleeding,

  • Skin crusting.


There are various reasons for you to get acne, and all of these cannot be resolved by self-treatment. So you may need a treatment like a laser treatment which can provide you with better results. Laser treatment is in demand nowadays because youngsters prefer it, as it gives a quick response with minimal side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Laser Treatment Effective Against Acne Scars?

Laser treatment for acne scars is one of the most searched online content concerning beauty. It is considered just a beam of light to make the acne disappear. Laser treatment is a very effective procedure to get rid of acne scars. However, this treatment varies among different people and is most effective for mild to moderate scars. People with very deep or excessive scarring should opt for other options.


Does Laser Treatment Cause Pain?

The laser treatment works by heating the hemoglobin inside the blood capillaries and removing the scars from the skin. The laser treatment is a lengthy procedure. In addition, it usually irritates the operated site during the treatment. However, the pain caused by the laser is minimal and subsides once the skin becomes used to it. After the entire session, generally, there is no pain.


Can Acne Scars Reappear After Laser Treatment?

Laser acne treatment usually produces permanent results, but the effects depend upon the severity of scarring and how well the skin responds to the treatment. Lasers act by making the already present scar less noticeable. But in some cases, the scar can reappear after some time which usually depends upon the treatment and varies among patients.


Does Laser Treatment Have Any Side Effects on the Face?

There are some side effects when you use laser treatment for pimples and pimple scars, and these side effects vary according to the kind of laser used or depending on the type of skin and the number of laser treatments you need. Laser treatment does not cause any significant harm to the skin. However, some mild side effects, such as redness and swelling, may resolve within a few hours or the next day. The side effect can be avoided by getting the treatment done by certified dermatologists who frequently use lasers.


How to Take Care of Skin After Laser Treatment?

The patient should follow some necessary steps to make the treatment most effective and long-lasting, which include -
- The patient should avoid direct sun exposure for a long time after laser treatment.
- The operated area should be gently cleaned with mild soaps in the initial phase.
- Cold compresses and ice packs can be used to reduce swelling and redness.
- Keep the skin moisturized.
- Avoid strong facial or beauty products after the laser treatment.


Can Laser Treatment Damage the Skin?

Laser treatment is in demand nowadays because youngsters prefer it, giving a quick response with minimal side effects. The damage caused by laser treatment is infrequent. But sometimes, it can cause the skin to become darker than before, known as laser resurfacing. These types of skin changes are more common in people with dark brown or black skin. Also, it can cause a risk of scarring.


Why Does Acne Reappear?

Acne scars are a dreadful disease. There can be multiple reasons for acne reappearance, which can be triggered by factors like hormone changes, specifically androgen, which stimulates sebum production. Other factors responsible for acne include genetics, diet, overuse of skin products, and environmental factors like pollution and different types of skin irritation.


Can Aloe Vera Be Used After Laser Treatment?

Aloe vera is used in multiple face products and helps to soothe and moisturize the face. Moreover, it can be used after the laser treatment as it relieves the stress from the skin, soothes the epidermal layer, and helps reduce redness and inflammation. It can be applied for a few days until the symptoms are gone.


What to Avoid Before Laser Treatment?

Some of the things that patients should avoid before going for laser treatment include -
- Do not exfoliate the skin at least one week before the treatment.
- Have to temporarily stop all types of creams or other daily skin care products.
- The patient should confirm with the doctor about the drugs or any allergies.
- Patients should avoid applying any kind of cream or lotion before treatment, such as anti- tanning creams.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol before treatment, as it can increase skin inflammation


Is Laser Better Than Botox?

Lasers and botox both are very effective in restoring the natural beauty of the person. It usually depends upon the situation or what is required. The laser provides long-lasting results and is a less invasive procedure than botox. Additionally, lasers are best for treating scars and skin discoloration. On the other hand, botox is more effective in treating wrinkles and other skin tightening procedures.


How Many Laser Sessions Are Required for the Face?

The laser treatment works by heating the hemoglobin inside the blood capillaries and removing the scars from the skin. The sessions entirely depend upon the case and may vary from person to person. In typical cases, there are usually six to eight sessions. People generally start to see the results after the third session.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
23 Dec 2022  -  4 min read




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