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Laser Treatment for Pimples and Pimple Scars

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Laser Treatment for Pimples and Pimple Scars

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Laser treatments for pimple and pimple scars are done if the topical treatments are not effective. Read the article to know more about it.

Written by

Dr. Suvash Sahu

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At April 27, 2017
Reviewed AtMarch 15, 2024


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, one needs to deal with pimples, and now there are scar marks as a reminder. Laser treatment for acne scars is one of the most searched online content about 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 the hemoglobin inside the blood capillaries and removing 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 will be 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 laser's heat, the blood flow is drawn to the area, and the inflammation is reduced. Hence, this makes the acne scar look less raised by giving it a smaller appearance. It also helps in the healing of the skin.

What Are the Targeted Areas in Laser Treatments?

While lasers for acne scarring are commonly used on the face, they can also be employed on other areas prone to acne scars. These areas include the arms, back, upper torso, and neck.

What Are the Different Types of Lasers Used in the Treatment of 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 is 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 resurfacing lasers 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. 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, which 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 improves acne scars.

DIODE 1450 nm:

This diode is absorbed by tissue water, which is its principal chromophore. It penetrates to the depth of the papillary dermis, where, on its absorption, it induces thermal injury up to 400 to 500 micrometers in the form of dermal healing. This thermal profile matches the anatomic depth of sebaceous glands, leading to thermal injury and 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.

How Many Sessions Are Typically Required?

The number of sessions required for laser treatment to address pimples and acne scars can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of laser used. However, it is common for patients to undergo multiple sessions, usually ranging from 3 to 6 sessions, spaced several weeks apart, to achieve optimal results.

What Is the Duration of Laser Acne Scar Removal?

Each laser session typically lasts less than an hour. The effectiveness of treatment may not be immediately evident, but patients should observe reductions in acne scar appearance within 7-10 days.

What Are the Benefits of Laser Treatment?

  • Bloodless Procedure: People who are scared of blood can choose this treatment to get their acne scars treated.

  • Safer for All Skin Types: Whether the person is light-skinned, dark-toned, or somewhere in between, CO2 laser therapy works well for all patients of all ages.

  • Resolve Deep Scars and Pits: It not only helps with superficial and shallow scars but also with deep indentations. By triggering collagen regeneration, the treatment can tighten the skin and give a taut appearance that complements facial features.

  • It is less harsh than the traditional methods.

  • 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 Can Be Anticipated Following the Procedure?

After treatment, the ASDS dermatologist will dress the treated area. Patients should clean it after 24 hours and then four to five times daily, applying petroleum jelly to prevent scabbing. Expect swelling for 24 to 48 hours, itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours, and skin peeling within five to seven days. Healing typically takes 10 to 21 days, during which oil-free makeup should be used, sun exposure avoided, and moisturizer applied to the new skin.

What Are the Side Effects of Laser Treatment?

There are some side effects when using 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 the person needs.

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 a person to get acne, which cannot be resolved by self-treatment. So, one may need a treatment like a laser treatment, which can provide the person 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.
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Dr. Suvash Sahu
Dr. Suvash Sahu



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