Acne Scar Laser Treatment Options and Cost

Having pimples on your face or in other prominent spots was not annoying enough, there are often marks left behind in places where the pimples were. These marks can range from almost invisible pinkish spots to scars of all sizes.
By: paul profitt
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Cleveland - England

July 30, 2009 - PRLog -- It is estimated that up to 95% of people with acne have some sort of skin scarring. Generally the longer acne lesions persist, the more likely that some degree of scarring will occur.

Scarring happens when scar tissue replaces normal skin and skin structures. Many factors can influence the type of scar that will occur and the extent of scarring, such as genetics and skin pigmentation. If you have lesions that last a long time and have been picked at, they are more likely to leave a scar behind.

Unfortunately, acne scars can often last a lifetime, and many people choose to have them removed using one of the methods currently available for scar removal treatments.

Laser therapy for acne

Laser treatments can be divided into the ablative and non-ablative types. To ablate means to destroy. Ablative laser treatments are those that destroy skin tissue; non-ablative lasers are used on specific target cells and are not damaging the surrounding tissue.

Laser ablation for acne scarring - laser is used to burn off skin layers in a process similar to dermabrasion, but using laser beam, which is much more precise than mechanical abrasion. As with dermabrasion, skin is usually removed to the level of the papillary dermis. In this procedure, lasers generate a lots of heat. This heat stimulates tightening of the collagen and increased collagen production. This, along with regeneration of the epidermis, which is damaged during laser ablation procedure, results in improvement in skin appearance, making scars disappear or become less visible.

Some people experience increased pigmentation in the treated area following the procedure, but it usually goes away, and the discoloration becomes invisible after nine months to a year.

Advantage of this method over dermabrasion and other mechanical treatments is that the extent of destruction can be closely controlled and precisely focused; and bleeding is scarce.

Non-ablative skin resurfacing - including acne scar reduction - is a gentler alternative to ablative laser treatments, with no patient downtime and a low risk of complications for all skin types. Usually 4-8 sessions are needed to see maximal improvement. Sessions are scheduled at four- to six-week intervals. Each patient's skin responds differently to the treatment, so the degree of improvement is difficult to predict. Maximal improvement usually means 20 to 50 percent improvement at best.

The cost of the acne scar laser treatment depends on many factors, including the size of the scars, their severity, credentials of physicians and the geographic location. For a small scar expect to pay around $600 to $1500. More severe scar may require $3000 up to $6000.

So, what is the best laser treatment for acne scarring?

There is no single answer to this question. The type of treatment you choose should be the one that is best for you in terms of your type of skin, the price, and your expectations for the treatment. If your skin is prone to scar formation, there is the risk that some types of treatment may result in more scarring.

Before committing to treatment, select an experienced dermatology surgeon and ask him/her any questions that you may have about treatment options, length of downtime after treatment, risks and side-effects of the procedure, and how much improvement you can expect after the treatment. Have realistic expectations for the treatment. Although scar treatment will most likely improve the appearance of your skin, complete restoration to the way it looked before you had acne is often not possible.
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