Laser Treatments for Acne

Laser Treatments and Acne

Acne marks, blemishes and skin discolourations are commonly encountered once your acne has resolved. They can take the form of dark marks, called pigmented acne marks, or red acne marks. Laser treatments and acne treatments are safe, effective and affordable.

Pigmented acne marks are due to a built of of melanin within the skin, whereas red acne scars are a result of inflammation and blood vessels within the scarred area. Most of these conditions take several months to resolve on their own. Laser treatment utilises a specific wavelength to precisely treat these conditions.

Laser treatments and acne management firstly focuses on  controlling the active stages of acne, reducing inflammation with maintenance treatments, and finally treating acne scars once the condition has stabilised.

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Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Laser treatment for Pigmented Acne Scars

Acne marks can appear as brown blemishes on the skin as the acne resolves. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and is more common in individuals with a darker skin type. PIH may takes at least 9-12 months to resolve on its own. The treatment of PIH involves protecting your skin against too much UV light. Lightening creams may be effective in some cases.

For resistant cases of PIH, Lasers to remove pigmentation is the next step. The Laser Pigment Removal treatment is effective at targeting  the melanin in the skin, reducing the appearance of pigmentation over time. Multiple treatments are needed to give the best results.

post acne red marks pulsed dye laser treatment
Post-inflammatory Erythema

Laser treatment for Red Acne Scars

Red acne scars are commonly seen once the acne process has resolved, leaving behind a flat pink to red mark on the skin's surface. This is called post-inflammatory erythema (PIE), and occurs due to an increase of blood vessel supply to the area. The word erythema is derived from the Greek word Erythros, meaning red. PIE may take several months to fade away.

The Pulsed Dye Laser treatment uses a special laser of 585mm wavelength, that specifically targets the haemoglobin within the red scar area. This reduces the blood vessel supply to the scarred area and the appearance of redness in a much shorter time. 

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Carbon Peel Laser

The Carbon Peel Laser is a versatile treatment for all skin types, and can help with a variety of skin conditions. It gently exfoliates the skin, improves skin texture, reduces pore size, oil secretion and helps fight acne. 

The Carbon Peel Laser utilises a carbon suspension that is applied onto the skin to deliver controlled energy to the dermis of the skin. A Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser is delivered over the carbon suspension, creating a photo-thermal and photo-acoustic effect. Over time, this enables collagen synthesis, pores to tighten, acne to clear and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Can Lasers be used on dark skin?

Lasers are highly specific in their treatment in a wide range of dermatological conditions. The specific wavelength of laser used ensures that collateral damage to the surrounding skin is minimized. 

Laser treatments and acne scar management are safe in all skin types, even in darker skin individuals. However, we advise sun protection and the regular use of a sunblock when on a Laser program.

How long does it take for me to recover after Laser treatment?

With current laser technology, social downtime is minimal. The procedure is virtually painless, and well-tolerated by most individuals.

There may be slight swelling or redness to the treated area, which fades quickly in a matter of hours.

Make up can usually be applied the very next day.

How many treatment session would I need to see improvement?

This depends on your scar type, skin type and healing capacity.

Generally, 5-10 treatment sessions may be required to see the best results.

It is vital to treat any existing acne at the same time, otherwise the acne scars would just reappear once the treated ones have healed.

 

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Treatments combined with Laser for acne scars

Laser treatments and acne scars revision technique can be effectively combined to create a synergistic effect. The most common type of acne scarring is mixed acne scarring. Matching the different acne scar types with specific treatments is important. We often combine subcision, TCA CROSS, dermal fillers and INFINI Acne Scars Resurfacing to deliver the best results.

 

More Information:

  • Acne - American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Acne - British Association of Dermatologists.

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References:

  1. Seaton E, Charakida A, Mouser P.  et al.  Pulsed-dye laser treatment for inflammatory acne vulgaris: randomised controlled trial.  Lancet.2003;362:1347-1352.
  2. Patel N, Clement M. Selective nonablative treatment of acne scarring with 585nm flashpump pulsed dye laser.  Dermatol Surg.2002;28:942-945.
  3. Kim S, Cho KH. Treatment of procedure-related postinflammatory hyperpigmentation using 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser with low fluence in Asian patients: report of five cases. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2010 Dec. 9(4):302-6. 
  4.  Cho SB, Park SJ, Kim JS, Kim MJ, Bu TS. Treatment of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation using 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser with low fluence: report of three cases. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2009;23:1026–7.
  5. Jae Yoon Jung et al.Prospective randomized controlled clinical and histopathological study of acne vulgaris treated with dual mode of quasi-long pulse and Q-switched 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser assisted with a topically applied carbon suspension. Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. 2012: 66(4):626-633