Laser Resurfacing & Chemical Peels | Miami, FL
What Is The Best Treatment For Acne Scars
Both laser resurfacing and chemical peels are viable options for old acne scars. They both work by penetrating through the superficial layer of skin to result in collagen remodeling. It is the remodeling of collagen which ultimately results in significant aesthetic changes to the overlying skin. Each procedure has its strengths and limitations.
Laser Resurfacing & Chemical Peels
Let’s first discuss laser resurfacing. There exists essentially two types of resurfacing options for laser resurfacing for acne scars—traditional ablative lasers and fractionated lasers. Traditional ablative lasers essentially remove the entire upper layers of skin in order to penetrate deep into the collagen layers. The down time with these lasers on average ranges from one week to ten days. Given that these lasers take a more aggressive approach to skin resurfacing, the effects from one treatment are more dramatic. The issue one has to weigh with these traditional lasers is the old adage: the risk the greater the reward. Our understanding of modern lasers has decreased the incidence of complications from fully ablative lasers, but there still exists a higher risk ratio and longer downtime when compared to fractionated lasers. Fractionated lasers are lasers where microscopic ‘holes’ are made in the skin (between which lies normal skin) allowing the laser to penetrate deep into the skin while decreasing the risks and downtime. The drawback from these lasers is that the effects from a single treatment may not be as significant. I often see patients who have had a previous fractionated laser treatment and have been disappointed with the results. “It did not do anything,” is often their complaint. After explaining the expectations from a single treatment in certain areas of the face, I often bring clarity to their concerns. When performing laser resurfacing, I will tailor the settings of the laser according to where in the face I am treating and the degree of scarring present in certain areas. Also, expectations need to be realistically presented. I assess each patient, determining their skin type, type of acne scars present, and the location of the scars. Depending on these factors multiple procedures may be indicated to ultimately attain desirable outcomes. The laser resurfacing procedure can thus be fine-tuned accordingly adjusting the setting of the laser and the type of laser.
Therein lies the advantage of laser resurfacing versus chemical peels. Chemical peels work by penetrating the skin as well, but their application is uniform throughout the face and treated areas. Although the mechanism by which chemical peels is in essence the same as lasers—collagen remodeling—the latter affords more of a tailored approach.