Best Treatments for Acne Scars

Woman with clear skin

How to remove acne scars? From lasers to fillers, here are the top treatments we offer at SDG that deliver real results:

  • Factional CO2 Laser
  • Fraxel® laser
  • KTP laser
  • Vbeam® laser
  • Fillers
  • F.A.S.T.®

Fractional CO2 Laser – Aggressive but Extremely Effective

The best lasers for the treatment of acne scars are the fractionated resurfacing lasers. The fractional CO2 laser therapy is the most aggressive laser acne scar treatment available today and produces excellent results in one treatment.

The fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser is an effective laser for the treatment of acne scars. The newer “fractional” technology treats only a fraction of the skin, leaving healthy intact skin surrounding the treatment area. This allows for fast healing and very safe treatments for most skin types. The fractional CO2 laser pokes small microscopic holes in the deeper layers of the skin. This process leads to the generation of new, healthy collagen to smooth out the acne scars. Improvement in acne scars can be seen in as early as one week following the fractional CO2 laser treatment. Improvements in acne scarring will continue for up to six months following the initial treatment.

Depending on the laser, fractional CO2 lasers usually have about 3-6 days of downtime after the procedure. During this time, the skin is healing from the wound the laser caused in order to stimulate collagen remodeling. During the healing period, we often recommend patients apply Aquaphor® ointment to speed up recovery time.

Fraxel® Laser – Reduced Recovery Time

Fraxel® laser is the most well-known example of a fractional erbium glass laser; because the term Fraxel® is more well-known, we will refer to this laser as the Fraxel®. The Fraxel® is a non-ablative fractional laser treatment that is often used in the treatment of acne scarring. It is named the “Fraxel” since it only treats a small fraction of the skin each visit, leaving healthy skin between the treatment areas in order to decrease healing time. The Fraxel® laser uses microscopic columns of laser energy to penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers in order to stimulate your body’s own healing process. This stimulates the body to produce healthy collagen in order to repair the damaged skin. The Fraxel® treatment can smooth out acne scars in addition to treating the red and brown marks often left behind after acne lesions. The Fraxel® laser does not break the skin so it has less downtime than the fractional CO2 laser, but usually requires four treatments instead of one.

KTP Laser – Reduces Redness

The KTP laser is used to treat many causes of redness on the face, including blood vessels, rosacea and post-inflammatory erythema (the redness left behind after acne). KTP is an abbreviation for potassium titanyl-phosphate, though the laser is commonly called the KTP laser. The KTP laser can significantly improve red acne scars after one to three treatments. It is not painful and there is no downtime after the treatments. Some improvement is seen very soon after the treatment and some improvement is seen in the weeks after the initial treatment. The KTP laser targets the hemoglobin (red) areas on the skin. The energy of the KTP laser causes the blood vessels just below the skin’s surface to collapse. The collapsing of the blood vessels decreases the red appearance of the acne scars left behind after the acne clears.

Vbeam Laser – Reduced Redness from Recent Breakouts

Yes, the Vbeam® laser can be used to treat red marks from recent acne. The Vbeam® works similarly to the KTP laser, and they are both vascular lasers. This means that the Vbeam® targets the hemoglobin (red cells) in the skin, which causes the tiny blood vessels that contribute to the appearance of redness to collapse.

Things to Consider when Choosing Laser Acne Scar Removal

As you consider your options for acne scar removal here are some addition considerations to support the treatment that best suits your needs or advise you on any questions you may want to ask your dermatologist:

  • Results – Laser treatment of acne scars stimulates new collagen production in the skin, to smooth out the skin’s surface. The results are permanent.
  • Downtime
  • Alternative of Dermal Fillers – Dermal fillers can be used to treat acne scars temporarily. Fillers, such as Restylane®, Juvederm® and Perlane®, can be injected directly into the pitted area. They help to add volume where volume has been lost from scarring, and can often even out pitted rolling scars. However, dermal fillers do not actually change the scars, they merely camouflage them. Dermal fillers are a great quick fix, but the results last only six to twelve months. For patients who don’t mind the upkeep, dermal fillers may be a good option for the treatment of acne scars.
  • F.A.S.T. Procedure – The F.A.S.T.® procedure for acne scars targets localized areas of acne scarring, rather than treating the entire face. F.A.S.T.® is an acronym for Focal Acne Scar Treatment. Traditional methods of fractional CO2 laser resurfacing for acne scars utilized “medium” strength energy over the entire face. Dr. Schweiger developed F.A.S.T.® as a method of treating acne scars with higher energy levels, but having a shorter healing time. The F.A.S.T.® procedure uses the “fraction of a fraction” idea; not only is the laser fractionated, but only a fraction of the skin is being treated at a time. Results have been excellent, with most patients seeing between 50-70% improvement of their acne scars with just 3-4 days of downtime.

You don’t have to live with acne scars. Contact us today to schedule a consult with one of our board-certified dermatology providers and get on the road to a scar-free complexion. Call 844-DERM-DOC or email us at

Suggested Additional Reading

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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