Laser Scar Removal: Which Types of Scars Can It Treat?

Laser treatment is a popular method for scar removal that satisfies many patients.

In theory, you know your scars are simply another aspect of your beauty. In reality, you might be tired of looking in the mirror and seeing those permanent reminders of teenage acne, an old injury, or the chickenpox you had as a kid.

Luckily, there are ways of making those scars less visible. If you’re wondering whether or not laser treatment is an option for you, here’s a guide to the types of scars that lasers can treat.

Raised Scars from Surgery, Piercings, or Other Trauma

Your body has lots of built-in mechanisms for healing itself. Unfortunately, sometimes it gets a little carried away.

When traumas like surgery, body piercings, or blisters injure the skin, the body can sometimes heal too aggressively, producing an excess amount of skin to close up the injury site.

When this happens, a keloid scar can form. Keloids are firm, raised scars that appear red or purplish in color. They can grow over time, and if keloid scars get big enough, they may even start to hamper your movement.

Another type of raised scarring includes hypertrophic scars, which form like keloids. Hypertrophic scars stay close to the site of the injury, whereas keloid scars extend to a larger area of skin. Hypertrophic scars usually look pink, and they can fade over time.

Laser therapy can help flatten both keloid and hypertrophic scars and reduce the redness, making them less prominent.

Acne scars

Acne scars can be raised or pitted. Most people get pitted scars after a bad bout of acne, which means the acne leaves little indentations in the skin.

There are various types of acne scars, including ice pick, boxcar, and rolling scars. Depending on the severity of your acne and how well your skin heals naturally, your acne scars may be barely noticeable or be large and deep enough to make you self-conscious.

Laser treatments can help close up your pitted acne scars and reduce their size.

The laser uses light to poke tiny holes in the skin and stimulate your skin’s growth to fill in the depressions on your skin for a smoother, more even look. This approach can also work for other types of pitted scars, like those left over from chickenpox.

Burn scars

Burn scars can be tricky to get rid of, but lasers can help. For example, the pulsed dye laser targets damaged blood vessels in your skin, reducing redness and inflammation by focusing on a tiny area at a time.

Other lasers use light and heat therapy or poke holes and stimulate the growth of new, healthy collagen in place of the burned skin.

Laser Therapy Safety & Care

Laser therapy is generally a very safe procedure, but there is a chance that it will not be effective for people with certain skin conditions. Patients with certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, or cystic acne should speak with their dermatologist prior to having laser treatment.

Also, some forms of laser therapy aren’t recommended for people with darker skin types – though more options are opening up all the time.

If you decide laser treatment is for you, you may want to make a few small adjustments to your lifestyle leading up to the procedure. For example:

  • If you take acne medication like isotretinoin, your dermatologist may suggest you wait until you are off the medication for 3-6 months before your laser treatment, depending on the type of treatment.
  • Limit sun exposure because laser treatment works best on skin that’s not sunburned or too tan.
  • Inform your dermatologist if you’re prone to cold sores and if you’re taking any vitamins or supplements.

Meeting with your dermatologist ahead of time for a consultation will take care of any other loose ends and prepare you for moving forward with laser scar removal.


Do you have more questions about laser scar removal?

Our experienced dermatology providers in NY, NJ, PA, and CT can address your concerns and advise you on the best treatment options for your skin.

Call Schweiger Dermatology Group at (844) DERM-DOC to schedule a consultation today. To find a location near you, check out our location pages.

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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