Laser Treatment for Acne Scars: All You Need To Know

Acne scars affect millions of people across the UK, and it is estimated that 85% of adolescents and about 40-50% of adults suffer from acne globally. While scarring as a result of acne is not life-threatening, it can seriously impact the self-confidence of individuals as well as increase stress and social anxiety. In recent years, laser for acne scars has been used with increasing frequency to treat acne scarring and eliminate stubborn scars that cannot be repaired with topical treatments.

What Are Acne Scars?

Acne scars occur when the original spot or cyst penetrates the skin so deeply that it damages the skin and tissue behind it. As a result of this, the body works to heal the damage by producing collagen in order to reverse the damage but in some cases, there can be too little or too much which in turn causes scarring.

Types of Acne Scars?

There is no singular way to describe an acne scar, they show up differently depending on unique factors linked to the individual such as skin tone and severity of their acne.


Atrophic scars are indented in the skin and are often a result of little to no tissue regeneration during the repairing process meaning the scar heals underneath the usual skin tissue layer. Depending on the shape and size, atrophic scars can either be labeled as an ice pick, boxcar, or rolling.


Contrary to atrophic scars, hypertrophic scars are thick scars that are raised on the skin. In this case, there is extra tissue formation during the healing process which causes the raised scar. Hypertrophic scars are commonly mistaken for keloids, however, hypertrophic scars tend to stay within the wound area whereas keloids extend beyond and can grow significantly in size.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Commonly known as PIH for short, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs as a result of increased melanin production after inflammation of the skin. Unlike other acne scars, they’re not raised nor indented but generally flat spots of hyper-coloration. Whilst PIH is more prevalent in darker skin tones, it can affect many acne sufferers regardless of skin type and the colour can range from red to dark brown.

Types Of Acne Scar Lasers

In recent years, there have been more and more options available for patients seeking acne scars laser treatment. Whilst some topical treatments claim to repair the damage caused by acne scarring, in more moderate to severe cases, acne scarring laser treatment can be a great option.

Ablative Laser Resurfacing

Ablative lasers work by delivering energy through a narrow range of wavelengths in the target area which causes an elevation in temperature, resulting in tissue ablation. The purpose of laser resurfacing acne scars through ablation is to remove all or part of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing process to replace the damaged skin with new and healthy tissue.

Fractional Non-Ablative Laser Treatment

Non-ablative laser skin treatments seek to improve the appearance of mild acne scarring through the generation of heat in the skin but without injuring the skin surface. Through the rise in temperature, the process of new collagen production is stimulated without tissue evaporation or ablation, meaning there is reduced post-treatment downtime.

IPL for Acne Scars

IPL can be a good option when looking to laser acne scars depending on the type of scarring that needs to be treated. For both acne and scarring, IPL is a non-invasive solution to treating redness and pigmentation within the skin in order to improve skin appearance.

How Acne Scars Treatment Works

There are many different options when it comes to acne scar treatments and the chosen technology/treatment will dictate how the specific procedure goes. The commonality between the different acne scarring laser treatments is that in most cases, an individual will need a course of sessions in order to see a significant improvement in skin tone, texture and overall look.

Whilst there is the possibility to see an improvement in acne scarring from the first session, it’s generally recommended to work with your practitioner on a mid-long term basis to achieve optimal results. As with all skin treatments, it is integral that everyone has a consultation with a licensed professional beforehand to agree on the best approach for their unique circumstance.

Acne Scars Laser Treatment Side Effects

As with all laser treatments, there can be some side effects however the risks may be slightly different depending on the option chosen and each individual’s skin type and health.


Post-treatment redness is common in many laser treatments for acne scars, however, this is generally temporary and should subside up to 10 days after the session.


Swelling is another typical side effect when undergoing laser resurfacing for acne scars, similarly to redness, this is a temporary side effect. If there is prolonged swelling after treatment, then it’s integral to reach out to a medical professional.

Pigmentary change

With using a laser to treat acne scarring, though rare, there is always a risk of hyper and hypopigmentation. Therefore, it’s essential to discuss the risk factors associated with each individual case before going ahead with treatment.

Why Are Lasers the Most Useful Way to Treat Acne Scars?

Although it requires a higher investment than topical acne scar solutions, laser treatment for acne scars is becoming one of the most popular and reliable ways of treating acne scars due to it’s efficacy and impressive patient results. Lumenis™ offers a range of skin solutions that effectively target and treat acne scarring regardless of patient skin type and severity. Our gold-standard portfolio of laser technology includes ResurFX™ which is the only non-ablative fractional laser system to include CoolScan™ for maximum patient comfort and results in fantastic results on acne scars. The UltraPulse® also boasts an exceptional ratio between ablation and coagulation (heating tissue without evaporating it) using CO2 ablative technologies to dramatically decrease even very deep scars as well as improve the overall skin tone.

With all this in mind, for individuals looking to improve the appearance of acne scarring, laser treatment should be kept in mind as a strong option. Both safe and efficient, having a consultation with a laser practitioner can be the first step towards reaching a solution that will achieve the desired results. To locate the closest clinic to you offering Lumenis treatments, click here.

About Lumenis
Lumenis is a global leader in the field of minimally-invasive clinical solutions for the Surgical, Ophthalmology, and Aesthetic markets, and is a world-renowned expert in developing and commercializing innovative energy-based technologies, including Laser, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Radio-Frequency (RF). For 50 years, Lumenis’ ground-breaking products have redefined medical treatments and have set numerous technological and clinical gold-standards. Lumenis has successfully created solutions for previously untreatable conditions, as well as designed advanced technologies that have revolutionized existing treatment methods. visit: