Is a fractionated CO2 laser safe on darker skin types to treat acne scarring?

Hi Dr Irwin I was just browsing your website doign research on Fractionated CO2 lasers. I see it mentiond that it can be adjusted on more darker skin types to be safe. Can you elaborate if this is a viable and safe option for treatment of acne scars (ice pick/rolling types) on darker skin types? I see various websites listing CO2 as not safe on darker skin types though so i am curious if you can shed some more light on how it works on darker skin types and what are potential complications and recovery times especially for acne scars

Thank you for asking this.  The answer is yes with some restrictions.  First, you must go to an expert who has a lot of experience because the right settings really matter.  They need to be adjusted for your skin type and, as a result, you may need more than one treatment.  But used correctly, these lasers can be very helpful for acne scarring in Skin Types III-VI (please see my last post).  Fractionated lasers are not all created equally and some are way more customizable than others.  I recommend looking for a Dermatologist with a DEKA DOT or the Lumenis Active/Deep FX.   Also, your dermatologist may want to treat you before and after for a period of time with a hydroquinone based cream.  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!