Best lasers for acne scars – to Angela

Hi Dr. Brandith, my name is Angela. I am sorry to bother you because you have a busy schedule. I have a question and will try make it quick. I have acne scars on my face. mostly due to picking. they are noticeable only close up. The hole like scars on my nose from blackheads really bother me. I still have acne but not as bad as when I was a teenager. I've researched that c02 laser works best with 1 treatment. I don't mind the long down time and I like that it lightens skin. But I don't want to do the c02 if its not necessary. would a fractional c02 laser remove my scars with 1 treatment? what laser treatment do you suggest? I saw that herpes is a risk of c02 laser. is this true? Thank you greatly!

Angela ….these are such good questions about the best lasers for acne scars.    And I truly wish I could answer everyone’s, because you all ask such good questions.   A couple of thoughts for you:

  • There truly is no single laser treatment that can fix acne scars in one treatment.  BUT……..the CO2 laser (fractionated now) is generally the most effective laser for acne scars, when done by a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who is experienced.   More realistic would be 2-4 treatments… get a really great improvement.   Often though these can be done over several years, if you aren’t in a hurry.   Remember it take 3-6 months to SEE the full improvement from one CO2 laser treatment.  More on CO2 lasers.
  • Getting herpes is NOT a a risk of CO2 laser treatments but……activating cold sores (herpes virus – usually type I) IS!!   Everyone having a CO2 or Fraxel on the face, who has a history of cold sores, needs treatment with oral antivirals (like valcyclovir or famcyclovir) just before the laser and during the recovery period.
  • It’s really important that both your acne and your picking be under good control for at least 6 months before a laser treatment.   There’s really no point in spending the time and money on a laser to just undo it with acne and picking.   Picking is a universal problem.  🙂   If your picking is continuous though, you may have a mild version of obsessive/compulsive disorder and may need some help with this.   Ask your doctor!

Hope this helps for the best lasers for acne scars,  Dr. I

Best Laser for Acne Scars

Best Laser for Acne Scars


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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

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