A new study indicates that the laser used in tattoo removal can fix facial scars caused by acnes. A device called picosecond pulse duration was tested on 17 people who had facial acne scars. The result showed that scars improved by 25 to 50 percent one month and the improvement maintained during three months later, according to the researchers. And the patients were extremely satisfied with the treatment, which was produced by Cynosure company.
The advantage of the laser was found by accident when researchers were conducting a separate trial using laser to remove tattoos. They noticed that stretch marks and scars of one woman improved while they were conducting tattoo removal, so they decided to study how the laser would fix acne scars.
Another device, called fractional ablative laser, has been used as a standard for treating deep-seated acne scarring. The device has harsher impacts on the skin than the device tested as after using it, it takes a month to heal, according to Dr. Jeremy A. Brauer, a dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center in New York.
Even though both lasers are effective for treating acne-scarring, which one should be chosen depends on the patient’s skin type, scarring, healing time… When people use the fractional ablative laser, actually their parts of skin will be removed, while it doesn’t happen with the other laser. Brauer also added that the laser tested takes less time to heal acne scarring, compared with the fractional ablative laser.
For picosecond laser, patients don’t have to spend much time on multiple sessions, so it’s a great choice for those who want a “quicker treatment”. However, people who have deep-seated acne scarring, they should choose the fractional ablative laser.
The fractional ablative laser costs more per treatment than the picosecond pulse duration laser but if the patient would like to perform fewer fractional ablative treatments, the costs of the two lasers may be the same.
Having been approved for tattoo removal, the device has been submitted to the FDA for an approval on using it for acne-treating purpose. Once the treatment becomes popular, it’s necessary for patients to be aware of potential scars and change in pigmentation, Brauer said. In the new study, no worsening of the participants’ scarring was observed, instead of that, researchers saw an improvement in the patients’ skin texture and skin pigment.
The study also found the side effects of the laser treatment which were redness and swelling that can last from a few hours to two days after each application. When the patients were asked to rate the pain of the treatment on a scale from 0 to 10, they marked 3 on average, Brauer said. Each of them was always requested anesthesia before treatment.
The new study was published on 19 November, in the journal JAMA Dermatology.