Do acne laser treatments work?

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Do acne laser treatments work? A guide to acne laser treatments.

Acne is still one of the most prominent skin conditions in the globe. In fact, 95% of adolescents between the ages of 11-30 will suffer from acne. The skin condition is most prevalent across all genders between the ages of 14-19 years old.

Acne is a skin condition that can reduce and flare up throughout adolescence and into adulthood. It’s a skin condition that can come on at almost any without warning and has both emotional and mental effects as well as the obvious physical.

Often the result of hormonal changes in our bodies as we develop, it is common that with acne, confidence can decrease and awareness of your skin condition and eyes on you is heightened. That is why many teenagers and young adults consider acne treatments. As we grow up, our hormones change with our bodies, which can increase in hormones like testosterone, and encourage the sebum gland to produce more sebum oil. As this oil is overproduced, it can clog the pores on our skin and along with dead skin cells and dirt, create acne bumps from blocked hair follicles.

Acne can be treated. However, acne treatment programme soften take time and patience to identify the root cause and overcome the acne. These types of acne treatments range from both medical to surgical and also laser. Acne treatments vary depending on the severity and location of your acne. Usually, laser acne treatment is used when acne has resulted in scarring.


Some forms of acne result in acne scarring. If left untreated acne scarring can leave a lasting effect on the skin which is known as acne scarring. Dermatologists use laser acne treatment for mild-to-severe acne and acne scarring cases and also as a way of resurfacing the skin or removing the affected part of the skin. The acne laser treatment is used to reduce skin ‘pitting’ and uneven skin surfaces, but also helps with changes to skin pigment and inflammation as a result of acne scarring.

How laser acne treatment works is through the use of various types of lights to remove skin cells from the surface of your skin. This stimulates the reproduction of new cells and collagen on the skin. Through the use of laser beams directed at specific areas of your skin, the laser removes the acne-scarred skin creating an opportunity for new skin cell growth. This stimulates the natural healing of the skin and the reduction of oily blotches on your skin in order to remove scarring.

Acne scarring treatments tend to be part of an acne treatment programme that should be initiated once the original acne has been suppressed and isn’t flaring up. Laser acne treatment will require multiple sessions in order to help fully remove scar tissue from the outer layer of the skin.

During the healing process, your dermatologist is likely to recommend topical lotions and other medical acne treatments to ensure you’re supporting the healing of acne and the laser treatment to gain the best results from the laser treatment. They also might suggest a new skincare routine and encourage you to consume more water, which can help keep your skin more hydrated and rid the skin of toxins and dirt that is caused through daily life. Laser treatment can be a very effective treatment for acne scars, but the results can vary for different people. The treatment is most effective for mild to moderate scars, so if you have very deep or extensive scarring it may be necessary to look at other options like surgical excision instead.

Laser acne treatment can be up to 90% effective when it is used on mild to moderate acne scars
Most patients should expect at least a 50% improvement in the appearance of their scars
Additional treatments can be performed before or after the laser treatment to enhance the effects on deeper scars
The effects of laser treatment can vary a lot and there is no guarantee that the scars will be completely gone. In fact, it is impossible to eliminate an acne scar completely using this method. A certain amount of damage will remain, but when the treatment works well the scars will be much less visible. Other people might not be able to tell where your acne scars are and you should also find them much less visible.

Most people will see a noticeable improvement in their skin after laser treatment, so the scars should look smoother and be less obvious. In the best cases, the scars can almost completely disappear. However, you won’t see immediate results when you have laser treatment. It’s important to have realistic expectations about how your skin will look during treatment and what kind of results you can expect in the long term. The results of laser treatment will take some time to appear. Since the treatment works by re-surfacing your skin, you should expect your skin to look rough and red after each treatment session.

Some of the common side effects after laser treatment include:

The surface of the skin will appear rough and damaged after each treatment session, but it should heal within 3-10 days
Some redness can persist for up to a couple of months after the skin has healed
The skin colour can look a little different after laser treatment, but this is usually only temporary
There is a risk of skin infections, but serious infections are rare, and the risk can be minimised by following your dermatologist’s skincare instructions
Once the treatment is complete and the side effects have faded, you should be able to see some changes in your skin. However, it can take up to 18 months for the full effects to become apparent. Your skin will need time to heal and produce new collagen in order to create a new, smoother surface where the scars have been treated.

How well your skin heals will depend on the depth of the scar, but it can also vary from person to person. The best results are expected when the scars are shallow and there is plenty of elasticity in the skin. If the scar can be stretched by gently pulling on the surrounding skin, this is a sign that it is likely to heal well after laser treatment.

Since the results can be different for everyone, it is important to discuss laser treatment with a trustworthy and experienced dermatologist before deciding if it is right for you.

Find out more about acne treatments

If you need help treating Acne, you may benefit by seeking professional assistance. The expertise and qualifications held by our consultants allow us to offer the highest quality private dermatology consultations, treatments and skin surgery. 

Dermatologists in London


There are multiple light and laser beams that are used by dermatologists to treat your acne scarring. These are:

Blue & Red Light Acne Treatment

A common form of acne light treatment that has the least impact on your acne. This form of treatment does not help with acne pimples, blemishes or blackheads on the skin. This treatment is effective at removing multiple bacterias that clog your pores. Studies show a 77% improvement with this laser acne treatment.

PDT Acne Treatment

Photodynamic Therapy, also known as (PDT) which makes the skin sensitive to light. This use of light treatment for acne is used for up to 3 hours depending on the severity of the acne and is used as a pre-treatment before using laser acne treatment on the skin.


re are three types of acne laser treatment commonly used by dermatologist acne clinics. These include:

Ablative Acne Laser Treatment

Ablative acne laser treatment removes small layers of skin surrounding the acne scar which allows the skin to grow back, free of scarring or tenseness. The skin comes back smoother and blemish-free, but is only used on deeper acne scarring that doesn’t need surgical procedures.

Non-Ablative Acne Laser Treatment

Non-ablative acne laser treatment stimulates skin collagen production. This type of acne scarring treatment does not remove any skin cells – it is more for the use of skin cell regeneration and used in milder forms of acne scarring that do not require surgical procedures.

Fractionated Acne Laser Treatment

Fractionated laser acne treatment is similar to non-ablative laser treatment as it does not remove any skin cells. It does, however, break down the skin that cells that are causing blemishes and colour differences. This is used to help the skin regenerate to its natural colour and remove redness and blotchy skin colour from acne scarring.

More information on the types of acne laser treatment >>


Acne laser treatments can be a very effective method to treating more severe cases of acne and acne scarring. Depending on the type of acne laser treatment you have, some will remove skin cells, while others stimulate collagen production.

Acne scars tend to come in 3 forms. These are:

Boxcar Acne Scarring

Boxcar acne scarring creates divots also known as craters on the skin. This creates a bump and uneven skin surface.

Ice Pick Acne Scarring

Ice pick scars are advancements of boxcar scars, creating deeper holes in the skin. These create deeper crevices resulting in some creases in the skin.

Rolling Acne Scarring

Rolling acne scars creates a thickened scar tissue that creates the rippling effect that causes acne wrinkles and skin creases

In treating these types of acne scarring, results will naturally vary. You should also consider other factors, such as your age, your diet, your water consumption and your exercise pattern. Whilst these considerations do not have a direct correlation to your acne skin condition in isolation, they naturally build up a profile of how healthy your skin is and how effective laser acne treatments can be in relation to your skin health.

In short, however, acne laser treatment is known to improve acne skin scarring by at least 50%. When used on milder forms of acne, laser acne treatment tends to be between 90-100% successful in the reduction and healing of acne scarring. It must be noted, however, that this is on a case-by-case basis and 100% is an indicative number.


When considering acne lasering as your choice of acne treatment, you should consider the severity of your acne. For those who suffer from stronger forms of acne, managing your expectations is key.

It is true that acne treatments are very effective and can certainly help with at least reducing your acne in some way or form, however, the treatment and form of laser acne treatment you need/use will result in varied results.

Naturally, ablative, being a more intrusive laser treatment, tends to yield permanent results as the skin cells are being removed to allow for skin regeneration. However, non-ablative forms of acne laser treatment yield either permanent or at least long-term results that must be managed closely by the patient over time.


If you have tried home remedies or other avenues to cure your acne but it still persists, you may benefit from visiting a consultant dermatologist. Learn more about how our experts could assist you with acne treatment, or please feel free to get in touch with our team today. 

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