Got Acne Scars? These Lasers Will Legit Make Them Disappear

Sure, topical skincare products (like vitamin C serums, glycolic acid peels, and retinol creams) can sloooowly help reduce the appearance of acne scars with months and months of consistent use, but if you really want to get rid of your acne scars and the dark spots and marks that linger post-breakout? You’ll need to try a professional laser treatment for acne scars. Ask any dermatologist and I guarantee they’ll agree: Lasers are the most efficient and effective way to treat acne scars, from pitted scars to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Ahead, everything you need to know about lasers for acne scars straight from the experts, including how they work, what to expect from a treatment, and the best lasers for every type of acne scarring and skin tone.

Meet the experts:

What are the main types of acne scars?

Before we can talk about the different lasers available for treating acne scars, we need to talk about the specific types of acne scars and marks that people commonly experience post-breakout. Ahead, a quick breakdown on the three main kinds:

Atrophic acne scars:

These are the acne scars that look like hollow indents in the skin, says dermatologist Rachel Maiman, MD. “This concave appearance is due to a sudden loss of collagen, which is a result of inflammation that occurred at the time the acne lesion was active.” Atrophic, or “pitted” acne scars, can be classified into three categories: ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars:

In general, all of these types of acne scarring tend to be the result of cystic acne, not your average tiny bump that disappears after a few days.

Hypertrophic acne scars:

These scars appear as raised bumps, like keloids, on the face as a result of scar tissue buildup, says dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD. “Most often, hypertrophic scarring occurs in patients with darker skin tones and can be a result from mild acne like whiteheads to more severe like cystic acne.” In some cases, patients may experience keloid scars that are more prominent and long-lasting than the acne that caused them.

Post-inflammation hyperpigmentation:

These types of acne scars are marks or spots that occur when acne like whiteheads, pustules, and/or cysts triggers an inflammatory response that produces an excess of pigment, resulting in patches and spots that are darker than your natural skin tone, says Dr. Hartman.

“Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation appears most common in patients with darker skin tones since dark skin has additional melanin in the skin,” says Dr. Hartman. These scars and marks are also common in patients who tend to pop their pimples or pick their acne, which triggers and inflammatory response in the skin.

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