Management of acne scarring, part I: a comparative review of laser surgical approaches

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2012 Oct 1;13(5):319-30. doi: 10.2165/11598910-000000000-00000.


Acne scarring is the result of a deviation in the orderly pattern of healing and can have profound psychosocial implications for patients. While the most effective means of addressing acne scarring is to prevent its formation through good acne control, there are a number of therapeutic interventions that improve the appearance of acne scars. Many of these procedural modalities have flaws and are limited by operator skill and experience. Laser scar revision, on the other hand, is a precise, well tolerated procedure with clinically demonstrable efficacy and minimal adverse effects that may be used alone or in combination with other scar treatments. The last 20 years has seen a dramatic evolution in laser treatment of acne scars, spanning ablative and nonablative technologies, to the current popularity of fractional laser scar revision. Determining which laser system to use depends upon the type and severity of acne scarring, the amount of recovery a patient can tolerate, and the ultimate goals and expectations of each patient. The importance of proper acne scar classification, laser scar revision techniques, and the evidence that addresses each laser system is reviewed in this article.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Cicatrix / classification
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / surgery*
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Lasers, Dye / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use