Treatment of acne scarring with fractional CO2 laser

J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2012 Aug;14(4):162-5. doi: 10.3109/14764172.2012.699679.


Background: Fractional ablative CO(2) laser therapy is based on the theory of fractional photothermolysis. It can be effective in treating acne scars in a less invasive fashion than conventional ablative CO(2) laser therapy.

Objective: In this clinical study, the safety and efficacy of a novel CO(2) fractional ablative laser was investigated for the treatment of facial atrophic acne scarring in Chinese individuals.

Materials and methods: A total of 31 patients (11 females, 20 males, Fitzpatrick skin phototypes III-IV) with facial acne scarring received three sequential fractional treatments over a 6-month period. Outcome measurements included blinded evaluations of before and after photographs by two physicians at 3 and 12 months after the final treatment. Global improvement was noted as well as any untoward events.

Results: At the 12 months follow-up time period, 12.9% of the patients showed excellent improvement in their acne scars, while 38.71% noted good to fair results. The clinical response at the 12-month follow-up visit tended to be better than at the 3-month follow-up visit, but was not statistically significant. Four patients experienced post-treatment and transient PIH but three patients were noted to have prolonged erythema. There was no evidence hypopigmentation or worsening of the scarring in any of the study patients.

Conclusion: This high-energy pulsed and cool-scanned fractional ablative CO(2) laser system is safe and effective for facial atrophic acne scarring. Improvement in scarring was noted in the majority of patients with minimal discomfort and minimal downtime. Continued improvement over time is also an important clinical finding.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • China
  • Cicatrix / etiology*
  • Cicatrix / radiotherapy*
  • Cosmetic Techniques / adverse effects
  • Cosmetic Techniques / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Gas / adverse effects
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / adverse effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Young Adult