Ablative non-fractional lasers for atrophic facial acne scars: a new modality of erbium:YAG laser resurfacing in Asians

Lasers Med Sci. 2014 Mar;29(2):615-9. doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1372-8. Epub 2013 Jun 21.


Atrophic facial scars which commonly occur after inflammatory acne vulgaris can be extremely disturbing to patients both physically and psychologically. Treatment with fractional laser devices has become increasingly popular, but there has been disappointment in terms of effectiveness. The objective of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of ablative full-face resurfacing on atrophic acne scars in the Korean population. A total of 22 patients, aged 25-44 years, underwent a new modality of resurfacing combining both short-pulsed and dual-mode erbium:yttrium-aluminum garnet (Er:YAG) laser. The patients had Fitzpatrick skin types ranging from III to V. Photographs were taken before and up to 6 months after treatment. Results were evaluated for the degree of clinical improvement and any adverse events. Degree of improvement was graded using a four-point scale: poor (1) = <25%, fair (2) = 25-50%, good (3) = 51-75%, and excellent (4) = >75%. Based on the blinded photo assessments by two independent reviewers, clinically and statistically significant mean improvement of 3.41 was observed (one-sample Wilcoxon signed rank test, P < 0.001). Complete wound healing occurred between 6 and 9 days. Erythema occurred in all patients and lasted longer than 3 months in two patients (9.1%). Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation occurred in ten patients (45.5%) and lasted longer than 3 months in one patient (4.5%). One patient experienced mild hypopigmentation (4.5%). Mild to moderate acne flare-up occurred in five patients (22.7%). No other adverse effects were observed. A new modality of Er:YAG laser resurfacing combining short-pulsed and dual-mode Er:YAG laser is a safe and very effective treatment modality for atrophic facial acne scars in Asians with darker skin tones.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / surgery*
  • Cosmetic Techniques
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Face / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Laser Therapy / methods
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing