Jump to content
Acne.org
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
hopeful503

Why Are There So Many Laser Treatment Horror Stories?

Recommended Posts

I don't know what to believe. I have had 4 pixel laser treatments over the past 2 years. I have never noticed any negative side effects (other than the week it takes to recover). However, after reading all of the hundreds of negative reviews "laser ruined my face," "after laser I noticed more scarring and indents that weren't there before" I am absolutely terrified. It never occurred to me that the laser could have damaged my face, caused orange peel texture, indents, more scarring,etc. But after reading these stories, I've become paranoid and have been obsessively examining my face every hour of every day. As a result I HAVE noticed some scars, indents, uneven texture that I never noticed before. The thing is, they could have been there all along. I just never paid that close attention until after reading these horror stories.

My husband and dad tell me it's all in my imagination. That it's a coincidence that the same week you read horror stories, you suddenly start seeing things. I want to believe them but I'm not so sure. I don't have good pictures to compare before and after so there's no way for me to know for sure. To be clear, I don't know for sure if those marks/dents/texture issues were there all along.

It's been 2 months since my last laser. However, I'm terrified that things are going to get worse. People mentioned that things go progressively worse over weeks/months. I worry I'll wake up each morning with a spontaneous new scar or a new dent. I'm watching very closely to see if this will happen. But I've become so obsessed and it's taking over my life. I've been wondering these for the last 2 weeks but it has thrown me into a deep depression and I am riddled with anxiety over this. I am having panic attacks in the evening and I'm contemplating quitting my job.

Am I just being paranoid? I don't want to discount these people's stories because I believe them but does EVERYONE who has laser resurfacing have a negative reaction? These boards makes it seem like it. Is there anyone out there who had laser resurfacing that DIDN'T destroy their face? I've talked to a couple med spas and no one had heard of anyone having spontaneous scarring/indents and they do hundreds of these procedures a year. Are these horror stories just a small percentage and the rest of people who have had these treatments come out unscathed? I just need to know if this is in my head or a real thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually have a small amount of gripe for people like you because it sounds like you have already found a life partner who finds you attractive as you are, scars or no, which would've probably been more important than anything else. Others such as myself undergo such procedures because we do not know, have or secured a person who values us as dearly as a S.O. and only do so because there is no one to relieve us of such insecurities. Who do we turn to to trust ourselves? I do not mean to intrude on your personal life, but what I am saying is that you should take confidence in what your love ones observes.

My little rant aside, there are at least 5 others on this board including myself that have not seen any side effects yet, long term and short term. I am only 1 month out from ablative fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, but I have only seen improvements so far. From what I have observed, the people who reported negative side effects are obsessive and borderline lunatics who thinks lasers are a sort of magical quick-fix; it isn't.

As far as I have seen improvement in the low 10%, the people who complain also often do not follow proper after care. There was this lady on the board before this who covered her face in makeup after laser treatment, even before a week is over, and expect nothing bad to happen. Makeup on burnt skin. There was that, and it didn't sound like she followed any proper after care procedures, which are usually vinegar soaks and aquaphor for a week during after the procedure. Instead, various skin products with ingredients that might impede healing was slapped onto her face because, hey, it promises to make one beautiful, aye?

My conclusion is this: most people with complains are usually those who expects too much, or simply go half-arsed or obsessive over their after care so their skin doesn't heal up properly. My derm is a national specialist and he mention that no papers were published with substantial evidence against lasers, even with my own doubts, I trust that he would take proper care of me per his oath.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems to be one of those controversial issues where people take personal offense if someone has a different experience than themselves. I know two people from this board, who I have corresponded with privately over a long period of time, who suffered disastrous effects from lasers. They are far from lunatics. I think the very difficult thing is that many doctors don't report what their patients tell them. They often refuse to acknowledge that anything went wrong out of fear of being sued. And I do not think there are NO publications of incidents. I read a publication by a plastic surgeon near me who cited many, many risk factors of lasers. Unfortunately we do not entirely know why some people have no side effects and others do.

That being said, if you don't see damage now please don't spend your time worrying. You may be one of the lucky ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have also read many reviews about bad results from laser, but they referred to the old full ablative CO2 laser (non fractioned). Those new fractional lasers seem to be better, according to the reviews, but I can´t say anything from personal experience, for I had just the old one done, in 1999. It caused the famous orange peel texture and hypopigmentation all over my forehead, that became visible 1 to 2 years after the procedure. It didn't "ruin" my face, though. It would be an exaggeration.

I'm not writing this to depress you more. The laser I had done is different from yours and it is notorious that non fractional ablative lasers are not good for acne scars. I just want to reinforce the idea that those outdated lasers cause more harm than improvement because, for my total surprise, some users here are still having full ablative CO2 laser done nowadays, ignoring all the debate about this issue that happened here (and on voy message board) around 10 years ago.

Edited by marcos-cwb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fraxel Re:pair is by far the best thing I have ever done. I am probably the biggest advocate of Re:pair. Perhaps you are just looking for negatives. I have had 5 Re:pairs at peak settings, and will continue Re:pairs as a tune up as I age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laser results are temporary. U might have to repeat it in the future. Laser thins out the skin and makes it sensitive. You have to be completely clear to do laser treatment. If you have mild scarring no point burning the whole face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My strong impression from reading online feedback is that the biggest risk you face is paying lots of money for a procedure that delivers results that are poor to non existent. Yes, some people report good results, but it seems more, perhaps many more, report unsatisfactory results. It's almost enough to put me off lasers for good without even having tried them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just saying lasers means nothing. I specifically named two lasers - Fraxel Re:pair and DeepFX. Treatment at too low a level is responsible for most dissatisfaction. Re:pair changed my life for the better, and if I had listened to the naysayers I would be in the same boat I was in 5 years ago. Counting regular CO2 I have been through 6 laser treatments, and I am standing here telling you that Re:pair at high settings is what you are looking for. Pick your doctor wisely, for if you go to a doctor who does not offer Re:pair or DeepFX he will sell you what he has on the shelf, treat you at a low level, and you won't be happy. These lasers are expensive and the doctor is trying to recoup his expenses. I am tired of people lumping all lasers together. They do a huge disservice to people like you who will be helped by Re:pair or DeepFX.

Since when are lasers temporary? There is no question that you will need multiple treatments. Re:pair is a cumulative process and there is no such thing as "One & Done". I thought that lie was buried 5 years ago. You can listen to heresay and or talk to people who have actually done the Gold Standard.

Edited by DudleyDoRight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems to be one of those controversial issues where people take personal offense if someone has a different experience than themselves. I know two people from this board, who I have corresponded with privately over a long period of time, who suffered disastrous effects from lasers. They are far from lunatics.

Which types of laser were these, if I may ask? Fully ablative or fractional?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One was fully ablative CO2 and the other was Fraxel Restore if you can believe it. If you read the reviews on Real Self on Fraxel restore, her complaints are very similar to those. Pretty terrifying stuff.

This seems to be one of those controversial issues where people take personal offense if someone has a different experience than themselves. I know two people from this board, who I have corresponded with privately over a long period of time, who suffered disastrous effects from lasers. They are far from lunatics.

Which types of laser were these, if I may ask? Fully ablative or fractional?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly think the general public is very ignorant about lasers. They make no distinction between ablative vs non-ablative, 100% vs fractional, erbium vs co2, and etc. We only see the horror stories because it's the most sensational. That said, I'm not surprised that most of the disaster stories involve the old school 100% co2 lasers. Those were excessively aggressive.

I think they say lasers are not permanent in the sense that your skin will continue to age and lose collagen, which exacerbates the look of scarring.

Edited by blahblah82

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is just my opinion from my own personal experience but I can't discredit if it worked for others. For those who tried it for indented acne scars and worked out, all power to you, but this is my own personal experience. Im not dogging all laser treatments in general but just explaining my personal expeience, so hear me out when i explain this and try to keep an open mind. I had a laser treatment in the past that resulted in 0% improvement. I would like to say that I had maybe a 10% improvement or at least some improvement to some degree but I have to be honest to myself and to others who are reading this in despite of the fact that I have spent a lot of money on it and that i was sold on it. It had served no improvement, as in 0%, none, nada, zilch, which is sad. The medical office who advertised the service guaranteed results of treating indented acne scars. They specialized in the treatment of acne scars. I would like to say that it served maybe a 10% improvement to trick my mind that the money was well spent and to validate the money spent with the choosing of a competent doctor, but unfortunately the reality is upsetting and i dont want to mislead you nor myself. With that said, don't fall into being suckers into doing these types of treatments from smooth-talking doctors or sales reps who try to sell you these procedures. Even after treatment, my doctor had the nerve to say he saw some improvement (in order to save his face from any legal repercussions that may arise in order to protect himself) even though deep inside i knew that it had no improvement.... no improvement whatsoever. I'm in the legal profession and I should have known better. And 8 years later after looking back at it now, it is confirmed that none of my acne scars were improved from this procedure... so I'm not going to kid myself. These laser machines cost a lot of money for the clinics to buy, and that's why they charge a lot of money for the treatments... to recoupe their costs on the equipment. Running the laser with one pass on your face in terms of labor, costs them nothing... And costs much less than doing any type of surgical procedure on your face with a knife, yet it costs 10 times as much as doing some simple surgical procedures.

Due to the laser, I had more acne break outs that resulted in mysterious cysts and boils that broke out on my face that I never had before that resulted in additional acne scars. These boils were like blisters that felt painful when touched. Cortisone shots were the only effective method for these. They resulted in slightly indented acne scars. And for the cysts \ boils that weren't treated with cortisone shots, those also resulted in slightly indented scars as well. I seeked treatment for these zits but my skin was so sensitive after laser and would scar easily, and sadly to say it resulted in scars in despite of the acne medication. I was emotionally devastated by this. It was like experiencing the realization of new acne scars... Just devastating.

I was better off not doing laser and regret it. My face was fine the way it was.

So then I filed a litigation lawsuit against the firm and was settled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was better off not doing laser and regret it. My face was fine the way it was.

Sorry that you had such a negative experience. :(

What kind of laser treatment did you have?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SearchandSeek, the key thing you said was "8 years later". There was nothing 8 years ago that would have worked. The quantum leap was 2007-2008 with the release of Fraxel Re:pair. Go back and try Re:pair at 60-70mj and I think you will be singing a different tune. 8 years ago a plastic surgeon was honest enough to tell me that Re:store would not help me. You quit a little too early.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laser results are temporary. U might have to repeat it in the future. Laser thins out the skin and makes it sensitive. You have to be completely clear to do laser treatment. If you have mild scarring no point burning the whole face.

Hi,what did you mean for"Laser results are temporary. "?Are you meaning that the effect of laser treatment such as fraxel repair just works in the early years and the depressed areas of skin may recur years ago?So one has to repeat laser treatment to keep the effect periodically?So sprry for not understanding your words,i'm not English speaking native,looking forward to your reply......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just saying lasers means nothing. I specifically named two lasers - Fraxel Re:pair and DeepFX. Treatment at too low a level is responsible for most dissatisfaction. Re:pair changed my life for the better, and if I had listened to the naysayers I would be in the same boat I was in 5 years ago. Counting regular CO2 I have been through 6 laser treatments, and I am standing here telling you that Re:pair at high settings is what you are looking for. Pick your doctor wisely, for if you go to a doctor who does not offer Re:pair or DeepFX he will sell you what he has on the shelf, treat you at a low level, and you won't be happy. These lasers are expensive and the doctor is trying to recoup his expenses. I am tired of people lumping all lasers together. They do a huge disservice to people like you who will be helped by Re:pair or DeepFX.

Since when are lasers temporary? There is no question that you will need multiple treatments. Re:pair is a cumulative process and there is no such thing as "One & Done". I thought that lie was buried 5 years ago. You can listen to heresay and or talk to people who have actually done the Gold Standard.

hi,see you again,i havent got any opportunity to try re:pair yet but still agree with you,on the one hand,in the hell country i live,people with ance scars spread lots of negetive reviews after laser treatment but few distinguish one type from another,just mix all the laser treatment together,here most people still follow drs'advice to take ablative CO2 laser and name what he's trying is fractional laser even someone regarding ablative CO2 laser as fraxel,i do feel faint about it,also i know that even the fraxel has several types,besides restore and repair,there are still some types of laser classified into fraxel such as mixto laser and mosaic laser and so on(i wish i dont mistake the name),you know what laser is the best here in my country?plasma!here the hospitals use the plasma which may be the ancestor of the present one..........on the other hand,i do agree with your words"cumulative process" ,i wont expect i can get my satisfing result trying repair once or twice or a short span of recovery if i do repair,well,it's also a hope of my future!

Edited by kagulor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get a little touchy when people lump everything together as laser. That is like saying you want fruit when you actually want an apple. Ablative fractionalized CO2 laser is the only way to go for acne scars, and I go further and specify Re:pair and DeepFX. Lasers of a lesser god may be making strides, but until I hear otherwise those are the two I go with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of horror stories out there. I'm terrified. The pixel laser I used is an erbium yag (4 treatments over 2 years). Most of the negative reviews I read about are Fraxel. It seems there are more negative affects than positive. But do you think it's just because the people who have negative affects are the ones who shout louder and the people who have no bad side affects don't bother posting?

Edited by hopeful503

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what to believe. I have had 4 pixel laser treatments over the past 2 years. I have never noticed any negative side effects (other than the week it takes to recover). However, after reading all of the hundreds of negative reviews "laser ruined my face," "after laser I noticed more scarring and indents that weren't there before" I am absolutely terrified. It never occurred to me that the laser could have damaged my face, caused orange peel texture, indents, more scarring,etc. But after reading these stories, I've become paranoid and have been obsessively examining my face every hour of every day. As a result I HAVE noticed some scars, indents, uneven texture that I never noticed before. The thing is, they could have been there all along. I just never paid that close attention until after reading these horror stories.

My husband and dad tell me it's all in my imagination. That it's a coincidence that the same week you read horror stories, you suddenly start seeing things. I want to believe them but I'm not so sure. I don't have good pictures to compare before and after so there's no way for me to know for sure. To be clear, I don't know for sure if those marks/dents/texture issues were there all along.

It's been 2 months since my last laser. However, I'm terrified that things are going to get worse. People mentioned that things go progressively worse over weeks/months. I worry I'll wake up each morning with a spontaneous new scar or a new dent. I'm watching very closely to see if this will happen. But I've become so obsessed and it's taking over my life. I've been wondering these for the last 2 weeks but it has thrown me into a deep depression and I am riddled with anxiety over this. I am having panic attacks in the evening and I'm contemplating quitting my job.

Am I just being paranoid? I don't want to discount these people's stories because I believe them but does EVERYONE who has laser resurfacing have a negative reaction? These boards makes it seem like it. Is there anyone out there who had laser resurfacing that DIDN'T destroy their face? I've talked to a couple med spas and no one had heard of anyone having spontaneous scarring/indents and they do hundreds of these procedures a year. Are these horror stories just a small percentage and the rest of people who have had these treatments come out unscathed? I just need to know if this is in my head or a real thing.

If you haven't already, you might want to consider getting on some anti-anxiety/anti-obsessional meds. I was (am?) obsessed with my scars and the meds really helped cut down the anxiety. Helped me immensely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are few reasons why this might be the case:

1) People did not take proper after care, in my case with Fraxel Repair I have to stay at the clinic OVERNIGHT! So that they(nurse) can put on proper creams etc etc

2) You hear more horror stories because people who had positive results usually dont go around the internet telling everyone how great their treatment was, they are happy with their results and want to move on with their lives(forgeting scars) as fast as possible.

3) You dont do ablative co2 lasers for red marks, wrinkles....you do it for SCARS. Some of the horror stories that I have seen are from women in their 50s(!) who had Repair for wrinkles(their healing is slower due to their age also).

If you have scars like I do, lasers are the only choice and I have tried it all...TCA Peels, Mesotherapy, Chemical Peels, Fillers(temporary fix), Microdermabrasion etc. My only options are dermabrasion and Fraxel Repair, I think Fraxel Repair got less risks than Dermabrasion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are few reasons why this might be the case:

1) People did not take proper after care, in my case with Fraxel Repair I have to stay at the clinic OVERNIGHT! So that they(nurse) can put on proper creams etc etc

2) You hear more horror stories because people who had positive results usually dont go around the internet telling everyone how great their treatment was, they are happy with their results and want to move on with their lives(forgeting scars) as fast as possible.

3) You dont do ablative co2 lasers for red marks, wrinkles....you do it for SCARS. Some of the horror stories that I have seen are from women in their 50s(!) who had Repair for wrinkles(their healing is slower due to their age also).

If you have scars like I do, lasers are the only choice and I have tried it all...TCA Peels, Mesotherapy, Chemical Peels, Fillers(temporary fix), Microdermabrasion etc. My only options are dermabrasion and Fraxel Repair, I think Fraxel Repair got less risks than Dermabrasion.

i agree with your second point and i hope it is true indeed,but i wonder did you try TCA CROSS?Peel didnt work?what concerntration did you take for peel then?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes

×