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Susan1967

Compare/Contrast Various Laser Treatments for Acne and Acne Scarring

A lot of people on this page discuss various wavelengths and settings of different laser treatment's they've recieved.

I know many people have only done one or two kinds while others have run that gammit. So I'd like to compare and contrast the effectiveness of each, not only by testimonials but by what you know of the actual physics of each laser.

There just doesn't seem to be much information regarding all of the different lasers used for the treatment of acne and acne scarring that isn't biased by specific websites owned by practices selling their services.

There is precious little information of each laser, even on the manufacturer's websites and almost no direct comparisons in any articles or consumer reports. The one possible article I've run across has to be purchased for over $27, which blows, because I just want information that you would think is public information.

There are, of course many name brand lasers, many of which fall into certain categories and are probably very similar. But no two seem to be the same and it's confusing. Here are just a few name brand lasers and what the literature tells me:

C-beam (pulsed laser dye) .45ms pulse 585nm wavelength

Vbeam (pulsed laser dye) 595nm wavelength

Smoothbeam (diode?) 6mm spot coverage 1450nm wavelength

Cooltouch CT3 (Nd:YAG) 10mmspot coverage 1320nm wavelength

ThermalCool by Thermage (?YAG??)

Gentle Yag (Nd:YAG) 1064nm wavelength

Fraxel (type ??) ??wavelength

VStar ????

StarLux ????

Blu-U light (??)

Photodynamic Therapy (??)

Does anyone know the skinny about ALL these lasers and they compare and contrast?

People here discuss settings and energy outputs and number of passes but I haven't noticed a lot of talk about wavelenths, which will determine how deep the laser goes and what level of the dermis is treated.

According to what little information I have, the length of the wave and the depth of the dermis penetrated is specific to the type of acne you have, not neccessarily the severity.

Perhaps we can pool all our information together and make a usable list that makes sense of it all. I'm one of those consumers who likes to be fully informed and educated on these things before making a costly investment. I fear I have gone in somewhat blindly and, while two of the lasers I've tried (from two different practices) are okay, it's obvious that Doctors are going to promote what they sell and demerit what they don't, instead of giving the patient the bare bones facts and information, because they want your business. Bottom line.

Maybe we could list the lasers, types, technical information, compare/contrast to similar lasers in same categories, and give pros/cons to each. If we keep it as objective as possible, without giving personal testimonials in this case, a lot of people could benefit from the information by picking doctors that have the type of lasers they want to try. (Instead of going to a doctor and being stuck with the laser treatment they sell only.)

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I can't help.

But there is one question that has more value to me. Which of these lasers have specific approval FDA approval for acne scarring. I know Fraxel has it and would suspect CO2 and ERbium YAG. However, I would not be surprised if the others are being used off label for acne scarring. Sorry to steal your thread, but I have been wanting to know the clinical results of FDA trials for acne sacrring.

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I can't help.

But there is one question that has more value to me. Which of these lasers have specific approval FDA approval for acne scarring. I know Fraxel has it and would suspect CO2 and ERbium YAG. However, I would not be surprised if the others are being used off label for acne scarring. Sorry to steal your thread, but I have been wanting to know the clinical results of FDA trials for acne sacrring.

Both Smoothbeam and Cooltouch claim they can improve mild scarring and treat active acne too.

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Yes, but my understanding is they did not file for FDA approval for acne scarring, so it is off label use. To me this implies safety of laser, but not efficacy for acne scarring.

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Well, on the manufacturer's website, it says that the Cooltouch CT3 is "Cleared for acne, acne scar and wrinkle treatment on all skin types."

On the manufacturer's website for Smoothbeam, it doesn't say if it's approved or not.

I came across an article that gave an overview of many different types of cosmetic lasers and their intended use and I think both have been okayed by FDA. The problem with the article was that it was way too general to make substantial comparisons.

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I really don't know for sure, but I believe clearance is the term used by FDA.

The Doc at the laser center I am going to for Fraxel has these lasers also, but said that Fraxel is the one to use for acne scars becasue of the deeper penetration together with partial ablation (and my scarring is deemed shallow by him). Furthermore, there is a CME Program on Fractional Resurfacing in Plastic Surgery posted on Reliant website where several Plastic Surgeosn comment on their use and expereince with Fraxel. I recall at least one Doc saying that the hybrid Fraxel would probably supplant the non ablative lasers for most indications, especially for scarring, because it seemed to have better efficacy at no greater risk. Lastly, most commentators on these boards have panned Smoothbeem and CoolTouch as ineffective for scarring. While there have been similar negative comments on Fraxel, there have also been some successes.

I am not trying to be difficult, just telling you why I am biased toward Fraxel. Hopefully, in a few months, I will be staring at clinical proof in the mirror.

regards

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Thanks. I'll check out that site for the P.S. comments.

I haven't really seen anything by way of scar improvement with either Smoothbeam or Cooltouch, but I wasn't really expecting to. What I was told was, though, was that they target the sebaceous glands and shrink them so as to decrease over production of sebum and decrease pore clogging, in other words treat the active acne itself. So I'm curious if anybody had positive results from Cooltouch for treatment of active acne.

I can't understand why I can't just do PDT instead for the active acne. The place I go has both.

I'm looking forward to seeing the results after doing Fraxel and while I don't expect to see a huge difference after the first, I do hope there is for after the third. I have mild scarring and I'm hoping 3 is all it takes, instead of the 6+ people keep saying you need to get improvment.

In fact, as far as scarring, what's more bothersome to me is the redness (red/purple/brown marks) and blotchiness. The "pits" aren't too deep and I don't have many so if I can improve those slightly, while getting my face to an actual flesh tone, I will be happy. Tightening the skin and reducing fine lines/wrinkles would just be icing on the cake. I feel like my whole teen/young adulthood was robbed and I'd like to just look normal before I go from zits/scars right into wrinkles.

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Guest tired of this shish

I think that the manufacturer can claim clearance for any skin condition for their lasers for FDA approval as long as they have a few success stories--and only God knows why they were the lucky few. Some people just have regenerative power that many don't. As if their skin would have healed nonetheless, it just needed that extra push for improvement. I don't think it takes a lot to approve a product and sell it under claims that it works for scarring like the Smoothbeam. The only reason I'm opting for it is because I have no other choice and there may be a slight margin that I might be a success case. Plus, I have active acne. I just can't rely on it alone--I MIGHT consider needling as my scars are healing. Althoug I'm not really into the idea of self mutilation. But I'll leave that 'till after a while after I've done my treatments. I won't go past 4 or 5.

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