Good or Excellent Response
78%
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
1
2
3
4
5
Moderate Response
96%
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
1
2
3
4
5
How to Get It
Have a dermatologist or plastic surgeon? Make an appointment to get this procedure done.

Don't have a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon? See The American Academy of Dermatology Physician Database to find a dermatologist or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to find a plastic surgeon.
Read All About Ablative Non-fractional Laser
5
3%
4
18.2%
3
21.2%
2
18.2%
1
39.4%

Used Ablative Non-fractional Laser? Rate It:

Choose from 1 to 5 stars
January 30, 2022
these things should be illegal

My problem was an accident scar from a freak accident not acne  but I stumbled on this site      Dr  Paul Carniol  a  very well-known Plastic surgeon somehow convinced me  at what was supposed to only be a second opinion consultation to cancel a different procedure with another Dr and quote unquote nick me with a laser    He did the CO2 and not only that, to my shock and horror he treated an area we never discussed     I now have a very long indented discolored  scar that is extremely noticeable that was not noticeable before Dr Carniol butchered me with a CO2 laser  Please do NOT allow anyone to touch you with these horrible devices  I regret it every second of every day   It ruined my life 

July 15, 2019
Wish I'd never done it..

Had a horrific experience with CO2 laser for a boxcar scar with raised edges on my forehead. The procedure was done by a dermatologist renowned in the UK for laser treatments, but I ended up with what was probably a laser burn, far bigger than the original scar. 7 months later and it's still clear where the laser passed over (he only treated the raised edges allegedly, but covered a 2x3cm area when the original scar was more like 5x5mm at most). 

He also recommended steroid cream after the treatment, which should (I now know) have been avoided given my history of acne. I didn't have any active acne at the time (though I did tell him I was prone to it; that's how I got the scar in the first place) and using steroids gave me a crop of closed comedones and milia in the area that impeded the scar healing even more and so caused more scarring than I had to begin with. I even checked with him whether it was really safe for me to use steroids on a healing wound and with a history of acne, and he insisted it was.

My skin in the treated area is wrinkled and dented, and it's given me 8 months of misery. 

I'd avoid like the plague if I had my time again.

January 14, 2017
I dont recommend CO2 and any other type of lasers.. Be careful..
CO2 Laser gives me more indentation and extend my scar... My acne scar now also more visible and ı am also suffer from mild depression obssession because of enlarged my scar... I wish ı hadnt done laser treatment... My doctor didnt tell any complications these procedure we have to investigate and protect ourselfes...Now ı'm trying to correct co2 laser(eco2 lutronic) harm... Please dont do these procedure..
This Was Helpful

13 user(s) found this helpful

Report
May 28, 2011

Pros:

sadly none

Cons:

oozing after
crusting
downtime of a week
scabbing
left with more scars
redness for about a month

I am begging you with all of my heart not to get this treatment. I didn't want to get laser at first but my mother insisted and insisted and so i gave in. It was painful and very disgusting afterwards.I mean VERY disgusting. After all the peeling went away i was very pink and puffed .I had some hope since some scars went away, however after the swelling and the redness left i saw i had MORE scars. It is very painful to go throughout the day knowing i have so many more scars. (and i really do have a LOT more) Im really begging you not to get this treatment. I cry everything i have to look in the mirror now, with and without make-up.
This Was Helpful

62 user(s) found this helpful

Report
March 19, 2011

Pros:

NONE

Cons:

Latent damage 1-3yrs later...scarring, DNA damage, lines, cracks, etc, etc, etc

Costly and painful. Caused atrophic, rolling, ice pick, boxcar scars and hypertrophic scarring, damage down to the muscle, accelerated aging, discoloration, dna damage...I could go on and on and on. All lasers are pure radiation to the skin and deeper in my personal experience. Want to look disfigured, go for a laser. Don't want to look disfigured, don't go for laser treatments. Find something else, facials, natural lotions, vitamins...anything else.
This Was Helpful

47 user(s) found this helpful

Report
January 6, 2011

Pros:

Less scarring
Less red/dark spots
Less wrinkles

Cons:

Oozing & Crusting / Healing time
Cost
Risks involved

After 2 treatments of CO2 laser my skin is so much better! The scars on my left cheek (the worse one) improved about 85% and you can barely see the scars on my right cheek now. In fact, I'd like to have the procedure done one more time just on the left cheek. (fyi - I had bad boxcar scarring from bad acne & cystic acne in previous years) This laser requires you to be under general anesthesia during the procedure. It took layers off my skin and I left the hospital looking like a mummy all bandaged up. My biggest advice is to make sure you get an excellent surgeon that comes with several recommendations and one that you feel comfortable with. Check out my before & after pictures and documented healing over the two procedures (which were done about 16 months apart). [link removed] name (username): AngStone
Steve Weddle
December 14, 2009

Pros:

I've just undergone second laser C02 treatment, and would agree, better to have one or two big blasts than lots of small treatments. Very effective for lessening scarring. Strongly suggest, choose a dermatologist rather than cosmetic surgeon.

Cons:

Not for the faint hearted. Very messy afterwards - blood, gore etc. - and takes several days to heal, although after four days you should be through the worst. I had a general anaesthetic for procedure, although the aftermath was quite painful.

If you're feeling brave, and in a good frame of mind, go for it. The results are impressive, although if you have severe scarring or deep lines like myself you may well need two treatments to get the desired effect. It also has the side effect of making you look more youthful too! People have commented on this, which is kinda nice. However, I wouldn't recommend this treatment for people with minor wrinkles or lines, or minimal damage caused by acne. I would suggest something less invasive would be more appropriate, at least in the first instance.Find a dermatologist who is skilled and experienced in the use of lasers as opposed to a cosmetic surgeon who is less likely to be a specialist in this field. The immediate after effects look horrific-so be prepared for that-you will resemble something out of a horror movie-but looks worse than it feels, although there is some pain and discomfort, but heals quickly.Redness lasts for several weeks so use make-up - guys too!
This Was Helpful

270 user(s) found this helpful

Report
Agnes
September 27, 2009

Pros:

None

Cons:

I have a web of white scars on my cheeks on top of the old acne scars from laser burns.

I am posting this to warn others that this is serious surgery. I know you are unhappy with the scars but consider that it could be worse. The outer layer of your skin is taken off with this procedure. Remember just because a plastic surgeon is quoted in magazines, that doesn't mean he's good. Or that he did implants for a star. Or that he has an office in Beverly Hills. He could be one of the worst doctors around despite all appearances and this one was. Subsequent doctors were horrified at what he did to me. Bottom line is you can't trust doctors, you have to make an informed decision yourself. But don't trust what they tell you to make up your mind, think it through logically yourself. I've spent thousands of dollars to mitigate the damage but nothing has helped, I will include that in the price below. Don't trust anyone to do this to your face. The risks are too great. There are other treatments with less potentially devastating results to try.
This Was Helpful

172 user(s) found this helpful

Report
Beth
July 30, 2009
I totally agree with Sharon in Tampa FL from July 13, 2009. I had this procedure done in April 2007. Not only was the procedure very painful during, but the healing time was also very painful for the first 5 days and with nothing but an OTC pain reliever. I had deep-pitted scars, mainly on my cheeks. During the healing process my face was very swollen and when the bleeding and oozing and redness began to subside a little bit, I thought it had really worked, my skin was SO smooth, however, that was short-lived, when the swelling went down I was left with the same scars and a bright red/pink shiny face. I had problems with little whiteheads popping up all over from using the Aquaphor. The long-term results I think I received from this $5,000 procedure, I would say maybe, maybe 10% improvement, I also have brown spots and alot of broken little blood vessels. The doctor told me I could try this procedure again, but I don't have that kind of money, that was a one time thing.
This Was Helpful

66 user(s) found this helpful

Report
simcha
July 27, 2009

Pros:

None so far

Cons:

Took longer to heal than expected. Broke out from the Aquaphor.
Painful during procedure.
No significant difference so far.

I had this procedure done 12 days ago to diminish fine lines around my upper lip. I was shown pictures of before and afters. I really thought I would look younger and smoother. I was told that I would be red, oozing and then the little dots would just flake off. After 7 days of still looking like a monster, I noticed I was developing pustules all over my upper lip. I also got small red bumps randomly around my face. I had to go back to the Doctor and was put an an antibiotic. He gave me a cream which to me has been a miracle. Biafine. I was told I had a bad reaction to the aquaphor. Luckily after 2 days of doxycycline and the biafine. I completely cleared. Now 12 days later, I am completely healed, just a bit pink in some areas. Why they give a patient who has a history of acne, aquaphor is beyond me. I really wish the Doctor had given me a script for the Biafine in the first place. If you are considering this procedure and have a history of acne, DO NOT use aquaphor. Biafine only!
This Was Helpful

70 user(s) found this helpful

Report

Finding a Doctor

The right dermatologist can make a big difference to your patient experience and the success of your acne treatment plan. Here are the steps to find a dermatologist who is a good fit:

  1. Use the search feature on the American Academy of Dermatology website to look for board-certified dermatologists in your area, and filter the search results for doctors with a special interest in treating acne.
  2. Read online patient reviews of any dermatologists you are considering and ask people you know whether they have any experience with these dermatologists.
  3. Do your research and go to your first appointment with questions prepared.
  4. Listen to what your gut feeling tells you once you see a dermatologist in person. If you are not completely comfortable, try a different dermatologist.

Finding a Doctor

Only a select few plastic surgeons specialize in acne scar revision surgery. Be certain to find a provider who specializes in acne scar repair and who is passionate and experienced in this area.

Be sure to:

  • Look at before and after photos, the more the better, especially patients with similar scarring to your own.
  • Be realistic about results. Look for improvement, not a cure.

Questions to ask a potential scar revision specialist:

  • Are you board certified? Be certain that they are board certified.
  • How long have you been performing these procedures? Normally, the more experience the better, however, some younger surgeons may be more on top of the latest procedures.
  • Can I speak to some of your other patients? Ask for references for several patients who had similar scarring and speak to them about the process and their satisfaction with results.

Red flags:

  • Their story changes: As you discuss different treatment options, if they tend to change their mind easily, or agree with whatever you say, consider this a red flag. A confident, experienced surgeon will possess strong, unwavering opinions.
  • Your gut tells you "no": Trust your gut. If you just don't feel that the doctor is the right fit, trust that and move on. On the other hand, if you feel they are the perfect specialist for you, trust that feeling.