Lasers Alone Aren’t Enough for Acne Scars

Acne Scars laser treatment during the procedure
Lasers Alone Aren’t Enough for Acne Scars
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Acne scar removal treatments in Singapore cost between $150 to $1400, depending on the treatment you choose. Chemical Peels for acne scars cost $150 per session. Dermal fillers cost around $1,400. Laser treatments are the most effective but cost around $300 to $1,500 (3 sessions required). Subsicion for acne scars costs around $150 to $350 per session (multiple sessions required). Punch excision costs $250 to $400 per session (multiple sessions). The combination of treatment types depends on the types of acne scars on the patient's face (box car, rolling, ice pick scars).

Scars are the most stubborn obstacles to clear, smooth skin. Pigmentation can be troublesome, and melasma can be difficult to fully eradicate, but scars cannot be readily concealed.

I have a personal interest in treating acne and acne scars, having battled acne as a teenager. Most people waged the same battle; many of us have suffered scars from other sources as well.

Many of my patients come to me after having tried various forms of laser therapy, to no avail. Some have grown frustrated after frequent laser treatments left their scarring unresolved; others hadn’t found a doctor who could fit an effective treatment into their busy schedules.

Most of these patients had been treated with traditional CO2 fractional-laser therapy, for years the industry standard for treating acne scars.

Although their frustrations take various forms, they tend to spring from a single, simple cause: CO2 laser treatments do not treat every type of scar. If your doctor insists on treating your entire face using only fractional CO2 laser therapy, you may not be getting the careful attention you deserve.

Different Scars, Different Treatments

Facial scars are most commonly due to acne. Other causes include herpes zosters, surgery or injury. Acne alone can cause up to seven types of scars, shown below. It takes a fully trained and exceptionally diligent doctor to accurately diagnose each type of scar affecting each patient.

Each type of scar requires a precise and specific treatment. For example, fractional CO2 therapy is not an effective treatment for deep- and shallow-pit, or ice-pick, scars.

No two patients have exactly the same type and severity of scarring. With careful attention and the right equipment at hand, though, an experienced doctor can greatly improve the appearance of any kind of acne scar.

I believe that acne scar treatments require a bespoke plan based on skin type, scar type, lifestyle and cost concerns. That’s the only way I have been able to deliver my patients the results they seek and deserve.

A Complete Approach to Scar Treatment

My approach is based on precise diagnosis and personalised treatment for each and every scar. I begin by taking detailed photographs, which I use to identify each scar. I then label each scar according to its nature and severity. This gives me a detailed map of the challenge ahead and an idea of which combination of treatments would work best together.

Because I treat each scar as its own challenge, my options are limited only by the current state of medical technology. I use lasers, chemical peels, subcision, and fillers to ensure that each scar receives the care it demands.

Each program of treatment takes 3-12 months to complete, depending on the number, characteristics, and severity of each patient’s scars.

That’s just an overview of my approach. Let’s look at some case studies to learn more about how it works.

Acne Scars asian boy

Case #1:

This patient was an Asian male businessman with generalised acne scarring. He was eager to improve his skin’s texture but was unable to set aside more than 2-3 days for recovery. He is an avid athlete, and hoped to resume outdoor activity within days of his treatment; he also had an important meeting in one week and did not wish to display any signs of recovery.

Scar TypeTreatmentSessions
Ice pick scarsTCA peel2-3
Subcision + Filler2-3
Rolling scarsInfini RF2-3
PicoPlus Triple Depth2-3
Boxcar scarsFractional CO22-3
Sublative2-3

 

To make ideal use of his time, I combined three or more types of treatment in each clinic visit and prioritised treatments with less downtime for his first session. In the end, he was happy with the results and fully recovered for his meeting.

Case #2:

This patient was a 29-year-old female with rolling scars and boxcar scars, seeking to improve her skin within the four months leading up to her wedding. Like patient #1, her schedule did not allow for the recovery time of more than 2-3 days.

To achieve her important long-term goal while allowing her to continue her busy lifestyle, I developed a treatment schedule that allows ample time for recovery:

Scar TypeTreatmentSessions
Rolling scarsInfini RF2-3
PicoPlus Triple Depth2-3
Rejuran Healer1-2
Boxcar scarsFractional CO22-3
Sublative1-2

 

As her primary concern was with recovery time, I selected treatments with minimal downtime while ensuring that she got her desired results by her wedding day.
Two patients, each with acne scars. But that’s where the similarity ended. Because each patient had unique goals and conditions, and because acne scars present themselves in so many different forms, their treatment plans were completely customised.

Acne Scars asian girl

Which Doctors Offer This Approach?

Frankly, I think every patient deserves the kind of consideration I show to mine. Unfortunately, most doctors don’t offer such a painstaking approach. In my experience, this is down to four main reasons, each of which you can mitigate:

Time

A personalised approach requires a detailed consultation to understand the patient’s goals, lifestyle and preferences. In addition, doctors need to manually map each scar, and develop a treatment schedule accordingly. Too many doctors consider such time-consuming steps not to be worth the trouble. If you consult a doctor who suggests a more generalized approach, you might want to keep looking.

Equipment

To offer truly personalised service, a clinic must be equipped with the latest lasers, peels and fillers. Such supplies are expensive, and most clinics don’t provide the full range of options. A given clinic may try to hide this fact by asserting that only a certain narrow range of options is worth pursuing. Don’t be fooled. Only a doctor who has invested in a truly complete range of therapies is able to choose the very best one for each scar he treats.

Expertise

Complete scar treatment requires meticulous diagnosis and precise treatments that target each scar individually. It also requires in-depth knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each treatment. In other words, it’s not enough merely to have purchased a wide range of equipment: your doctor must choose wisely from that range.

Recovery Support

Treatment of most scars isn’t terribly painful, but it does represent a change that your body must accommodate. The more support your body receives during recovery, the better the long-term results tend to be. Make sure that your doctor understands this, and is ready to develop a treatment programme that includes a detailed recovery component.

No two faces are alike, and finding the right combination of therapies for any given patient’s array of acne scars is a demanding proposition. It takes a great deal of time and patience to customise an effective program for each individual.

And it’s worth the effort.