Fraxel and Fractional lasers for acne scarring

When it comes to moderate level of scarring, our doctors are able to Erbium lases and for more severe and deeper scarring our doctors are able to use fractional or fraxel lasers. The darker skin the patient has results in using erbium type laser.

Fractional laser resurfacing, as the name suggest, treats ‘fractions’ of skin enabling quicker recovery for patients. Most patients will benefit from a series of fractional laser treatments.

Expert doctors. Safe procedures. Great results.

Facts on fractional laser treatment

  • Fractional lasers such as Fraxel, CO2 RE, and Profractional are at the forefront of acne scar treatments
  • Fractional laser treats only a ‘fraction of skin’ which speeds up recovery time and lowers the risks of full laser resurfacing
  • Scar improvements of up to 70% can be seen after 3-4 treatments
  • Side effects are rare and the procedure is very well tolerated
  • Recovery time can be tailored according to each patient, typically 3-5 days
  • Erbium Fractional laser has less downtime compared to CO2 and is best suited for darker skin types
  • CO2 RE Fractional laser has a longer downtime, however it delivers better results compared to Erbium Fractional laser in lighter skin types
  • Fraxel Laser is excellent all round laser and can be used on all skin types. 3-5 treatments are needed for best results
  • Non –laser fractional treatments such as RadioFrequency will deliver little or no downtime, however works best for early and very mild scars
  • Each patient will have a unique pattern of acne scarring, and a tailored program will give the best possible results
  • Skin needling is not fractional resurfacing, however this outdated procedure can be considered as the genesis of fractional skin treatments
What types of acne scars respond best to fraxel and fractional lasers?

Rolling and depressed acne scars
Mixed acne scars
Box car scars

How does Fraxel and Fractional laser work?

Fracionated laser treatment (ProFractional, Fraxel, CO2 RE) is the latest laser for acne scarring. The laser produces thousands of tiny ‘ablation’ zones in the treated areas. Each zone is the diameter of a shaft of hair, however these columns extend deep into middle layer of the skin- where scars lie. Laser targets the scarred areas and old collagen, but also leaves areas of healthy tissue to regenerate. This fractional treatment allows your skin to heal much quicker than if the entire surface was treated at once.

Fractional laser treatment allows less patient downtime and side effects but still delivers great results.

Which fractional laser resurfacing treatment is best for my acne scars?

The Acne Specialist Clinic at Westside laser Dermatology has several fractional devices for acne scarring. Our Specialist will carefully assess your scar type, skin type (skin colour), age of your scars, and take into consideration your downtime and budget to provide a solution that will work for you.

Scar revision is a highly complex and variable procedure, and the first step is an accurate assessment and ‘map’ of you.

As a guide -

CO2 RE Fractional laser

One of the best fractional lasers for mild to severe scars. Suits fair skin types, but can treat type 3 skin. Downtime approaching 7 days.

Fraxel Dual Fractional laser

The laser that started it all. An all round laser that can treat most scar types and nearly all skin types. Downtime of 3-8 days. Will need 3-5 treatments.

Erbium Profractional laser

Great for mild to severe scarring, best for darker skin types. Downtime of 3-5 days. Can be combined with CO2 Fractional laser.

RF Subablative

Non laser, RadioFrequency Fractional treatment- Great for all skin types, good for early scarring. Can be used for mild to moderate scars or as part of our Synergy Method for acne scars. Downtime of 0-2 days depending on energy settings.

Synergy Method of acne scar revision

Combination of fractional lasers, TCA Cross, and RadioFrequency to give the best possible outcome. We may elect to use a combination of fractional devices during different stages of scar revision.

Treatment Downtime Skin type - colour Scar severity Projected scar improvement Costs
CO2 Fractional laser 3-6 days 1,2,3 Mild to severe scarring ++++ $750 - $1200 per treatment
CO2 Fractional +erbium resurface 4-8 days 1,2, 2.5 Mild to severe scarring ++++++ $1500 - $4000
Erbium fractional laser 3-5 days 1-5 Mild to severe scarring +++ $750 - $1200 per treatment
RF Fractional Subablative 0-2 days 1-6 all skin colours Mild to moderate, early scars ++ $1100 for 4 treatments
Maximus Fractional RadioFrequency 0-1 day 1-6 all skin colours Mild to moderate, early scars ++ $920 for 4 treatments
How does Fraxel laser compare with other fractional lasers for acne scars?

Fraxel is an excellent all round laser than can treat nearly all forms of acne scars including atrophic, box car, and rolling scars, in all skin types. Fraxel laser resurfacing also has a lesser downtime compared to CO2 CORE Fractional laser.

Specialists at Westside Laser Dermatology will always advise you as to what type of laser is best for your acne scars. Our collection of fractional lasers ensures that you will have the absolute best treatment for your acne scars.

More on Fraxel Dual laser for acne scarring

How do we perform laser treatments for acne scars?

Procedures are performed in one of our three laser suites at Westside Laser Dermatology by Specialist Dermatologist, assisted by a Laser Nurse. Local anaesthetic cream is applied 45 minutes prior to treatment. Just before the procedure, the cream is wiped off and cleansed with an antibacterial solution. Eyeshields are worn during the treatment. A computer-guided scanner is placed over the treated area and the laser is applied. The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes to perform.

Is laser treatment painful?

Immediately after Fractional laser
2 days after light - medium fractional laser

Laser treatment is well tolerated in the majority of patients. We often combine some mild "twilight sedation" as well as numbing cream to ensure that patients are comfortable throughout laser treatments. As a guide, the majority of patients rate the pain as 2 out of 10 on the pain scale.

How long will I take to recover after fractional laser treatment of acne scars?

Significant acne scarring prior to treatment

Immediately following one light pass of Fractional Laser. Fractionation, treats a specified percentage of skin. Treatments can be non - aggressive with quick recovery times.

3 days after laser. Complete healing is seen at day 6. Swelling has decreased. Best results are seen 2-3 months after treatment- the time it takes for new collagen to reform. 2-4 treatments are recommended. Dr Davin Lim

How many acne fractional laser treatments will I need?

The number of acne laser scar treatments will vary between patients depending on the depth and types of scars. Two other factors play an important role in the assessment of acne scars- skin type (skin colour) as well as downtime.

As a guide we recommend 3-4 laser treatments for the best results. These treatments are spaced at intervals of 2-3 months apart. Your laser dermatologist will give you an estimate of expected improvement with each treatment.

The choice of which laser we elect to use will depend on your skin type, scar severity and downtime. Laser dermatologists will often use multiple lasers in the one treatments session- this provides the best outcome for the patient. The use of multiple treatment methods forms the basis of our Synergy Program for acne scar revision.

More information on Synergy Program for acne scar revision

Who performs fractional laser treatment for scars?

All laser treatments are performed by Specialist Dermatologists and laser nurses with years of experience. Acne scar specialist train as doctors, then undergo additional training as Skin Specialist (Dermatologists), they undertake subspecialist training is scar revision techniques and laser surgery. Expertise, experience and training ensure patients are in the best possible hands.

What is radiofrequency fractional treatment for acne scars?

RadioFrequency or RF treatment for acne scars is the newest method of acne scar removal. This treatment is not a laser-based method of fractional skin resurfacing, but it involves the use of radio waves to target scarred collagen beneath the skin’s surface. RF is a form of FRACTIONAL SKIN treatment, with out the downtime of lasers. RF is best suited for early onset mild to moderate acne scar. Early scarring can be defined as acne scars less than 3 months old. RF can be combined with anti-acne treatments. 3-5 treatments are ideally needed for optimal results. Fractional RF is the safest method of acne scar removal in darker skin types.

The recovery from RF is very quick, and will depend on the power setting we use. As a guide low setting RF subablative- downtime of up to 12-16 hours. High energy RF for acne scars will have a 48 hours recovery.

Note that RF treatments are best for early mild acne scars, in patients who have little downtime to spare. Fractional Laser treatments such as Fraxel, Erbium or CO2- Fraxel is a better treatment for more severe scarring. Once again a tailored program, depending on scar type, skin type and down time will give the best results.

More on RadioFrequency treatment for acne scars

What is the first step towards fixing acne scars?

The first step can be a daunting process for many patients. Our Specialist will assess your acne scars and provide solutions based upon individual assessment.

Acne scar treatment is a highly individualized treatment, and at the Acne Specialist Clinic we never approach scar removal with a ‘cookbook approach’. All treatments are tailored according to the patient’s scar type, skin type, downtime and budget.

Rest assured, the experience, training and equipment used at the Acne Specialist Clinic will ensure the best possible outcomes for all our patients.

Call us directly on 07 3871 3437 to make an appointment, or to discuss issues regarding the referral process.

How do we differ from other places that provide acne scar treatments?

The main focus of the Acne Specialist Clinic is on scar revision. Our doctors are Specialist Dermatologists, trained in all methods of acne scar removal, including laser, peels, and surgical methods. Our Specialist recognition combined with the absolute latest in laser and light based technologies ensures that patients are provided with the best possible skill levels and equipment.

For an unbiased opinion on who provides the best service for acne and acne scar treatments, consult with your General Practitioner.

What are the costs for fractional laser scar treatments?
Fractional laser (CO2 or Erbium) $750 - $1200 per treatment
Fraxel laser resurfacing $800 - $900 per treatment
Total laser resurfacing + Fractional laser $1500 - $4000 per treatment

Westside Dermatology offers payment plans for acne scar treatments.

More on costing and payment plans for patients

(For fractional laser 2-4 treatments advised. Treatments spaced 8-12 weeks apart. Costs dependent on the extent of scarring- depth and area. Full laser resurfacing – one, possibly two treatments recommended, Medicare rebate applies.)

Treatment Treatment time Number of treatments needed Downtime Ideal scar severity Projected scar improvement Costs
Clear Skin Program 60 min 4 Hours Mild scarring + $590
Chemical peels 15 min 4-6 Hours Mild + $95
RF RadioFrequency 15 min 4 0-2 days Mild to severe +++ $1100 for 4
Fraxel and Fractional laser 30 min 3-5 3-6 days Mild to severe ++++ $800 - $1200 each
TCA cross 30 min 2-3 5-7 days Mod to severe ++++ $490 - $900
Synergy laser –Full laser resufacing 15 - 60 min 3-7 1-12 days Mod to severe ++++++ $3500 - $7800
Does Medicare provide any assistance for acne laser scar treatments?

Medicare does NOT provide any rebate for fractional laser treatments, however for Full Laser Resurfacing, a rebate does apply. Some acne scar revision procedures performed by Specialist will carry a rebate.

Your Specialist will give you an idea as to what can be claimed on Medicare and your out of pocket costs for all procedures.

Dermatologist viewpoint on fractional laser treatments for acne scars

Dr Davin S. Lim
Consultant Laser Specialist
Acne Specialist Clinic, Westside Dermatology Group

Traditionally, fractional lasers have provided a safe and effective means of treating acne scarring in all skin types. We now have a variety of fractional devices to resurface acne scars. Skin needling was one of the first methods to provide fractional resurfacing, however this method is historical. Fraxel laser paved the way in 2005, followed by a variety of fractional methods. As the name suggest, treating skin area in fractions enables quicker healing times, and in darker skin patients it poses less risks.

With an array of fractional devices at the Clinic we can tailor downtime for the patient and weight the risks and benefits for each form of fractional treatment.

For results the CO2RE fractional laser is the ‘big gun’ in acne scar revision, however it has a longer downtime compared to erbium Scition Profractional laser. Erbium is an excellent method of fractional resurfacing in darker skin types, or when down time is an issue. Newer non-laser based subablative RadioFrequency fractional devices are useful for mild to moderate, early scarring. What device I choose is based upon scar type, skin type and downtime, and an individual assessment is needed for optimal outcomes.

Fractional lasers are not the be all to end all for acne scar revision – I often combine techniques such as subscision, TCA chemical peels and Full resurfacing for best patient outcomes. Fractional lasers form part of my Synergy Program for acne scars.

Testimonials

"Dr Lim walked me thru what to expect before, during and after laser surgery…very comfortable with everything. Very happy with the results"

- Bruce D, Gold Coast

"I really noticed my scars depending on the lighting. After 3 treatments of fractional CORE laser, they aren’t nearly as noticeable. Well worth it…"

- Akira H, Cairns.