Table of Contents

Skin Resurfacing Treatments for Acne Scars

Table of Contents

Skin Resurfacing Treatments for Acne Scars

Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States. Its effects can be seriously debilitating for the millions of Americans who quietly suffer psychologically and socially because of it.

It’s not just a teen issue either. Acne affects many adults well into their 40s and 50s, and it can often leave behind scars. Acne scars often continue to impact the social and mental well-being of those affected, well after the actual acne is gone.1

At WIFH, we see people of all ethnicities battling with acne and acne scars. Below, we discuss four popular skin resurfacing procedures offered at WIFH for treating acne scars, as well as related conditions like enlarged pores, discoloration, and dullness. 

Fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide) Laser Skin Resurfacing

Perhaps the most effective method of skin resurfacing is the Fractional CO2 Laser. In fact, it is so effective that many plastic surgeons use this procedure in combination with face lifts. This laser is wonderful for targeting acne scars, as well as enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation, and lines associated with aging.2 It also has the added benefit of skin tightening and collagen production – it can erase years from the face. Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a single treatment, using topical anesthesia. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes, and downtime experienced is about 2-5 days. The skin can appear red, similar to that of a sunburn for a week or more post treatment.

It is best to have this procedure done in the fall and winter months, as the skin cannot be tan at the time the procedure is done. Unfortunately, the CO2 laser is not safe for darker skin types, but don’t despair, WIFH has extensive experience in treating darker skin, and there are other great options below that are safe and highly effective.

Affirm Skin Rejuvenation Treatment

Unlike the CO2 laser, Affirm laser has no downtime and it is safe for all skin types. It delivers laser energy into the skin without cutting, making it safe for dark skin types.3 Affirm laser requires a series of 8 sessions, done at one month intervals. Post treatment patients may experience a mild sunburn like redness. This should only last up to 24 hours and can easily be concealed with make-up.

 While CO2 is a one-and-done type procedure, Affirm is still very effective in treating acne scarring and sun damage, it’s just a more gradual process. The Affirm Laser remains one of the only skin rejuvenation procedures on the market that can be safely performed on darker skin types.

To really kick those acne scars to the curb, the Affirm Laser Skin Rejuvenation can be paired with Microdermabrasion treatments. Microdermabrasion will prep the skin by exfoliating dead skin off of the surface, allowing the laser energy to penetrate more effectively.

Skin Resurfacing for Acne Scars

*Results may vary and are not guaranteed

Microdermabrasion for Acne Scars

This is the most affordable and popular skin resurfacing treatment. It offers immediate benefits and no downtime. The procedure is pain free, requiring no anesthesia. At WIFH, DermaSweep Microdermabrasion is used, which utilizes bristle technology. It is also the most precise, comfortable, and effective Microdermabrasion procedure on the market.4

Using vacuum suction to stimulate blood flow and clean pores, DermaSweep improves the appearance of acne scars as well as various other skin complaints associated with acne, such as pore size, sun damage, hyper pigmentation, and dull skin. On top of all these benefits, it also encourages collagen formation, which firms and tones the skin surface. Microdermabrasion is recommended in a series of 6 sessions for best results, spaced 10-14 days apart.

Chemical Peel Resurfacing for Acne Scars

We offer 3 choices in chemical peels at WIFH. Chemical peels are great for acne-prone skin and there are many options available.5

The VI Peel is a blend of powerful ingredients suitable for all skin types. Unlike many peels, the VI Peel is painless, with no major tingle or burn. However, just because patients can’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not working. This peel offers dramatic results with no skin preparation and little downtime. It helps to control acne conditions and diminish the appearance of acne scarring, using a synergistic blend of powerful ingredients that are safe for all skin types.

The blend of acids and vitamins in this peel work to tackle stubborn skin, improving tone, texture, and clarity of the skin; reducing age spots, freckles, and hyper-pigmentation, including melasma; softening lines and wrinkles; clearing acne, and reducing the appearance of acne scars. In addition, it also stimulates collagen production to firm the skin.

*Results may vary and are not guaranteed

To achieve best results on acne scarred skin, a series of peels in recommended. The procedure is painless and there is very little downtime. Peeling typically starts 48-72 hours post peel. Peeling that occurs can often be concealed with moisturizer and results should be seen within 4-7 days.


  1. Moradi, Tuchayi S (2015). Acne vulgaris. Nature Review Disease Primers. 2015; 17: Page 15029.
  2. Alexis, AF (2016). Nonablative Fractional Laser Resurfacing for Acne Scarring in Patients With Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes IV-VI. Dermatologic Surgery. 2016; 42(3): Pages 392-402.
  3. Alexiades-Armenakas, MR (2008). The spectrum of laser skin resurfacing: nonablative, fractional, and ablative laser resurfacing. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2008; 58(5): Pages 738-740.
  4. Lloyd, JR (2001). The use of microdermabrasion for acne: a pilot study. Dermatologic Surgery. 2001; 27(4): Pages 329-331.
  5. Kontochristopoulos, G (2017). Chemical peels in active acne and acne scars. Clinical Dermatology. 207: 25 (2): Pages 179-182.