Acne Scars

Acne scars are not only a visible problem but also a psychological hindrance to many of the sufferers. This problem is one that usually starts early on in the teenage years, but actually can last into a patient’s middle age and longer. Until recently, it was difficult to correct acne scars. For many patients, different modalities such as dermabrasion and resurfacing lasers such as Fraxel and Thermage are not appropriate treatments. In addition, these procedures are not only costly and painful, they may not produce expected results.

Most recently, a new treatment has been shown to bring excellent improvement in acne scars. The treatment, called Fractora, utilizes fractional radiofrequency (RF). This sophisticated technology selectively emits radiofrequency waves (hence the term “fractional”), delivering targeted thermal energy that stimulates collagen production in the skin. In a number of our patients, biopsy evidence has shown a significant reduction in 50% or more of the scarring after only 4 treatments. For even greater smoothing of the acne scars, patients may wish to consider additional treatments. Most patients report a marked improvement in the texture of the skin after the series of treatments, noting a softer appearance due to diminished scar tissue.

The treatments are performed under topical numbing cream for pain control, and if needed, oral medications can be offered to those who are truly faint of heart. Most of our patients have pursued their treatment series without experiencing discomfort.

Unlike most other lasers and similar light therapies, Fractora treatments are safe and effective on both light skin and dark skin tones. Dr. Hellman has extensive experience in treating Latin, Middle Eastern, Asian and other olive and darker skin tones and types.

Not only does a Fractora treatment help with acne scars, it can also help treat active acne and residual red and brown spots. If time is a factor–due to a big event such as a wedding–fillers can be used to quickly smooth out the more stubborn or deeper spots for more immediate results. In these situations, Dr. Hellman recommends Perlane and Restylane, although all the different hyaluronic fillers can be used. Fillers last about 1 year or so in areas such as the cheeks, which do not move as much as for example the area of the lips.

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Before & After Photos

Acne-Scars: Before and After Treatment Photos - Female (oblique view)
Acne-Scars: Before and After Treatment Photos - Woman (oblique view)

*Results may vary

Fractora treatments can be preformed every 4 weeks, although a more accelerated schedule can be pursued if desired. After each treatment, the skin will be prompted to produce new collagen, which may continue for up to about 6 months. As a result, it is possible that a patient can experience further improvement over a period of months. Some fillers can also induce collagen production at the site of the injection, leaving behind additional collagen reserves as the filler is absorbed by the skin over time.


QuestionI heard that fractional CO2 lasers such as the Fraxel offer the best solution for pitted acne scars. Why use Fractora?

AnswerFirst of all, pitted scars are a big challenge for all lasers. Additionally, CO2 lasers are not suitable for all skin types, thus eliminating the treatment for anyone with a somewhat darker skin tone. This is because of the risk of significant hyper or hypo pigmentation after the treatment. Fractora doesn’t have this type of problem. Additionally, the Fractora is constructed in such a way that it delivers the heat energy 3 mm deep inside the skin. This is much deeper than laser light can can penetrate, therefore enabling it to reach the layer where most collagen production occurs.

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