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Acne Scar Laser Treatment: Pico VS CO2 Laser

Acne scars are a common problem that can affect people of all ages. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including inflammation, infection, and overactive oil production. While there are a number of treatments available for acne scars, laser therapy is one of the most effective.

Face with acne scarring
Acne Scar Laser Treatment

What Is Acne Scar Laser Treatment?

There are multiple types of skin lasers available.

Two widely used acne scar laser treatments are: picosecond and CO2.

Picosecond lasers are newer and more powerful than CO2 lasers. They work by emitting pulses of light that are much shorter than those emitted by CO2 lasers. This allows them to break up pigment and scar tissue more effectively.

CO2 lasers are also effective in treating acne scars, but they tend to cause more downtime than picosecond lasers. This is because CO2 lasers heat the skin more, which can lead to redness, swelling and flaking.

The Best Type of Acne Scar Laser Treatment

The best type of laser therapy for acne scars will depend on the individual patient's needs and preferences. Here is a table comparing the two types of laser therapy:


Picosecond Laser

CO2 Laser



10,600 nm

Pulse Duration




Less heat

More heat




Before & After Pico Laser Treatment For Acne Scar
Before & After Pico Laser Treatment For Acne Scar

Comparing Pico Laser and CO2 Laser For Acne Scar Laser Treatment

Both Pico lasers and CO2 lasers are commonly used in the treatment of acne scarring, but they differ in their mechanisms of action and potential benefits.

1. Treatment Approach:

- Pico Laser: Pico lasers use ultra-short pulses of laser energy to target in the skin and break down the scar tissue. These lasers work by delivering energy in picoseconds (trillionths of a second) to create a photomechanical effect, rather than heating the tissue.

- CO2 Laser: CO2 lasers use a continuous wave or fractional beam of laser energy to resurface the skin. These lasers work by delivering energy in the form of heat, which ablates the top layers of the skin and stimulates collagen production.

2. Treatment Depth:

- Pico Laser: Pico lasers are effective for treating superficial acne scars, pigmentation issues, and improving overall skin texture.

- CO2 Laser: CO2 lasers can penetrate deep into the skin, reaching the dermis. They are suitable for treating severe acne scarring, including deep ice-pick scars and atrophic scars.

3. Downtime and Recovery:

- Pico Laser: Pico laser treatments typically have minimal downtime and shorter recovery periods compared to CO2 lasers. The procedure may cause temporary redness, swelling, and mild discomfort, but patients can usually resume their regular activities immediately or within a day or two.

- CO2 Laser: CO2 laser treatments often require more downtime and a longer recovery period. The skin treated with a CO2 laser will form a crust and may require several days or weeks to heal fully. Patients may experience redness, swelling, and discomfort during the healing process.

4. Number of Treatments:

- Pico Laser: Pico laser treatments usually require multiple sessions, typically spaced several weeks apart, to achieve optimal results. The exact number of sessions depends on the severity of the acne scarring and the individual's response to treatment.

- CO2 Laser: CO2 laser treatments generally provide noticeable results after a single session, but additional treatments will be required for more extensive scarring.

5. Risks and Side Effects:

- Pico Laser: Pico laser treatments are considered safe with minimal risk of complications. Side effects are usually mild and temporary, including temporary hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, or rare cases of blistering.

- CO2 Laser: CO2 laser treatments have a higher risk of side effects, including prolonged redness, swelling, scarring, and changes in pigmentation. These risks are more significant when deeper ablative CO2 lasers are used.

It's important to consult with a qualified Doctors who can assess your specific condition and recommend the most suitable treatment option for your acne scarring.

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