Many methods have been proposed for the treatment of acne scars, with variable cosmetic results. Nonablative skin resurfacing is one method that involves dermis and subcutaneous heating with lasers for the purpose of inducing new connective tissue growth. Because of a need for more noticeable clinical improvements, the ablative fractional laser was recently introduced to resurface acne scars.

Ablative skin resurfacing typical causes visible trauma to the patient’s skin. Aesthetic physicians who have both modalities can try to reduce complications and improve the results of ablative laser resurfacing (carbon dioxide, erbium or fractional lasers) by combining this treatment of acne scars with nonablative lasers.

For patients of  skin phototypes III-V with atrophic facial acne scars, the combination of ablative laser resurfacing and nonablative laser resurfacing yields the best results with fewer complications.