Acne Scars Improved With Er: YAG Laser Treatment

YAG laser treatment
Beauty laser technician performing a cosmetic skin resurfacing session on a female patient, also called a laser peel or photofacial, with an Er:Yag laser (infrared wavelength).
The improvement rates after treatment with the Er: YAG laser in patients with acne scars is reported.

Use of 2940-nm multifractional erbium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er: YAG) laser treatment is safe and effective in patients with acne scars, according to study findings published in Dermatologic Therapy.

The retrospective analysis included 35 patients (23 women, 65.7%) with acne scars, with an average age of 28.71 ± 7.44 years (range, 20 to 58 years). A total of 11 patients (31.4%) had Fitzpatrick type 2 skin type, 19 patients (54.3%) had Fitzpatrick type 3 skin type, and 5 patients (14.3%) had Fitzpatrick type 4 skin type.

Participants received 1 to 4 sessions of treatment with 4-week intervals, and the researchers recorded improvement rates after each session. Topical anesthetic cream was applied to the lesions 30 minutes before treatment, and the whole face was treated with 2940-nm multifractional Er: YAG laser.

At the end of the first session, the researchers observed 1% to 25% improvement in 34 patients and 26% to 50% improvement in 1 patient. At the end of the second session, 1% to 25% improvement was seen in 12 patients and 26% to 50% improvement was observed in 18 patients. Following the end of the third session, the rate of improvement in scars was between 1% and 25% in 3 patients, 26% and 50% in 20 patients, and 51% and 75% in 5 patients. At the conclusion of the fourth session, the rate of improvement was between 26% and 50% in 14 patients and 51% and 75% in 10 patients.

Erythema, pain, and crusting were some of the more commonly reported adverse events of treatment with Er: YAG laser.

“When managing cosmetic problems, patients’ satisfaction with the treatment is an important issue,” noted the study authors. “Generally, patients start treatment with high expectations of an excellent improvement; however, the satisfaction rate is almost always low in these patients. In our study, 48.6% of our patients were moderately satisfied with the results of laser treatment, whereas only 11.4% of the patients were satisfied with the treatment.”

The researchers recommended informing patients in detail before initiating treatment and combining Er: YAG laser with different methods such as subcision, filler applications, or platelet-rich plasma treatment in those with high expectations.

“Er: YAG laser is a safe and effective method in the treatment of acne scars,” the investigators commented. “Patients who have a high expectation of a perfect improvement had better undergo a higher number of consecutive sessions of laser treatment or combined treatment with different methods. Besides reducing the scars, Er: YAG laser also improves the skin quality, tightens the pores, and regulates the sebum levels in the skin.”


Cenk H, Sarac G. Effectiveness and safety of 2940-nm multifractional Er: YAG laser on acne scars [published online September 3, 2020]. Dermatol Ther. doi: 10.1111/dth.14270