• 2016-4-960

    What is a dermatologic surgeon?

    Part of a progressive medical subspecialty, ASDS member dermatologists perform medically necessary and cosmetic procedures to improve the health, function and beauty of skin through every stage of life.

  • 2016-3-960

    From forehead furrows to frown lines…

    Performing more than 5 million cosmetic procedures each year, ASDS member dermatologists offer many treatments that are less intense, safer and have quicker recovery times than ever before.

  • 2016-2-960

    3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year

    Any suspicious new growths or changes should be examined by a dermatologist immediately. ASDS member dermatologists are trained to select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient.

  • 2016-1-960

    From excess fat to wrinkles…

    Offering a range of office-based cosmetic procedures, ASDS member dermatologists can select the appropriate treatment choice to meet your individual goals.

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In This Section

Laser/Light Therapy for Scars


Treatment Options


Learn more about treatment options for scars


Laser/light therapy is a non-ablative treatment option that uses an intense but gentle beam of light to treat scars without damaging surrounding tissue.

Why choose laser/light therapy for scars

Laser/light therapy offers a non-invasive method of improving the appearance of scars by blending pigmentation with that of surrounding healthy tissue and stimulating collagen production.

What you should know about laser/light therapy for scars

The procedure offers a non-invasive method of improving the appearance of scar tissue with minimal recovery time.

child burn scar on back - pulsed dye laser and fractionated ablative CO2 laser_BandA 
Before (left) and after (right) pulsed dye laser and fractionated ablative CO2 laser treatment to burn scars on the back.

Photo courtesy of Jill S. Waibel, MD - Miami, FL 

Possible risks

As with any treatment, there are risks associated with it, though they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS dermatologist. These include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Crusting




The average cost for laser/light therapy is about $1,200. Since laser/light therapy is considered a cosmetic procedure, treatment usually isn’t covered by most medical insurance companies.

J Waibel  facial burn scar_BandA pulsed dye laser and fractionated ablative CO2 lasers 
 Before (left) and after (right) non-ablative fractionated laser treatments for acne scars on the right cheek.

Photo courtesy of Tracy M. Katz, MD - Houston, Texas 

How to prepare for the procedure

Before the procedure, an ASDS dermatologist will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should: Avoid sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing, chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.Avoid perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding. 

What to expect after the procedure

Patients may not see any significant changes until several weeks after the surgery. Other post-procedure issues include:  

  • Treated area may be pink or red for four to eight hours after treatment.
  • A slight stinging sensation, similar to a mild sunburn in the treated area. This sensation usually subsides within four to six hours. Cool packs or moist cloths may be applied to reduce the sensation.
  • Mild swelling in the treatment area that usually dissipates within several days.

In addition, patients should:

  • Avoid applying makeup or lotion to the treated area for either 24 hours or until all signs of redness and stinging have dissipated.
  • Apply a good moisturizing lotion to the treated area twice daily for the duration of the treatments and for at least three months after final treatment.

Find a doctor for your laser/light therapy for scars

Visit “Find a dermatologic surgeon” and choose “Non-ablative Laser Treatment” or “Non-ablative Light-Based Rejuvenation” from the dropdown menu. In 2013, ASDS dermatologists performed nearly 154,000 laser/light/eregery-based procedures for scars, up from 86,000 in 2012. Because ASDS dermatologists are trained in a variety of the best and latest techniques, they are the most qualified to evaluate and select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient’s condition.

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