Fractional CO2 lasers for the treatment of atrophic acne scars: A review of the literature

Lauren Rose Magnani, Eric S. Schweiger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This review examines the efficacy and safety of fractional CO2 lasers for the treatment of atrophic scarring secondary to acne vulgaris. We reviewed 20 papers published between 2008 and 2013 that conducted clinical studies using fractional CO2 lasers to treat atrophic scarring. We discuss the prevalence and pathogenesis of acne scarring, as well as the laser mechanism. The histologic findings are included to highlight the ability of these lasers to induce the collagen reorganization and formation that improves scar appearance. We considered the number of treatments and different laser settings to determine which methods achieve optimal outcomes. We noted unique treatment regimens that yielded superior results. An overview of adverse effects is included to identify the most common ones. We concluded that more studies need to be done using uniform treatment parameters and reporting in order to establish which fractional CO2 laser treatment approaches allow for the greatest scar improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Acne scarring
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Atrophic scarring
  • Fractional CO2 lasers
  • Fractional ablative resurfacing


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