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As an African-American, would laser surgery be effective for my dark skin?

Q:

I have many scars on my back from having years of acne. It's embarrassing and uncomfortable. My dermatologist has recommended laser surgery; however I've been told laser surgery isn't effective for black skin. Should I give it a try or save my time and seek other options?

A:

There are usually three types of acne scars that patients really do not like; ice picks, gouges and craters. All involve scaring down to the deep level of the skin called the dermis. Often minor surgery is required to address these acne type scars in Afro-Americans. Before you consider any treatment for acne scars please make sure your adult acne is under control, not active.

We have a large number of Afro-American patients in our practice. Please do not consider laser resurfacing unless a series of test spots are first performed. Laser resurfacing in Afro-American patients can result in severe scaring and depigmentation of the skin. Please review your concerns with your Dermatologist BEFORE the procedure. It might be of benefit to consider a second opinion with an ASAPS member in your area familiar with your condition.

Best,

Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

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