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How long a period of time should be set aside for effective skin resurfacing acne treatments done in the United States?

Q:

I am a 27 year-old woman living in Asia.  Can you tell me how much time I should plan for effective skin resurfacing acne treatments to be performed in the United States?

A:

Acne treatments in the Asian population can be frothed with hazard. If you are considering Laser Resurfacing, pre and post laser care and treatment are essential for a favorable outcome. The actual healing from the treatment is usually rapid - 5 to 7 days. However, prevention of hyperpigmenation, discoloration and photodermatitis common in Asian patients following Laser Resurfacing is essential. Consider discussing these issues and concerns with your treating practitioner before you make your trip.

Best,

Gary R. Culbertson, MD

A:

Laser resurfacing for acne scarring is a complex process. The actual down time and initial healing is relatively rapid, 1 to 2 weeks. The preoperative preparation is what takes the longest. I require a minimal of 6 weeks of skin prep with hydroquinone and Retin-A in people of northern European descent and prefer 12 weeks in people who have a significant propensity to hyperpigment or have darker skin. I generally use the Obagi system, but other methods also work. Additionally, you must have your acne under total control if it is still active. Post procedure you will be quite red for a month or so. This can be covered with a camouflage make-up. In short, this is not something you can just go somewhere and have done and go home. It has to be planned and the prep started months in advance.

R.T. Buchanan, MD

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