Energy-based devices for the treatment of Acne Scars: 2022 International consensus recommendations

Fares Salameh, Peter R. Shumaker, Greg J. Goodman, Leah K. Spring, Meghan Seago, Murad Alam, Firas Al-Niaimi, Daniel Cassuto, Henry H.L. Chan, Christine Dierickx, Matthias Donelan, Gerd G. Gauglitz, Merete Haedersdal, Andrew C. Krakowski, Woraphong Manuskiatti, William B. Norbury, Rei Ogawa, David M. Ozog, Uwe Paasch, E. Victor RossMatteo Tretti Clementoni, Jill Waibel, Ardeshir Bayat, Boncheol Leo Goo, Ofir Artzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Acne scars are one of the most distressing and long-term consequences of acne vulgaris, with damaging effect on a person's physical, mental, and social well-being. Numerous treatment options are available including surgical and nonsurgical techniques, depending on the clinical presentation. Although considerable advances in the development of new treatment technologies and applications have been made in the last decade, international treatment guidelines and reimbursement schemes have not yet caught up with current knowledge and practice in many centers. The authors intend to highlight the potential utility of energy-based devices (EBDs) for acne scarring, offer recommendations for safe and efficacious treatment, and provide consensus-based EBD treatment options based on varying presentations demonstrated in a series of real-life clinical photographs. Study Design/Materials and Methods: An international panel of 24 dermatologists and plastic surgeons from 12 different countries and a variety of practice backgrounds was self-assembled to develop updated consensus recommendations for the treatment of acne scars. A two-step modified Delphi method took place between March 2020 and February 2021 consisting of two rounds of emailed questionnaires. The panel members approved the final manuscript via email correspondence. Results: The manuscript includes a comprehensive discussion and panel recommendations regarding the following topics: 1. the role of EBD in mitigating and treating acne scars in a patient with active acne, 2. the use of various EBDs for the treatment of different acne scar types with special focus on commonly used laser platform such as vascular lasers, ablative fractional lasers (AFLs) and non-AFLs (NAFLs), 3. treatment combinations, and 4. acne scar treatments in skin of color. The last part comprised of 10 photos of real-life clinical cases with the panel recommendation treatment plan to achieve best aesthetic outcome. Conclusion: Panel members were unanimous in their view that EBDs have a role in the management of acne scars, with AFLs, NAFLs, vascular lasers, and RF devices preferentially selected by most of the panel experts. EBDs are considered a first-line treatment for a variety of acne scar types and patients without access to these treatments may not be receiving the best available care for optimal cosmetic results. Future high-quality research and updated international treatment guidelines and reimbursement schemes should reflect this status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-26
Number of pages17
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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