Active Acne & Acne Scars


Defeating active acne, with lasting results While there are many treatment options available for acne, both prescription and over-the-counter, these do not work for everyone. When acne is particularly stubborn or severe, a more advanced solution may be needed. Harmony XL Pro offers a variety of effective and customized solutions for various acne conditions. The treatments are suitable for all skin types, has no side effects and achieves a clearer, smoother complexion with lasting results.Alma’s powerful acne laser treatment uses a combination of laser technology, simultaneous contact cooling for more comfortable treatment and a unique vacuum mechanism to treat all forms of acne vulgaris.

Our Vancouver laser center acne clinic ensures that you get the right diagnosis and treatment plan that works for you. Our skin care professionals will give you a treatment plan that ensures the best combination of efficacy and safety to quickly clear up your skin. For acne treatment in Vancouver, trust only the experts.


A common skin condition characterized by plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), inflamed pimples & pustules, and deeper lumps (nodules or cysts). Acne occurs on the face, & sometimes affects the chest, back, and upper arms/shoulders. Although most teenagers get some form of acne, adults can also develop acne or have their teenage acne carry-on into adulthood. Often, acne clears up after several years, even without treatment. Acne can be disfiguring and upsetting to the patient. Untreated acne can leave permanent scars. To avoid acne scarring, aggressive and professional acne treatment is important.

Types of Acne and How Acne Forms

Acne is not caused by dirt. Human hormones increase during adolescence and stimulate the sebaceous glands of the skin to enlarge, produce oil, and plug the pores, causing acne. Whiteheads (closed comedones), blackheads (open comedones), pimples &pustules, and occasionally cysts or nodules (deep pus-filled lumps) form. Adult acne develops later in life and may be related to hormones, childbirth, or stopping the birth control pill.


Acne has nothing to do with not washing your face. However, it is best to wash your face with a mild medical-grade cleanser (eg. ZO, SkinCeuticals, SkinMedica) and warm water daily. Speak to one of our highly trained medical estheticians to help pick the right cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type and time of year. Washing too often or too vigorously may actually make your acne worse. Exfoliating once or twice per week (depending on skin type) with an exfoliant is useful for opening up blackheads and whiteheads, and fading acne marks and scars.


If certain foods seem to make your acne worse, try to avoid them. In some cases, milk/dairy (especially skim milk ; almond or whole milk appear to be fine), or whey protein or nuts may aggravate acne, whereas low glycemic diets and increased fish intake appear to be helpful in reducing acne for some patients. A lower BMI (Body Mass Index) appears to also result in less acne.


To keep your skin clean from acne, wear as little cosmetics as possible. Oil-free, water-based moisturizers and make-up should be used. Choose products that are “non-comedogenic” i.e. should not cause whiteheads or blackheads. Remove your cosmetics every night with mild soap or gentle cleanser and water. A flesh-tinted acne lotion can safely hide blemishes. Loose powder in combination with an oil-free foundation is also good for cover-up. Our Toronto dermatology clinic offers Jane Iredale mineral makeup which is perfect for acne-prone skin.


Treatment is an ongoing process and improvement takes time with acne.Vancouver Laser Center will provide you a comprehensive skin assessment to determine your best treatment plan.  For the best acne treatment in Vancouver, call: (604)-7045903

Topical creams

  • Your dermatologist may prescribe for your acne topical creams, gels, or lotions with vitamin A acid/retinoid-like drugs, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid or antibiotics to help unblock the pores and reduce bacteria that cause acne . These products may cause some drying and peeling, and thus should ideally be applied overtop of a moisturizer; if your skin becomes irritated, take breaks from your cream or add a moisturizer (e.g. apply medicated cream/gel first, and 1 minute later apply a moisturizer overtop).
  • Before starting any medication, even topical medications, inform your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are trying to get pregnant.

Special Treatments

  • Do not pick, scratch, pop, or squeeze pimples yourself. When the pimples are squeezed, more redness, swelling, inflammation, and scarring may result.
  • Microdermabrasion may be used to remove the upper layers of the skin improving irregularities in the surface, contour, and generating new skin. Our Toronto dermatologists offer SilkPeel Dermalinfusion which is an advanced microdermabrasion with infusion of anti-acne ingredients.
  • Chemical peels with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinoic acid or trichloroacetic acid (or a combination) can help unblock the pores, open blackheads and whiteheads, and minimize marks and acne scarring. Vancouver Laser Centre is well-known for its acne scarring treatment options.
  • Injections of corticosteroids may be used for treating large red bumps (nodules & cysts). This may help them go away much more quickly so that they don’t leave you a scar.


  • Antibiotics taken by mouth, such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, or others such as trimethoprim, ampicillin or erythromycin, are often prescribed for acne for about 2-6 months. Toronto Dermatology Centre has dermatologists who are very knowledgeable about these antibiotics and other pills in terms of efficacy, proper dosing and safety issues.
  • Oral contraceptive pills may be used specifically for the treatment of acne. They are particularly effective in women in whom periods are irregular, or who have the medical condition PCOS, or who notice flare-ups before each period, or have more lower face (e.g. around the mouth) and jawline or neck acne. Our clinic physicians can prescribe the pill, or it can be prescribed by your GP/family physician.

Other Treatments

  • In cases of unresponsive or severe acne, isotretinoin (e.g. Accutane, Epuris) may be used for your acne. Toronto Dermatology Centre physicians have used this medication for many years with great success. Patients using isotretinoin must understand the potential side effects of this drug. Monitoring with frequent follow-up visits is necessary. Pregnancy must be prevented while taking the medication, since the drug causes birth defects.
  • Spironolactone/Aldactone which reduces the effects of male hormones on the skin also helps with acne in women.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using intense pulse light (IPL) or broad band light (BBL) and the red wavelength of light (Metvix) can help to get rid of acne as well.
Your physician will evaluate your skin and suggest the appropriate treatment regimes considering your age, sex, type and the extent of your acne. Vanancouver Laser Centre is well-equipped to handle all types of acne and in all skin types. For the most comprehensive and optimal acne treatment in Toronto, our skin care professionals will be pleased to assess you.

Treatment of Acne Scarring

Your dermatologist can use a variety of methods of acne scars treatment. Skin resurfacing with laser (Profractional laser resurfacing), dermabrasion or microdermabrasion, microneedling (e.g. dermaroller & electronic dermastamp) with or without platelet rich plasma (PRP), chemical peels, or electrosurgery can flatten scars. Soft tissue elevation with dermatologic fillers or subcision can elevate scars. Brown marks left by acne can be improved with physician-grade chemical peels, microdermabrasion (preferably the advanced SilkPeel Dermalinfusion system), prescription bleaching creams and medical-grade products sold at Vancouver Laser Centre. Our skin care professionals will ensure that all acne scar treatment options are reviewed with you to find the best fit for your problem and budget.

Lasers and Acne

Do Lasers Work to Clear Acne?

What Is It?

Lasers are a treatment option performed in a doctor’s office aimed at preventing light-to-moderate acne, although it has shown some promise in the treatment of severe acne (cysts/nodules).1Laser therapy tends to work better and have fewer side effects on lighter skin tones, and works by concentrating light, which penetrates the skin. Much like at-home light devices, lasers work primarily on the premise of exciting compounds that bacteria produce called porphyrins.2When the laser light excites the porphyrins, this damages the bacterial wall, effectively killing the bacteria.3Fewer acne bacteria should help reduce symptoms of acne. Laser treatment may also reduce sebum (skin oil) levels. Lower sebum levels are associated with lower incidence and severity of acne. Lastly, lasers may have anti-inflammatory properties. Since acne is at its root an inflammatory disease, reducing inflammation can help reduce acne as well.1Laser treatment normally requires three treatments, about a month apart, at the doctor's office, and costs $200-$500 per treatment, or $600-$1500 total. Doctors sometimes recommend more treatments and/or more frequent treatments, depending on the doctor’s opinion and the severity of acne. Results are incomplete and temporary, and thus laser treatment is not amongst the most popular treatments prescribed.Laser Treatment Costs

Types of Lasers

Doctors use various types of lasers for the treatment of acne. They are characterized based on the color and wavelength of light that they emit. Generally speaking, the different types of light penetrate more or less deeply into the skin. There are 3 types: (1) pulsed-dye lasers (PDL), (2) potassium titanyl phosphate lasers (KTP), and (3) infrared lasers. All PDL lasers emit yellow 585-595nm light, and all KTP lasers emit green 532nm light. Infrared lasers come in different types, each of which emits a different colorless wavelength above 1000nm. Infrared lasers include the 1450nm diode (1450nm), erbium:glass (1550nm or 1540nm) and Nd:YAG (1064nm and 1320nm) lasers.1Most lasers used in the treatment of acne are called fractional lasers, for instance the Fraxel® laser. These lasers point light at very small columns of skin, and therefore produce fewer side effects than lasers that shine light on larger areas of the skin. In the last few years, a new infrared “vacuum” laser called Isolaz® has also become available.4-6This laser uses a vacuum to isolate and “suck up” a small area of the skin on which laser light is then applied.5There is also a kind of PDL laser, which uses not only light but also heat, called the pulsed light and heat laser. Generally speaking, infrared lasers penetrate the skin more deeply than other lasers7, followed by PDL, and finally KTP, although the depth to which a laser can penetrate also depends on the darkness of the skin. Darker skin prevents the light from penetrating as far.7-8Types of Lasers

Does It Work?

Scientists have produced several studies attempting to gauge the effectiveness of lasers for acne. However, these studies are almost all small cohort (just a few people), sometimes lack split-face design (comparing one side of the face to the other), tend to lack long (follow-up so it is hard to tell if results last), rely on patient reports of acne severity (which is subjective), and often employ no controls (so there is nothing to compare results against). Regardless, almost all of the studies show at least some improvement in acne symptoms, with results ranging from 36% to 83% clearance.1,9-21Consensus amongst researchers is that results of laser treatment are temporary, since colonies of acne bacteria grow back quickly. Results are also incomplete, meaning lasers alone usually do not completely clear acne.9However, scientists are studying newer lasers in an attempt to increase effectiveness, reduce side effects, and extend treatment results for longer periods of time. Lasers can also be used alongside other treatments. One study that compared the results of laser treatment in combination with salicylic acid treatment showed that using the laser treatment in addition to salicylic acid treatment resulted in a better improvement in acne than salicylic acid alone.15This result suggests that laser treatment may be beneficial if used in combination with other treatments.15 Light therapy options that are not laser-based: Doctors have various light therapy options available to their patients such as intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment, which uses flash lamps to generate high intensity light that is not as concentrated as laser light, as well as LED light treatment. Overall, the concentrated light used in laser treatment has been shown to be more effective in treating acne than other light therapy options, including IPL or LED.1One exception may be photodynamic therapy (PDT), which involves first applying a topical photosensitizing agent and then shining light on the sensitized skin, and tends to produce better results than other light therapy options.
Laser reviews

Side Effects

Most of the side effects of laser therapy are transient and mild. Some patients experience pain or discomfort during treatment. Patients report varying levels of redness after treatment, as well as some inflammation and skin peeling and sometimes blistering and/or crusting.1,22The severity of these side effects varies based on the type of laser used. The deeper a laser penetrates the more severe the side effects tend to be. For example, infrared lasers 1450 diode can cause considerable pain that requires the use of a topical anesthetic.1However, with the use of a topical anesthetic, pain is well tolerated.1,20KTP and PDL lasers can cause bruising, which usually goes away within ten days. KTP and PDL lasers can also cause some temporary darkening of the skin, especially in people with darker skin who have exposed themselves to the sun prior to the procedure.20Side Effects of Lasers
The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (JEADV)A 2008 systematic review of the 19 available controlled studies on lasers and acne, published in The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, concluded: ” ...most of the studies were of suboptimal methodological quality...we conclude that [light] treatments with lasers...possess the potential to improve inflammatory acne on a short-term basis...[however] [light] treatments for acne today are not included among first-line treatments.”11
Lasers Are Not Intended as a First Line Treatment

Bottom Line

At this time, laser therapy is not considered a “first line treatment,” meaning it is best to try other, more effective and reliable treatments first. It is also difficult to discern from the data we currently have available which lasers are best. Both proper topical treatment with The Regimen, as well as isotretinoin (Accutane) for people with severe acne, can provide more predictable, consistent, and complete clearing. laser can reduce the scar by generating new skin.Topically Treating Acne

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Active Acne & Acne Scars