When can I resume Accutane after ablative laser treatment for acne scars?

Doctor's Answers 2

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Dr Joanna Chan

General Practitioner, Aesthetic

Recent dermatological studies and research have reported that ablative co2 fractional laser treatment for acne scarring seems to be safe regardless of isotretinoin use at doses of 10-60mg/day (Dermatol Surg 2014).

The Journal of the American Medical Association did a systemic review of this topic in 2017 and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support delaying procedures such as fractional ablative and non-ablative lasers for patients currently receiving or having recently completed isotretinoin, although fully ablative laser is not recommended.

However, everyone’s response to resurfacing laser is different; it is also important to check with your doctor whether the laser you just did was a full ablative or fractional ablative laser as recovery times are different.

In addition, you may also want to check with your doctor regarding your current acne condition and appropriate management in terms of whether you still need to continue on isotretinoin therapy, and the intended duration of treatment with isotretinoin. These questions can probably be answered best with a face-to-face consult.


Dr Joanna Chan

Yes, it is safe to do ablative lasers like fractional co2 even while on Accutane/ Isotretinoin.

The latest research published in 2018 shows that it is safe to have Laser treatments - even Ablative laser treatments without a 6 month delay in Isotretinion.

Practically speaking, there is an increase in skin dryness after an ablative laser - especially for the first 1 week. Some patients experience this effect more than others.

This dry-ness might be further worsened by Isotretinoin/Accutane.

Hence, I usually restart my patients on Accutane 1 week after the laser treatment to avoid excessive dry skin.

My advise is to check with the doctor who performed laser treatment for the most appropriate time to restart Accutane.

Hope that this helps!

Warmest regards,

Dr Justin Boey

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Is it possible to have laser treatment if I have eczema prone skin?

Thank you for your question. I agree that laser is still an option for you despite your eczema prone skin. The first question is, how stable is your eczema? If it has been well controlled, then you can consider having laser treatments. The next question is, whats your goal for laser treatments? As this will determine your choice of lasers. Hope this helps.

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Is retacnyl, laser treatments or chemical peels more effective for eliminating acne scars?

Hi Aaron – I completely agree with whatever your doctor has done. I had asked about accutane but my doctor was hesitant in prescribing to me due to my history with depression. I’d err on the side of caution as well, as depression, although rare, is one of the side effects of accutane. Moreover, you described your acne as mild so accutane would be an overkill. My dermatologist said that the retacnyl will help to clear my acne(very few) and my dark spots and mild acne scars. Would it actually help to eliminate my acne scars?

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