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Why your acne scar laser treatment isn't working: Introducing Secret RF

October 5, 2021
Lady with scars on her face

We all want youthful-looking skin that’s free of acne scars, and you must have heard that laser treatments can help.

Previously, we explained why lasers are not long term solutions for acne treatment in Singapore - the same applies to acne scars. 

Laser treatment for acne scars are designed to minimise the appearance of acne scars that are a result of old acne outbreaks. These acne scars are unsightly and a concern for many men and women out there. However, in contrast to what other doctors and clinics market, lasers alone do not provide satisfactory and long term resolution for acne scars and are often extremely harsh on the skin. 

If you’re relying solely on lasers to resolve your acne scar issues - reconsider. Instead, consider treatments that reach deeper into the problem such as Secret RF.  It might deliver more benefits, reduced downtime and better resolution of acne scars. Here’s how.

Limitations of conventional lasers

To set the record straight, lasers can work - except they are often not as efficient especially when used on their own Granted, conventional lasers help to reduce the appearance of small acne scars and improve your skin texture, but they may prove to have inadequate results for deeper larger scars. The reason being is that lasers are absorbed in the skin from the surface inwards which means their therapeutic effects are mainly confined to superficial skin.  That also means that to reach deeper skin where deeper scars reside, higher laser fluences or energies are needed, and that will mean excessive energies administered to the superficial skin resulting in unwanted complications such as PIH and inadequate scar removal.

In aesthetics, we work with ablative and nonablative lasers. Ablative lasers (e.g. Fractional CO2 laser) create wounds that destroy scar tissue and tighten the collagen in the skin, while nonablative lasers promote new collagen production by heating the skin. Ablative lasers are thought to be more effective in scar removal due to their higher photothermal energies delivered, but are also harsher and riskier to patients. They come with a series of side effects such as;

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Scabbing
  • Pain
  • Longer downtime of at least 2 weeks

Ablative lasers with excessive energies also have a greater chance of causing hyperpigmentation during the healing process, especially in those with darker skin tones. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). These dark spots are discolourations of the skin due to an inflammatory wound caused by the laser, which triggers melanocytes or pigment cells to release excessive amounts of pigment that cause the PIH. PIH can also be worsened with exposure to the sun. 

Unfortunately, PIH doesn’t go away in a matter of days; recovery from PIH can take anywhere from 3 to 24 months and is a separate issue to treat. 

Granted Pico lasers can offer a more superior recovery and lower risks of PIH compared to conventional ablative lasers such as CO2 lasers due to it’s LIOB effect.  

However, as we have mentioned above, its effects are mostly superficial and simply cannot remove or reduce scar tissue that deeper in origin. That is why pico lasers can still offer frustrating and disappointing results even in many sessions.

What Secret RF can do for acne scars

Secret RF is a fractional radio frequency (RF) microneedling technique that is able to treat deeper acne scars because the microneedles reach the correct depth where deeper scars reside (and where the problem is). As a result, collagen is stimulated and remodeled in the skin. 

We are also able to adjust the microneedles to deliver energy to the skin at various depths. This enables the treatment to be customised to address different skin conditions that patients may have, and works brilliantly even for darker skin types. 

In addition, a procedure called RF subcision can be performed with Secret RF treatment.  This treatment is particularly important for rolling and deep scars as the skin is depressed by deep scars in and under the skin. This is a treatment that releases the deep skin scar tissue and allow the skin to rise.  As a result, the appearance of rolling and boxcar scars are visibly diminished— with little trauma and complications that typically come with a conventional subcision. This is due to the radiofrequency releasing the scar tissue which is significantly less traumatic compared to a physical subcision.

As Secret RF works by the mechanics of triggering collagen and elastin production, patients often find that apart from healing their acne scars, they get the benefits of tighter, healthy-looking skin and an overall youthful appearance.

How Secret RF works with PICO laser

At Ozhean Zoey Aesthetics, we use both Secret RF and the pico laser to treat acne scars as we find that they complement each other well - as proven by our patients. 

  1. Secret RF targets deeper layers of skin tissue and inactivates sebaceous glands, preventing future acne from recurring altogether 
  2. The pico laser uses minimal heat to target problem areas and mechanical force to break up superficial scar tissue in the skin. It is used to treat superficial layers of skin tissues. 

Let’s not also forget that both stimulate collagen activity - so their combined effect can effectively treat acne scars both at the root and surface. 

We recommend at least 4-6 sessions for acne scars for more pronounced results. 

Do you have any questions for us? We are more than happy to answer them! 


  1. Connolly, D., Vu, H. L., Mariwalla, K., & Saedi, N. (2017). Acne scarring—pathogenesis, evaluation, and treatment options. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 10(9), 12. 
  2. Chandrashekar, B. S., Sriram, R., Mysore, R., Bhaskar, S., & Shetty, A. (2014). Evaluation of microneedling fractional radiofrequency device for treatment of acne scars. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery, 7(2), 93.
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