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Laser skin treatment promises to erase acne scars

Acne leaves about 20 million Americans with lifelong scars, but now a new laser treatment called PicoSure may help
New laser technology for acne scar treatment 01:07

About 20 million Americans live with scars from acne. But now a new laser skin treatment may offer the chance to get rid of the scars for good.

29-year-old Greer Kurlander couldn't wait to try it. Years of acne had left her face pockmarked and undermined her self-confidence.

"It bothered me a lot," she told CBS News' Craig Boswell. "I couldn't leave without a ton of makeup on."

She had tried a number of other treatments to fade her scars, but wasn't happy with the results.

This new technique uses an ultra-short pulse of laser energy from a system called PicoSure, which is also used for tattoo removal. PicoSure won FDA approval for the treatment of acne scars in July, and said its studies showed 86 percent of patients were satisfied with the results after 3 months.

Dr. Jeremy Brauer, a board-certified dermatologist in at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, performed the procedure.

"What we are talking about is how energy is being delivered to the skin in an attempt to improve texture and appearance," he said.

Treatment sessions take about 15 to 20 minutes, and most patients see results after about 3 sessions. The skin can feel red and tender for a day after treatment, but Brauer says PicoSure "offers great results with less preparatory time and down time," compared to other options.

Kurlander has been back for 7 treatment sessions so far, and believes it's made a big difference. "I've been able to wear less makeup. My friends and family notice it, and of course I notice it," she said.

The treatments can run from $300 to $1,000 per session, depending on the severity of the patient's scarring. Doctors say patients may need to return for touch-ups about once a year.

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