Category: FAQs

Our Top Treatments for Acne Scarring

If you’re struggling with acne scarring or pigmentation, we’re here to help!

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition. When inflammation occurs, our immune system comes in to heal it. However, this healing process can create uneven collagen production, where our collagen malfunctions in response to that injury – whether the injury is from an oven burn on your arm or a blemish on your face.

Our expert providers are ready to work with you and get you on the path to clear skin. Schedule a consultation to determine which treatment is best for you!


Why choose DLA to help with acne scarring?

We see the difficulty and cost that it takes to treat acne scars as we age, so we know they can create a lifetime of trouble.

Our comprehensive approach combines medical-grade skincare & advanced aesthetic treatments with years of expertise.

We believe that aggressive treatment is needed to fight acne – we’re not pulling any punches in this fight! It is also MUCH easier to gain control of scarring acne than it is to treat acne scars down the road.


Resurfacing Lasers

Resurfacing is a huge modality that we use often for acne scars. Our lasers use heat modality to break up any irregularities and allow the collagen to heal normally.

When Dr. Sawyer trained back in 2003, dermatologists often used ablative resurfacing lasers that burned and took 2-3 weeks to fully heal. We now have better technology, with fractional lasers that go deeper into the skin with much less downtime.

This technology has changed the entire game for acne scars, as we are now able to tackle scars deep in the collagen. Even on a superficial setting with a Carbon Dioxide laser, we can tackle acne scars within a week.

  • Our BBL (Broadband Light) laser is Dr. Sawyer’s favorite for anti-aging, as it can tackle multiple cosmetic issues in one treatment. It helps clarify skin color and improves texture quickly, especially in patients with older acne scars. As you age, the laxity that develops in your skin can reveal more scarring and texture irregularities. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) lasers help strengthen that collagen, promoting youthful skin on a molecular level. For anti-aging and skin imperfections, we often recommend the BBL, as it has no downtime.
  • Fraxel is an Erbium glass treatment that does a great job with scars, and it is a tried-and-true technology for Dr. Sawyer. It is her go-to laser treatment for acne scars and almost all other forms of scarring. For our resurfacing treatments, we can see an outcome as soon as 2-3 weeks after. Fraxel treatments have about a 4-day downtime. For darker skin types, we often need to do more treatments as we risk changing the pigmentation in the skin type if we are too aggressive.


Microneedling & Radiofrequency

Lasers aren’t the only option for acne scarring!

Some of the newer treatments, such as Microneedling (with or without radiofrequency), create a controlled wound in the skin and allow us to put an equal amount of heat into the dermis layer where acne scars live, where we can remodel the collagen without altering the pigment in your skin.

  • Infini was the first short-pulse radiofrequency microneedling device here at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama. We can treat deeper skin tones with it, treat deeper into the skin than with lasers, and have great results treating cheek scars, forehead scars, lines around the mouth, etc.
    • Dr. Sawyer will often combine Infini RF microneedling with Sculptra filler to help boost collagen remodeling and “fill out” acne scars in the face, restoring the youthful volume that you that may have lost over time.

One of the advantages of microneedling is that we can better treat darker skin types. Microneedling can go deeper into the skin, without causing any damage to the surface. It is also often the best option for those with “ice pick” acne scarring on their face.

Regular microneedling with PRP is best for superficial scarring. Anything deeper than superficial scarring, and we’ll have to have some heat with it through a laser or radiofrequency treatment.

Recommendations for Adult Acne & Acne-Prone Skin

When we see cysts, linear scars, or bound-down collagen, we recommend oral medications such as spironolactone or Accutane, or serious laser treatments to help restore collagen and smooth out skin texture.

For clogged pores and comedones, we often recommend using Retin-A or retinol. It doesn’t have to be a prescription – many of our SkinCeuticals creams with retinol are effective in managing acne breakouts. For cysts, we may turn to oral medications such as spironolactone or Accutane.

For red marks and residual redness in the skin, we love using a pulsed-dye laser such as our V-Beam. We also turn to our medical-grade chemical peels with salicylic acid to help treat pigment changes from acne.


Who Do You Trust with Your Face?

Dr. Sarah Sawyer is a board-certified dermatologist, specializing in cosmetic & aesthetic dermatology. She founded Dermatology & Laser of Alabama in 2006, establishing a center where people could find answers to their cosmetic questions in a safe and ethical environment. Our providers and laser technicians have years of experience, training, and certifications under their belts.

Away from all the noise, our patients can find the most “bang for their buck” when it comes to acne scars. We have a “never give up” attitude with acne scars!

There are so many ways to treat acne scars – so if we aren’t seeing results with a certain modality or treatment, we simply move on to the next.


Contact Our Acne Scarring Experts in Birmingham, Alabama

We love using these treatments to help teenagers come out of their shells & restore confidence in patients of all ages with acne scarring. Seeing the incredible results that we can achieve is so rewarding!

If you’re ready to make a change & treat your acne scarring, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Simply call our office at 205-870-3303 to get started!

HydraFacial vs. JetFusion

Which Facial Treatment is for you?

Has your skin looked a little dull lately, lacking its usual brightness and luster? Maybe you’re starting to get the dreaded “maskne” or some new fine lines because, well, it’s been a year.

Standard spa facials barely touch the surface of most skin issues, which is why we offer two specialty skin treatments at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama: HydraFacial & JetFusion. Both will deep-clean, exfoliate, and renew your skin to get it glowing again!

Read on to discover which facial treatment which one is right for you.


What is HydraFacial?

The HydraFacial is often referred to as “the lunchtime facial,” because you’ll need absolutely no downtime after receiving one. It helps with most skin concerns, including oiliness, fine lines, loss of elasticity, hyperpigmentation, large pores, and uneven skin tone.

Although it’s quick, the HydraFacial packs a punch: its patented technology (a small suction-like device) combines multiple steps in one appointment.

These treatment steps will have you showing off fresh, dewy skin in no time:

  • Cleanse: The HydraFacial tip “vacuums” dead skin cells, oil, and dirt out of your pores. Glycolic and salicylic acids draw out dirt from the deeper layers of the skin, leaving your skin super clean.
  • Extract: This is where we amp up the suction to help clear up any remaining impurities in your skin, which is particularly helpful after your skin’s pores have opened up from the glycolic acid peel.
  • Replenish: After being deep-cleaned, your skin will be pampered with essential moisturizing serums that contain antioxidants and peptides to leave it refreshed and hydrated.

What is JetFusion?

The JetFusion is the newest facial offered at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama. We are proud to offer this breakthrough technology in Birmingham!

So, how is it different? Unlike the suctioning device used in the HydraFacial, the JetFusion facial employs what is referred to as a “pressure wash for your face.”

It uses dermal infusion technology (in the form of a small wand) to generate “microdroplets” of 100% natural serums that gently exfoliate deep into your skin to help reduce discoloration, smooth fine lines & wrinkles, and improve texture.

Like the HydraFacial, the JetFusion facial has several treatments in one:

  • Lymphatic Drainage: The first step thoroughly cleanses pores with a supersonic jet stream, boosting circulation with lymphatic drainage to reduce inflammation & puffiness.
  • Jet Cleansing & Exfoliation: A gentle glycolic solution renews the skin & clears pores without irritation.
  • Jet Infusion: This final, essential step is where we restore hydration with the infusion of targeted serums.

After your JetFusion treatment, your skin will look hydrated, brighter, and bouncier. All this with no downtime!

If you want to take it to the next level, JetFusion gives you the option to add additional serums to address your skin’s specific needs such as Vitamin C, ATX-Nat, Growth Factors, and a CBD infusion.


Is HydraFacial or JetFusion better for me?

We often get asked which of these options is the best facial that Birmingham has to offer, and the truth is – both are fantastic! Both treatments can be fully customized with booster serum enhancements with targeted ingredients. You can’t go wrong with either, but here’s a quick way to figure out which one to try first:

If you have more specific skin concerns, or multiple skin concerns (such as acne AND fine lines & wrinkles), the JetFusion is easier to customize to your needs.

The HydraFacial benefits are wonderful for anyone, even if you don’t have a specific skin concern and just need a little brightening in your life. It’s also a slightly faster treatment if you’re short on time.

Some patients prefer one over the other, and some like both, depending on what their skin needs most at any given time. Our team of certified aestheticians is also happy to recommend which service would be best at your first appointment.


Get me that glowing, happy skin!

We can’t wait to get your skin happy & healthy! Schedule your next facial appointment online now, or give our front office team a call at (205) 870-3303 with any questions.

We Love the Sun, Not the Sun Damage

It may not feel like it outside, but summer is almost over.

We hope you had as much fun as we did! If you felt like you got a little too much sun this summer, you may be seeing the early effects of hyperpigmentation. Thankfully, we have a comprehensive menu of laser treatments to address brown spots & discoloration here at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama.



As our VIP Glow patients know, consistency is key to prevention & maintenance.

That’s why Dr. Sarah Sawyer is introducing two NEW annual laser memberships to our menu of services:

  • IPL/BBL Maintenance – $139/Year
    • Access to 15% off all IPL/BBL treatments
  • Brighten & Tighten – $239/Year
    • Access to 15% off all IPL/BBL, Fraxel, Exilis, Clear + Brilliant, Microneedling & Infini RF treatments

Contact us to discover which membership is right for you!



What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is usually caused by the increased deposition of melanin in the skin, resulting in a darkening or increased concentration in the natural color of your skin. Hyperpigmentation appears as lesions of different sizes, distributions, and patterns. How susceptible you are to hyperpigmentation is somewhat hereditary, although environmental factors (such as too much sun and heat) can accelerate the visible effects.

Can hyperpigmentation be fixed?

Hyperpigmentation can be challenging as it is, by nature, chronic and persistent. With increased sun exposure, you may be prone to relapsing episodes as your skin’s surface is repeatedly damaged (again, why prevention is so important)!



If the hyperpigmentation is moderate to severe, or simply isn’t responding to topical skincare products, we may recommend a more aggressive treatment for stubborn discoloration:


Microneedling is a minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation treatment in which tiny needles create hundreds of invisible, controlled puncture wounds on the skin’s surface. Your body responds to this controlled injury by producing collagen, elastin, and new capillaries, resulting in a reduction of scars, improved skin texture, firmness, and hydration.

This treatment, especially when paired with PRP to further increase collagen production, effectively reverses the signs of aging and sun damage, making this an excellent treatment for hyperpigmentation! Depending on your needs, we’ll likely recommend a series of 3, and then repeat every few months for continued sun damage improvement.


IPL/BBL treatments can brighten and even skin tone to reduce the appearance of sun damage. We use broad band light (BBL) therapy, in which high-intensity pulses of light improve the appearance of red and brown pigment. This is one of the most effective treatments to combat hyperpigmentation as the BBL specifically targets skin cells that contain excess pigment, which will rise to the surface and slough off after the procedure (usually one to two weeks). Most patients can immediately resume normal activity post-treatment. For best results, avoid tanning and sun exposure three weeks before & after treatment!


Our Q-Switched Alexandrite, AKA “Alex,” laser is used to remove specific pigmented lesions. Patients with sun spots and brown patchy areas on the face and body can have these lesions easily removed with this laser. The Q-switched Alexandrite laser targets darkly pigmented tissue and leaves surrounding lighter tissues unaffected. The result is a faded pigment in the treated area and improvement in uniformity of skin color.


To combat pigmentation, we may recommend a treatment plan including products such as:


We say this is like “a green juice for your face” for a reason: this powerful punch of Phyto botanical extracts naturally brightens skin tone, making you look (and feel) like a million bucks. Azelaic acid smooths skin and improves the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles while arbutin, an organic compound, combats hyperpigmentation.


This corrective night cream promotes cell turnover while reducing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, brightening skin while you sleep. Glycolic 10 Renew contains 10% glycolic acid and phytic acid to promote a healthy glow, while a triple action-soothing complex supports the skin barrier.

We often recommend alternating nights with a retinol — like the SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0— as you increase your usage of these products as your skin learns to tolerate such powerful ingredients.


Vitamin C is your key to glowing skin, and this patented triple antioxidant serum is known as the “Gold Standard” of Vitamin C for good reason! C E Ferulic visibly improves signs of aging and photodamage to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and brighten your complexion. When paired with sunscreen, you’ll create the perfect daily dose of antioxidants — vitamins C, E and ferulic acid — to smooth and firm skin.




If you’re noticing more skin pigmentation this time of year, we suggest scheduling an appointment with our laser technicians. We’ll talk through your concerns and determine the extent of sun damage, with customized options that work for your skin!


Myth Busters: Laser Treatments in the Summer

With summer on the horizon, let’s debunk the myth that you can’t do laser treatments in the summer.


Laser treatments are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures we offer at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama because of the amazing results. However, one of the most common questions we have been getting recently is whether laser treatments can be completed during the summer!

FACT: With diligent sun protection, you CAN safely do laser treatments all year long! In fact, undergoing laser treatments during the summer can help you keep up with some of the damage that is occurring during the most intense months of ultraviolet light.

Many of our patients are diligent about protecting themselves from too much ultraviolet damage, and these patients are the same color all year round! Yay! We do not recommend discontinuing your Brighten & Tighten membership treatments if you are one of those patients.


If I have an active suntan, can I still have a laser treatment?

The short answer – it depends! Your treatment may make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure, so the goal is to protect this layer and avoid irregular pigmentation. Our best advice is to CALL FIRST. We may be able to accommodate you by slightly modifying the plan.

For example, our Sciton BBL (also called Intense Pulsed Light) treatments should not be done on skin that has an active suntan. However, if you’ll be avoiding sun for a few days afterward, we can switch you to a Clear + Brilliant treatment which can be performed safely on your skin!

Many of our laser treatments work by targeting the outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. This is the layer where pigment cells, aka melanocytes, reside. In general, we like for our patients to avoid excessive UV light exposure (i.e. a beach trip or tennis tournament) for 2 weeks after a Fraxel, BBL, or Clear + Brilliant treatment.


Which laser treatments can be done in the summer?

Here’s a quick reference guide for planning ahead:

  • LASER HAIR REMOVAL – You CAN do laser hair removal any time of year, however, the area that will be lasered cannot have exposure to direct sunlight immediately before treatment. The underarms & bikini line are the simplest to shield. These areas don’t often see direct sunlight, so this is an area you can target year-round without worry.
  • IPL/BBL – Only if you have no active suntan on the treatment area.
  • CLEAR + BRILLIANT – Avoid excessive UV exposure for 2 weeks afterward.
  • VBEAM/PULSED DYE LASER – Can be safely done in the summer, unless the skin is very tan.

The good news? Many popular treatment for skin tightening (Sofwave, Ultherapy, Exilis Ultra) and body shaping (CoolSculpting, Vanquish) can also be safely done in the summer because we are not targeting pigment!



Which laser treatments should I save for the fall?

Proceed with caution with these treatments if you have a tan in the treatment area:

The problem is the sun makes skin more sensitive to heat, and using a laser on heat-sensitive skin can cause hyper-pigmentation, burns, and even scarring. Some people choose to wait until fall for this reason.

Here in Alabama, the fall/winter is a great time for lasering. There is a rush of calls at the beginning of fall for this reason! We always recommend calling and scheduling several of your fall appointments ahead of time to ensure that you get the dates and times most convenient for you.




To optimize your results & reduce the risk of irregular pigmentation, here are our pro tips:

  1. Avoid coming in with a tan or sunburn on the day of your treatment.
  2. After treatment, stay on top of your sun protection by…



Even sitting in the shade or driving in a car you are still susceptible to the sun. With what we now know about how sunlight breaks down collagen and DNA causing age spots and loose sagging skin, you’ll want to protect yourself regardless of the season!

EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with zinc oxide, a mineral that protects against the widest range of UVA and UVB rays. All EltaMD sunscreens are noncomedogenic, sensitivity-free, fragrance-free, and paraben-free.

SkinCeuticals sunscreens provide a high level of broad-spectrum sun protection with chemical-free UV filters. Available in a variety of formulations suitable for daily use, SkinCeuticals has sunscreens for all skin types and for all desires such as mineral and tinted sunscreens.




If you would like more information on laser treatments, contact our experienced team at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama today to book a consultation & see if you’re a candidate.