I’ve always wondered how well professional acne scarring treatments work, and I recently had the lucky opportunity to try out two of the most popular acne scar treatments for free: the Dermapen or micro needling treatment and Laser Genesis. When it comes to Dermapen vs Laser Genesis treatments, there are definitely some key differences I learned that you should know about before you seriously consider getting one or both of these professionally done. I’ll get into those differences in just a moment.
First, I want to clarify how I got both of these treatments for free. Essentially, my dermatologist’s office had a dermatology student training with them, and she wanted to get some experience treating acne scarring. So, my dermatologist offered me a deal: let the student treat my skin and get the treatments for free.
And, just to clarify, we didn’t do the treatments on top of each other. That is, I did not get the Laser Genesis treatment and then the Dermapen treatment on top of it. Instead, we did one half of my face with the Dermapen and the other half with Laser Genesis. This really allowed me to feel and experience the differences between the two treatments.
I’m sure some people would be a little sketched out about letting a dermatology student laser and needle their face, but the whole process was super professional and the student actually only ended up doing a small portion of the micro needling and laser genesis. Most of the treatment was done by the dermatologist herself so the student could observe and learn about the process.
I say all this to point out that, if you don’t have the money for some of these treatments, you can look into alternative ways to get professional acne scarring treatments like this. Just let your dermatologist know that you’re open to this kind of thing and they might be able to hook you up with at least one free treatment so you can try it out.
Now then, onto the scarring treatments themselves.
Dermapen for Acne Scars
If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen some YouTube videos or blog posts about derma needling treatments you can buy or use at home. After getting professionally Dermapen-ed though, I wouldn’t recommend buying these, at least if your only goal is to reduce acne scarring.
For me personally, I don’t think I’d be able to press hard enough on my own face to make the treatment super effective. You really need to have someone else applying the Dermapen to you with enough force to penetrate deeply to get the best effects out of this.
My dermatologist started out by applying a numbing cream to the right side of my face (the Dermapen side). We let that sit on my skin for about 20 minutes or so while we lasered the left side of my face.
Now, I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I have had multiple, large tattoos done on my thigh, hips, stomach and ribs, so I was skeptical about even needing the numbing cream. Let me tell you, numbing cream is absolutely worth it if you’re getting Dermapen-ed.
I was surprised by just how much the pen hurt around my cheek and jaw bones. It wasn’t unbearable at all, but it was definitely a sharper pain that I had expected from an acne scarring treatment.
Now, it is important to mention that we Dermapen-ed my face on the deepest needle setting the pen has, which I believe I heard my dermatologist say is about a 2. Additionally, there was no light scraping involved. My dermatologist (and the dermatology student) applied strong steady pressure throughout the entire process.
Near the end, as the numbing cream was wearing off, I’ll admit I was in a pretty significant amount of pain. But, once the process was over, I felt fine. It’s literally just during the actual micro needling that hurts.
Since we only did one half of my face, this treatment only took 10 – 15 minutes, but if you were doing your entire face with a Dermapen, you should expect this process to take about half an hour.
Before I get into my thoughts on the Dermapen vs Laser Genesis, let me explain how the Laser Genesis, too.
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Laser Genesis for Acne Scars
I was super excited to get this treatment for free, mostly because it’s something that I would never really consider paying for. However, if you’re gonna give it to me for free, I’m gonna try it.
So, the warnings about getting Laser Genesis are pretty intense. You should be wearing some kind of protective eye covering while your dermatologist is using the laser. If the laser were to somehow hit your eye, you can go blind.
Additionally, you shouldn’t open your mouth very wide if you’re talking during the treatment. If the laser would hit your teeth for some reason, my dermatologist informed me that your teeth will fall out. Soooo, yeah. Some pretty intense stuff.
Essentially, you just need to stay still and be sure you’re working with a dermatologist you trust.
As far as the treatment itself, the laser feels like a small pen that the dermatologist moves back and forth across the scarred area. It feels like a smooth, warming sensation, but then will feel very hot out of nowhere. When that happens, you tell the dermatologist and he or she will stop for 30 seconds or so to give your skin time to cool down. Then they’ll start up again.
You basically do that over and over again until the dermatologist has made several passes over the affected area.
The only alarming things about the laser treatment is that you smell burning hair because the laser burns off all the small peach hairs on your face, and you’ll hear snapping and popping sounds as the laser hits those hairs. These are both completely normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
Now let’s get into the really fun stuff: comparing the two treatments!
Dermapen vs Laser Genesis for Acne Scarring
Overall, I found both of these treatments to be extremely positive experiences. The Dermapen treatment did hurt a lot worse then the Laser Genesis, so if you aren’t good with pain, I would recommend you opt for the laser.
However, in terms of results, I’ve seen more benefit from the derma needling than the Laser Genesis after one treatment of each.
It’s worth noting that you will need to go through 4 – 6 treatments of either method in order to get rid of your acne scars. But, for just one treatment, the Dermapen did more to help my acne scars than the laser did. The Dermapen almost seems to have a blurring effect. I can still see my scars, but they look somehow softer and not quite as noticeable.
In terms of immediate after-effects of the treatments, the Dermapen will make your skin much redder than the Laser Genesis treatment. With the Dermapen, you can expect to look like you have a severe sunburn for 3 – 5 days after the treatment. With the Laser Genesis, your skin will only be red for a few minutes after the treatment and then the redness goes away.
Another thing to consider about the Dermapen vs Laser Genesis is how much active acne you have at the time of the treatment. With micro needling, you cannot do the treatment on any active pimples. This is because digging needles into active acne would spread the bacteria around on your skin and actually cause more acne (plus, I imagine it would hurt like a bitch).
Laser Genesis, on the other hand, can be done over active acne, though I’m not sure that you’d want to get this done if you have more than a few active pimples.
Another consideration women will need to understand is that you cannot get Laser Genesis if you are pregnant. Put simply, lasers and pregnancy aren’t a good idea. However, micro needling is an option if you’re pregnant, though you should definitely talk to your dermatologist and OBGYN before you schedule the treatment.
And, of course, we can’t talk about professional scarring treatments without talking about price. According to the official Dermapen website, a professional Dermapen treatment can cost anywhere between $200 – $700 per session. My dermatologist informed me that, had I paid for my treatment, it would have cost $300 for a single session. The difference in price might have something to do with whether you get the Dermapen with hyaluronic acid, or if you get it with your own plasma.
The latter is pretty neat actually. If you get Dermapen with plasma, your doctor will essentially draw your blood, separate the plasma from it, and then use that on your skin throughout the treatment process and as an aftercare serum. I did not do this and, instead, just did the Dermapen with hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid just serves to keep your skin moist and attract moisture into the skin after the treatment is over. If you want the less expensive of the two Dermapen treatment options, go for the hyaluronic acid one.
As for the cost of Laser Genesis treatments, it was pretty difficult for me to find a reliable source of information about how much a single session could cost. I also forgot to ask my dermatologist about how much a standard laser treatment costs (I promise to update next time I go back!). However, one boutique in Houston lists one full-face treatment of laser genesis as costing between $300 and $500.
So, as far as pricing goes for Dermapen vs Laser Genesis, the Dermapen is slightly less expensive, but you should expect to drop a few hundo for either treatment.
Dermapen or Laser Genesis: Which Would You Choose?
For me, I’m willing to put up with some pain in order to get rid of my acne scars. Because of that, I’m more a fan of the Dermapen than the Laser Genesis treatment.
However, there are a lot of pros and cons to both of these treatments depending on what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to tolerate in a scarring treatment.
Which one would you be more interested in getting? Have you had either of these treatments yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!