The Average Cost of Laser Scar Removal - GoodRx (2023)

Key takeaways:

  • Scar treatments can cost hundreds, or thousands, of dollars. A chemical facial peel for acne scars can be $400, while laser skin resurfacing may cost more than $1,400.

  • Scar removal costs depend on the size and number of scars. Other pricing factors include the procedure you choose, where you live, and whether you get care from a doctor or an esthetician.

  • Insurance won’t cover cosmetic scar treatments. But it may at least partially pay for treating injury scars — especially inflexible ones that limit your movement.

The Average Cost of Laser Scar Removal - GoodRx (1)

Scars are proof that you’ve healed from your injuries: cuts, burns, past surgeries, or other physical traumas. But the healing process may leave behind a coarse or lumpy welt that makes you unhappy. If you're unsatisfied with the look of a scar, a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or esthetician can advise you on treatment options.

Scars can never be fully removed, but they can be minimized. For facial scars like the ones from cystic acne or chickenpox, a dermatologist might suggest treatments such as laser scar revision, a chemical peel, dermabrasion, dermal fillers, or steroid injections.

State-licensed professional estheticians, working in salons or spas, focus on beauty and skin care. They sometimes treat superficial facial scars with chemical peels or laser treatments.

Medical estheticians typically have an esthetician's license plus additional training. They work alongside physicians in dermatologists’ offices or plastic surgeons’ offices. They may have specialized knowledge of pre- and post-surgical treatments that support healing.

Larger or more severe scars — from car crashes or past operations, for example — might require plastic surgery. Surgical procedures can make the scar blend in better with the surrounding skin.

Read on to learn more about the cost of common scar-revision treatments.

How much does scar treatment typically cost?

It depends. Many different treatments exist to reduce or minimize a scar, and their costs vary widely.

Factors that affect the cost of a scar treatment include:

  • The scars themselves: type, size, severity, and number

  • The procedure(s) used

  • The number of treatment sessions

  • The type of provider: doctor or esthetician

  • The market prices in your local area

Types of scars

There are several different kinds of scars:

  • Keloid: Tough, fibrous scars that can be thick, red, and itchy and tend to get larger

  • Hypertrophic: Red, raised scars that don't go away

  • Atrophic: Sunken spots that are often the result of acne

  • Contractures: Puckered tissue — sometimes from burns — that may restrict the movement of muscles and tendons

Based on the types of scars and their severity, your doctor or esthetician might recommend one or more of these procedures:

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  • Chemical peels: These medication solutions are applied over a surface scar to lift away damaged skin.

  • Cryotherapy: Often used for keloids, this involves freezing scar tissue with liquid nitrogen. It’s similar to freezing off a wart.

  • Dermal fillers: These gel-like substances are injected under the skin to add volume to atrophic scars.

  • Laser resurfacing: Concentrated pulses of light precisely remove a thin layer of skin and stimulate collagen growth to smooth acne scars.

  • Pressure therapy: If you’ve had keloid surgery, wearing compression bandages constantly can make the scar less likely to come back.

  • Skin grafts/flap surgery: Contractures and other complex scars may require skin grafts from another area of the body (such as the thigh) or flap surgery — transplanting skin, fat, and blood vessels from a healthy part of the body to the injured part.

  • Steroid treatments: These injections can shrink the size of keloid or hypertrophic scars.

  • Surgical excision: A plastic surgeon can cut out excessive scar tissue to improve the skin’s appearance.

What’s included in scar treatment costs?

Among plastic surgeons in 2020, the average fee for laser skin resurfacing was $2,509 for ablative procedures (which remove the top layer of skin) and $1,445 for nonablative ones. For surgical scar revision after breast procedures, the Aesthetic Society reports an average plastic surgeon fee of $1,209.

For surgical scar treatments, the doctor’s fee is only part of the cost. Other charges may include:

  • Hospital or surgical facility costs: Usually outpatient, except for severe cases.

  • Anesthesia fees: Depending on your procedure, you may be given topical or general anesthesia.

  • Prescription drugs: Could include medications for pain or wound care.

To avoid surprises, ask upfront about all additional costs.

Prices are much lower for smaller scars or for scars that don’t need surgical correction. For acne-related facial scarring, you’d likely see a dermatologist. The doctor might treat those scars with a chemical peel, filler injections, or laser treatments.

  • The average cost of a cosmetic chemical peel is $400.

  • The cost of injectable fillers (like Juvederm or Restylane) for indented scars ranges from $600 to $2,000 per syringe.

  • The cost for each laser-treatment session can range from $400 to $2,500.

For a chemical peel, the average cost is $519 among plastic surgeons, while an esthetician at a spa or salon might charge $100 to $200.

Is scar revision worth it?

Scar-revision treatments can have a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Restoring flexibility and function to scarred skin, muscles, or joints

  • Relieving an itchy scar

  • Filling in pitted or indented scars

  • Reducing the size of large, uncomfortable, or unsightly scars

At the same time, scar-revision surgery has its risks, including:

  • Discoloration or swelling of the skin

  • Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue deep in the skin)

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  • Further scarring

  • Need for additional surgical revisions

  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation

  • Persistent pain

  • Poor healing of incisions

  • Recurrent looseness of skin

  • Skin loss

Whether or not to have surgery for scar revision is a big decision. Any type of surgery has risks of its own, such as those from anesthesia, bleeding, clotting, and infection.

Nonsurgical scar treatments have risks as well, including:

  • Incomplete results, requiring repeat treatments

  • Peeling

  • Redness

  • Skin irritation

  • Unsatisfying results

What to ask before treatment

It’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions to ask your provider about your scar treatment options. The goal is to learn whether scar-revision treatments are likely to be worthwhile for you.

Here are some queries to start with:

  • Can my scar be improved with treatment?

  • What are the best nonsurgical treatments for my scar?

  • Would surgical treatments be appropriate for my scar?

  • Will I need only one treatment, or several?

  • Is my scar likely to be visible after treatment?

  • How much improvement in my scar is reasonable to expect?

  • What kind of post-treatment care will my scar require?

Does insurance cover scar treatments?

Usually not. If your scar revision is cosmetic, be ready to pay the entire cost out of pocket. However, if your scar or scars resulted from an injury or currently impair your ability to function, insurance may cover some or all of the treatment costs.

Medicare doesn't cover cosmetic surgery but does cover plastic surgery that's needed to recover from an accidental injury. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office in your area can help you figure out your options.

Medicaid may cover scar treatments that are documented to be medically necessary. To take one example, in North Carolina, Medicaid covers keloid excision or scar revisions — if your doctor affirms that the scars significantly impair your physical function in ways that can be improved with treatment.

According to North Carolina’s Medicaid policy, scar-related issues that could qualify for medically necessary treatment include:

(Video) Laser Scar Removal

  • A rapid increase in scar’s size

  • Breathing problems

  • Communication problems

  • Distortion of nearby body parts

  • Eating or swallowing problems

  • No response to steroids or pressure treatment

  • Pain, infection, or fluid drainage

  • Visual impairment

Check with your state’s Medicaid office to see if your situation qualifies you for coverage.

You may be able to finance scar surgery either through your plastic surgeon's payment plan, a medical credit card such as CareCredit, or a healthcare loan like Prosper. Shop around for the best interest rate. You may get a better rate on your credit card or a personal loan than a medical loan. If possible, it's often wiser to avoid going into debt by paying for cosmetic scar treatments with your savings.

How long do the benefits of scar treatments last?

Whether the results of scar revision last forever depends on the type of scar, how your body heals, whether you get post-surgical treatments (such as pressure bandages or steroids), and other factors. You may need further treatment. Or, your scar may fade forever until it’s almost invisible.

The bottom line

Unsightly or troublesome scars can be treated by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Estheticians can also help with superficial facial scars, like acne scars.

Available treatments range from steroid injections to laser treatments to plastic surgery, and, as a result, costs will vary. The more severe the scar, the higher the treatment price is likely to be.


American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Keloids: Diagnosis and treatment.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). How much does a chemical peel cost?

View All References (17)


American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). How much does laser skin resurfacing cost?

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). How much does scar revision cost?

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). What are the risks of scar revision?

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). What is laser skin resurfacing? (n.d.). What is esthetics?

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Scar revision. (n.d.). Cosmetic surgery.

North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. (2018). Clinical coverage policy no: 1-O-3, keloid excision and scar revision.

O’Boyle, C. P., et al. (2017). Intralesional cryotherapy for hypertrophic scars and keloids: A review. Scars, Burns & Healing. (2022). Massage Envy prices.

Stanford Health Care. (n.d.). Flap surgery.

State Health Insurance Assistance Program. (n.d.). SHIP.

The Aesthetic Society. (2022). Aesthetic plastic surgery national databank statistics 2020-2021.

University of San Francisco Health. (n.d.). Scar revision.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (n.d.). Scars.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Beat. (2020). What are your options for effective scar treatment?

Verma, N., et al. (2022). Ablative laser resurfacing. StatPearls.

(Video) SCARS and How to Treat Them like a Dermatologist | Doctorly Breakdown

GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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