Microneedling is superior to chemical peels for treating acne scars

Common treatments for acne scars include chemical peels, but a Rutgers study reveals that microneedling is considerably more beneficial for patients with dark skin.

Babar Rao, a professor of dermatology and pathology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and his colleagues randomly assigned 60 patients with acne scars and dark skin (Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes IV to VI) to receive either chemical peels containing 35% glycolic acid or microneedling every two weeks for 12 weeks.

Microneedling is a cosmetic technique involving the insertion of tiny, sterile needles into the skin in order to stimulate collagen creation and diminish scarring. In chemical peels, a solution is applied to the skin to remove the outermost layers.

33 percent of patients who received chemical peels and 73 percent of patients who underwent microneedling showed at least a two-point improvement on the Goodman and Baron Scarring Grading System after treatment.

“Acne scars should be treated with microneedling in patients whose darker complexion prevents them from using stronger chemical peels, which can permanently discolour darker skin,” said Rao, the study’s principal author. Some people with lighter skin who are able to employ stronger peels without the danger of discolouration may still benefit from chemical peels.


Journal Reference

Ishfaq F, Shah R, Sharif S, Waqas N, Jamgochian M, Rao B. A Comparison of Microneedling versus Glycolic Acid Chemical Peel for the Treatment of Acne Scarring. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2022 Jun;15(6):48-52. PMID: 35783564; PMCID: PMC9239127.

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