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Microneedling for Acne Scars: How Effective Is It?

Kristina Cadwell  
May 20, 2021  

Acne scars affect about one in five acne patients, causing them physical and emotional distress. Treatments exist and range from skincare products, topicals, and oral drugs, to minimally invasive cosmetic treatments and subcision (surgery).

Microneedling is a popular acne scar treatment people resort to after other non-surgical options don’t show improvements.

Microneedling is an effective cosmetic treatment for acne scars.

Does Microneedling Help Acne Scars?

Microneedling is FDA-approved for reducing the appearance of acne scars. Tiny punctures made by the microneedling device stimulate collagen production, smoothing the skin and evening the skin tone.

Effectiveness

Microneedling is effective for atrophic scars that appear as flat or depressed blemishes. Atrophic scars form because of the body’s insufficient collagen production, and microneedling boosts collagen to fill or smooth the scars.

Hypertrophic and keloid acne scars develop because of excess collagen production, so microneedling specialists do not use it for these types of scars.

The effectiveness of microneedling for atrophic acne scars depends on many factors:

  • Severity of scars
  • Number of treatments
  • Who performs the treatment (medical professional vs. at-home devices)?
  • Skin sensitivity and genetic predisposition to scarring

According to clinical studies and patient experiences, most patients see a reduction in scarring several weeks after the first treatment.

Risks and Side-Effects

Medical experts don’t recommend microneedling for pregnant women, patients with breakouts, skin infections, rosacea, and eczema. It’s best to talk to your dermatologist to determine your eligibility.

Microneedling is generally considered a safe treatment for people of good health.

Common side effects include redness, swelling, and inflammation for up to two weeks after the treatment. You can also experience pain and sore, tight skin. These sensations usually go away after a few days.

Microneedling for Acne Scars at Home Vs. Professional Treatment

Microneedling can be performed at home using dermarolling devices for that purpose. At-home microneedling is less expensive than professional treatment but not as effective because DIY derma rollers use shorter needles for safety reasons.

The following risks are associated with microneedling at home:

  • Using too much pressure, causing damage to the skin
  • Inadequate derma roller hygiene, causing skin infection
  • Microneedling with contraindications

Microneedling specialists in medical spas or clinics first evaluate your overall health and eligibility for the treatment. They are trained to properly use the device and control the needle length depending on the treatment area to minimize the chance of adverse reactions.

FAQ about Microneedling for Acne Scars

How Many Microneedling Sessions Do I Need?

Your chosen microneedling specialist will determine the number of sessions you need depending on your acne scar severity. Mild to moderate scars can be significantly reduced after three to four visits to the medspa. Severe scars usually require additional sessions. The sessions should be spaced four to six weeks apart.

Is Microneedling for Acne Scars Permanent?

The results after a microneedling session are permanent. They may take up to six months to fully show, but the scars don’t regress to the previous state.

How Much Is Microneedling for Acne Scars?

The cost of microneedling depends on your location and chosen medical spa. It also depends on the number of sessions you’ll need. The price of one microneedling treatment at Vibrant Skin Bar is $250.

Can Microneedling Make Acne Scars Worse?

A worsening of acne scars is possible after a microneedling session at home. That may happen if you press the device too hard and damage the skin.

Conclusion

If you have acne scars and topicals aren’t working, microneedling may be the solution for you. Clinicians report high patient satisfaction with the procedure because the treatment is quick, relatively painless, and provides permanent results. If you opt for microneedling, make sure you do it in a reputable medspa or clinic to avoid undesired effects.

If you are having acne issues, check out our article on different types of acne and how to treat them.

To find out more about other microneedling treatments, make sure to read our article microneedling for stretch marks.

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About the Author:
Kristina Cadwell
PA Kristina Cadwell graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She then completed the Physician Assistant program at A.T. Still University graduating with a Masters of Medical Science degree. Kristina has been working in the Aesthetic Medical field for over 10 years. She is certified in neurotoxin cosmetic injection, dermal fillers, Plasma Pen skin tightening, chemical peels, and laser therapy. She is known for producing natural results and has extensive knowledge in diet and exercise allowing her to help you achieve vibrant skin from the inside out.
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